This event was amazing. It’s ranked up there with the cat show for Best Things I Ever Experienced In Kyrgyzstan. This was the Mister Kyrgyzstan 2013 competition.
Thirty-three of Kyrgyzstan’s most strapping young fellows competing for a coveted title and a free trip to Turkey.
(This post is really heavy on the photos, so click through to see more.)
First, to test their public speaking abilities, each contestant had one minute to introduce themselves.
Most of the men were painfully awkward and nervous, spending most of their minute thanking the audience and their parents (especially their mother) for attending. It seemed like some tried to memorize something, which is a good idea until you get up to the microphone and forget what you wanted to say. It happened a few times.
Several mentioned that they didn’t have a girlfriend, sending the audience (99% women, I’d say) into a frenzy.
This contestant thought, “Why speak when I could sing?” and sang his speech while playing the komuz. I recorded video that you can view here.
The audience, from what we could tell, was mostly comprised of direct supporters for a certain contestant. Some of them brought signs to cheer on their dude. My friend who came with me (who speaks far far better Russian than I) spoke to a few people sitting around us. One woman came to see her son compete, telling us that she didn’t really understand what he was doing until earlier that day. A woman sitting behind us was part of a whole group that came to support another guy, but she quickly changed the topic of conversation to ask us if we’d take her to Canada or even just give her some money. She could really use some extra money from some rich foreigners, you know? (Side note: couldn’t we all?) Awkward.
The press was ravenous for a good photo. We sat in the second row, which seemed like an awesome idea during the almost two hours we waited for the show to start (5:30pm start time in Bishkek apparently means around 7:30pm). As soon as the show started though, we were mostly blocked by photographers and videographers (one who had earlier told my friend to tell me that my camera sucked, thanks dude). And, looking for good reactions from the audience, it seemed like there was always a camera pointed directly at us as we squealed with joy at how unexpectedly amazing the show was.
Second, “beach entrance”. This was clearly the best part. The men strutted around the stage in an outfit they would theoretically wear to the beach, which for some of them meant jeans, for some meant shirts that are easy to tear off, and for all of them meant copious amounts of oil rubbed over their bodies. I hadn’t anticipated that some of the contestants would tear off their shirts or pour cans of Red Bull over themselves, but once I caught on, I videoed a solid chunk of this part of the show. (Just to warn you, it’s almost 7 minutes long and takes a while to get going, and yes, that is me yelling in the background.)
Red Bull must have sponsored the show in some part, because everybody carried a can. Some drank it, some poured it on their chests, over their face, down their shorts, on their fellow contestants, or just emptied it right onto the stage. The auditorium reeked of sickeningly sweet Red Bull and all we could think about was how uncomfortably sticky everybody must have been.
Third, the contestants performed a “flashmob”, aka, a synchronized, choreographed dance that wasn’t the least bit spontaneous or unleashed upon an unsuspecting public, but I take it that word has a slightly different meaning here.
It was Michael Jackson-themed. I caught a fedora when they tossed them out into the audience.
The fourth portion of the show was for talent, but it wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The men had previously chosen a celebrity or other well-known person to imitate on stage. As the host of the event read off the list of figures that would be imitated, it included names like Justin Bieber, Jacob from Twilight, Chuck Bass (from Gossip Girl), Kanykei, Lady Gaga, and Adolf Hitler. Someone actually had the balls to go on stage and pretend to be Hitler, and I am sorry to say that I wasn’t around to see it (a certain small child of mine was having a huge meltdown at home and I needed to rush back just as the talent competition started). From the ones I did see, a short audio clip was played and the contestant either lip-synched or strutted around on stage for about 30 seconds.
Beyonce. (oh em gee)
Britney Spears. (also oh em gee)
The winner was number 13, Nurbek Sopuev (pictured at the top). Clearly, he had many things going for him. Along with a confident demeanor, he not only painted “I <3 KG" on his back during the swimsuit portion, but during his interview, he whipped a Kyrgyz flag out (of his pocket? I missed the crucial moment) and wore it proudly like a cape. If that doesn't read "Mister Kyrgyzstan", I don't know what would. I wish I knew who he imitated in the talent portion! I missed his. Congrats to Nurbek!
Speaking of Nurbek, Kyrgyz Music Friday’s favorite pop star, Nurbek Savitahunov was a judge and performed his latest hit song, Bishkek City. Dude has some serious pipes (although I could’ve done without the mic effects at the end).
Even though the night ended early for me, it was definitely a memorable night. For even more photos, check out the whole set on Flickr.