By Elysa Chen
IT WAS the perfect way for a queen to be carried - four young men supporting her as she posed, pranced and blew kisses to the audience, clad in a sexy black number.
And, it seems, it was this performance that won Miss Melissa Koh Hui Ping, 20, the top spot at the Seventeen Queen of Queens pageant organised by SPH Magazines.
The two-hour party at Zirca last Friday saw beauty queens from National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and Singapore Institute of Management coming together to battle it out for the crown.
In the end, Miss Koh, a second- year business student from NUS, beat 11 others to the title.
She also walked away with two subsidiary awards - Miss Maybelline New York and the Studioline Style Siren award.
Miss Koh, who won the Miss Ibiza title in another inter-university pageant between the business faculties earlier this year, said: "I think I won because I have the whole package of beauty, brains and personality."
Editor of Seventeen Singapore Sasha Gonzales agreed.
She said: "It was a well-deserved win for Melissa. It took a lot of guts to do a cheerleading routine. She was confident during the routine, and I could tell that the audience was engaged."
Miss Koh, who is doing a double major in management and finance, was reluctant to do a cheerleading performance at first because of safety concerns.
During her performance, she had to stand on the shoulders of four men, clad in a tight tube dress, while doing various poses. She then had to fall backwards into their arms.
Despite her fears, she decided to go ahead because she wanted to do something daring and different.
She said: "Fortunately, my efforts paid off. I'm very thankful to my friends who came to support me."
It was the first time that the annual inter-varsity pageant, which has been held since 2004, included a talent segment.
Ms Gonzales explained: "We want the audience to see just how well-rounded our contestants are. This competition is about more than just the girls' looks or their ability to answer a question."
And what a showcase of talent it was. Pageant contestants did Akido [sic] demonstrations, invented their own dances and played musical instruments.
One of them sang a song while expressing the lyrics in sign language.
Miss Rina Raj, 19, an NUS arts student, wowed the judges with her Bollywood dance performance.
She was the second runner- up and clinched the Miss Irresistible award.
Said Miss Raj: "I'm not a dancer. It was the first time I was dancing, and I even had to look for dance moves on Youtube.
First runner-up Wida Alisa Roslan, 22, also impressed the audience with her soulful rendition of Mandarin song Tong Hua.
The SIM information systems and management student said: "It was a challenge for me to sing a Mandarin song, even though I have been learning Chinese for the last three years.
"Still, it was great to be able to showcase both my talent in singing and in learning languages."
This article was first published in The New Paper.