April 11, 2004 — Her picture was not judged the best. Her evening gown only sparkled, while others truly shined. And other contestants really wowed the crowd with their talents and conveyed V.I. culture with dazzling musical numbers.
In the end, however, 17-year-old Charlene Kilpatrick was judged the friendliest, smartest and most consistent performer, and despite the odds against her, took home the title of 2004 Virgin Islands Carnival Queen Saturday night at Lionel Roberts Stadium.
The announcement came almost at midnight, surprising many in the audience of about 3,000. Kilpatrick, Contestant No. Three, edged out her closest competitor, Sharon Peltier, Contestant No. Four, to capture the title. The two were part of a six-contestant field that went through a briskly paced but unspectacular competition, with no clear winner emerging until the very end.
Dressed in a sheath-styled evening gown in graduated colors of teal and ocean blue, the new queen smiled through glistening eyes as a swarm of photographers buzzed about, snapping shots.
"I feel great," Kilpatrick said. "I didn't expect it."
Equally happy was her mother, Gloria Kilpatrick, who waited at the ramp leading up to the stage with a crowd of friends and supporters. As the new queen approached, they enfolded her with balloons, hugs and kisses.
Back home in the Philippines, where Charlene's V.I.-born father met her mother while serving in the military, beauty pageant winners run in the family. "Her grandmother was a queen, my mother, and then my sister," said Gloria, "but I didn't participate in it because I was afraid to be on the stage."
Charlene's mother said her daughter wanted to win and threw herself into rehearsals to polish her performance.
Oddly enough, in a night where no particular contestant stood out, Kilpatrick did not capture any of the three major contest segments traditionally associated with victory at the Queen Talent and Selection Show.
Contestant No. Two, Je-Vonia Grosvenor, was judged best in the talent competition. Dressed as a man on one side of her body and a woman on the other, Grosvenor spun her profile to the front of the stage as each character spoke and used different voices to display their separate personalities as they talked to each other and danced together.
Peltier won the best cultural wear competition and also won best evening wear for a strawberry sherbet chiffon dress, modestly accented with iridescent beading in the front and a plunging back with a v-shaped notch towards the waist. Additionally, Peltier was voted most photogenic.
Kilpatrick was named most congenial and was awarded the title of Miss Intellect in the question-and-answer segment. All contestants were asked what they would show visitors to the Virgin Islands if they were to guide a cultural tour. The winner said she would take those visitors to Fort Christian on St. Thomas, Trunk Bay Beach on St. John and to the rum factory and sugar plantation on St. Croix.
In the end, the top three contestants were determined by the point system used by the judges, with Kilpatrick taking 2,106 points to Peltier's 1,190. Grosvenor, named second runner-up, scored 1,170.
At the beginning of the show, Judges Committee Chair Anita Arnold appeared on stage to explain the point system to the audience. Arnold reminded the crowd that in addition to the segments performed on stage, contestants were also scored on personal interviews and their interactions during a reception held at the Palm Courts Harbour View Hotel shortly after their public introduction.
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