The annual Rose of Tralee pageant is in imminent danger of becoming a complete self-parody.
It is skirting very close to farce and is more akin to Father Ted’s Lovely Girls Competition.
The spectacle of the lovely girls being paraded around small town Ireland like prize cattle, all stiletto heels and pearly whites, is just nauseating.
Their public appearance schedule is predictable – a hospital, a Special Needs school, a supermarket, a vintage car parade, a petting zoo.
From Daithi O’Shea’s almost incomprehensible and banal attempts at conversation to the jig dancing, poem reciting, ballad butchering talent displays, it feels like a relic from another time.
And for a festival that aims for a global audience, its utter parochialism is evident in its sponsorship line up – Motivation Weight Management, Bon Secours Hospital, Kerry County Council and of course Newbridge Silverware – suppliers of the twisted metal monstrosity that will adorn the unfortunate winner’s head.
And as for the judging criteria… well that’s anyone’s guess… Is it a popularity contest? Is it a beauty pageant? Is it a talent show?
In the interests of transparency, I think they should change the format. The winner being the loveliest girl who most successfully demonstrates her plastic paddy credentials.
Contestants will be judged on potato eating, turf cutting, accordion or tin whistle playing, Guinness quaffing and donkey riding.
Instead of the swimsuit round, it will be Aran sweaters and wellies and like the Leaving Cert there’ll be extra points for doing it through Irish.