Day One: In the books
The first day of the 2006 Diva Search is now officially in the books. In front of not only the WWE cameras, but also those belonging to E! Entertainment Television, Teen People, G4 TV, Q104 Radio and various local news affiliates, the original pool of over 100 of the world's most beautiful women was cut by more than half. Those that were lucky enough to survive the grueling first day of competition were invited to return on Friday for day two, when the list of aspiring Divas will be cut to eight as the hunt for the next in the line of the sexiest women on television rolls on.
The ballroom at the Marina Del Ray hotel hosted two separate rounds of competition on Thursday. The first round was more of a "getting to know you", where the contestants had a chance to display their personalities, and WWE knowledge to the judging panel. That panel, which was made up of last years Diva Search winner Ashley, and SmackDown host "The Miz", were given the responsibility of cutting or advancing the participants on to the next round.
In the second round, the competitors broke out the bikinis. As opposed to the first round, which was more about weeding out the wannabees, the second round was more focused on the body. One after another, the women paraded through the curtain, displaying their chosen swimsuits, or lack thereof.
The always unpredictable first day of competition lived up to its reputation. Among the highlights was a variety of singing, dancing, and even a few instances of take down submission wrestling. Contestant No. 42, Christina, was asked about her Brazilian Jui-Jitsu background. After suggesting that she knew several holds, contest judges Ashley and The Miz, took the aspiring Diva to task. A "triangle choke hold" later and the judges were convinced that Christina had what it takes to advance to the second round.
For The Miz, the decision to advance Christina was easy. "I enjoy fighting with girls and I like girls that have a little spark to them. Getting put in the triangle choke was especially fun because my face was in her chest the entire time."
Another notable from day one was contestant No. 40, Erica. Besides being one of the most gorgeous women in all of Marina Del Ray, Erica carries a unique background. When she's not modeling or competing in the Diva Search, Erica makes a living as a 10th grade social studies teacher. For Erica, the Diva Search is a walk in the park compared to her day job. "The women here are so beautiful and so talented and the competition is tough, but dealing with the kids is definitely more difficult. I'd rather be here any day. This is a whole new challenge for me."
Also in the day one highlights was a pair of voluptuous twins, a trio of foreign language ballads, various former and current playboy models, an Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Heat cheerleader and an accomplished triathlete.
For the judges, making a cut is always difficult. The Miz, however, understands that making the decision to cut one of the contestants is part of the job. "It's really hard to cut a lot of the girls because they're all really hot. But, we know it's a business and we usually can tell which girls can make it and which can't."
Contestant No. 57, Courtney, was one girl who originally didn't make the Miz' cut. Courtney became a second round casualty when she suggested to The Miz that she was "tired" from a long day of auditions. For the Miz, suggesting the audition was tiring was the absolute worst thing a competitor could do. Accordingly, Courtney was cut and sent packing.
Minutes later however, Courtney had a change of heart and was suddenly re-energized. Feeling misunderstood, the young starlet stormed back into the ballroom and demanded a second chance. What was originally a plea for help turned into a heated war of words with The Miz which included no fewer than a half dozen expletives and several questionable gestures. While many in the room at the time thought that Courtney had only further sealed her fate, the judges felt differently. Sensing a deep desire and will to move on, Ashley and The Miz decided to give Courtney a second chance and invited her back for Friday's portion of the competition.
While her tactics may have been second guessed, Courtney insists she has only the best intentions. "I'm definitely a good person and I have nothing but the utmost respect for the judges. I did what I had to do and I think I got my point across. I really want to win this contest and I'm willing to do whatever it takes. I grew up with a great family but we had a lot of hardships, and that is my inspiration for fighting to continue in the Diva Search."
For Ashley, who last year was on the other side of the competition, the role of judge is not as difficult as it's made out to be. "Some of the girls showed a lot of personality and the girls that really stood out were the ones that got to stay. I think today was a real success. We were able to cut more than half of the girls that weren't WWE Diva material." Ashley continued, even offering a piece of advice for the remaining aspiring Divas. "There were a few girls who were really hilarious. That is definitely one way to get on my good side and impress me. If you can make laugh, you're off to a good start."
One competitor who succeeded in getting on Ashley's good side was contestant No. 61, Aiko. The stunningly attractive Asian entry into the Diva Search displayed her talents as a stand up comedian when she recited what to many was the joke of the night. The joke, "What kind of cheese is not your cheese?... Nacho Cheese," was not the most original of selections, but the creativity, paired with Aiko's enthusiasm put her on the fast track to day two.
On Friday, the remaining contestants will reconvene in the Marina Del Ray hotel ballroom for day two of the 2006 Diva Search contest. When the Friday portion of the competition comes to a close, the remaining competitors will be wittled down to single digits. In the end, eight ladies will remain, only one of which will win the $250,000 contract to become the WWE's newest Diva and also the next in the line of the sexiest woman on TV. WWE.com will be on hand in Marina Del Ray on Friday to provide exclusive coverage of breaking news at is unfolds. Be sure to check in frequently, because when the final eight are announced, WWE.com will be the first to know.