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Top 10 Candidates

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Top 10 Candidates

April 3rd, 2009  · stk

Surprises continue for the applicants of "The Best Job in the World". Tourism Queensland announced their top candidates, yesterday. Surprise: there are 15, not 10. Surprise again: They went for geographic distribution over qualifications. Find out more

Surprises Continue for Applicants of "The Best Job in the World"

Yesterday was the day that Tourism Queensland were to announce their top ten applicants, selected from the remaining field of 49 top 50. The wildcard slot went to Clare Wang, from Taiwan, with over 150,000 votes (roughly three times more than the next most-voted-for video by Mitchell, of Canada).

... we have
been so impressed
with our Top 50's passion, commitment, ideas and the incredible media coverage and support they have generated in their respective countries, that we have found it impossible to choose just 10 stand-outs

-Tourism Queensland

Two of the candidates in the top fifty dropped out. Julia Yalovitsyna, from Russia, was eliminated because of her involvement in a porn scandal (which included an online porn video) and Achim Dold, from Germany, who decided to withdraw his application (for reasons unknown). The field of 49 dropped to 47.

With less than 24 hours till Tourism Queensland made their top ten selection, they announced that they decided to invite another five candidates down to Australia to participate in face-to-face interviews. Including the wild-card, this means that sixteen, rather than eleven, will be traveling to Australia for interviews in early May.

For a discussion about Tourism Queensland's Top 15 picks ... read on ...

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise ... Why Am I Not Surprised?

Top 16 by Vote (w/Age)

  • 1-151,676 Clare Taiwan (30)
  • 3-30,372 George Ireland (31)
  • 4-22,174 Cali USA (28)
  • 5-16,340 Ben France (23)
  • 8-8,604 Yi China (30)
  • 9-8,558 Greg Singapore (31)
  • 11-6,513 Juweon S.Korea (25)
  • 17-4,270 Anjaan India (28)
  • 18-3,848 Mirjam Germany (28)
  • 21-3,155 Clarke New Zealand (32)
  • 28-2,493 Magali Netherlands (25)
  • 29-2,456 Hailey Ausralia (20)
  • 30-2,432 Ben UK (34)
  • 32-2,361 Erik Canada (39)
  • 37-1,471 Mieko Japan (31)
  • 44-1,134 James Ausralia (24)

LOL ... if I've learned anything during this campaign, the one thing I've learned is not to be surprised!

When Tourism Queensland announced that they would be expanding their selection from 10 to 15, it made a certain amount of sense and I think it had everything to do with a certain Queenslander by the name of Hailey!

Hailey's round-the-world jaunt intrigued Tourism Queensland into wanting to see more of her. Hailey Turner (20) traveled to seven major capital cities in twelve days, promoting both her application and the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. This bold move sparked interest and benefitted Tourism Queensland marketing efforts.

I think adding five more for interview was a way of thanking people who exceeded Tourism Queensland's expectations of promotion and media exposure. After crunching numbers, they likely decided the extra cost of rewarding five more applicants with an expense-paid interview trip paled compared with the media exposure garnered. (I conservatively estimate that it's costing Tourism Queensland no more than $20k AUD for the nod).

What did surprise me, was who they selected for their Top 15. Wait a minute. I didn't say that correctly. What I mean is that I was more surprised at who they didn't select, more than I was at who they selected.

They didn't select Anny. They didn't select Kim. They didn't select David. They didn't select Melissa. They didn't select my Edmontonian "neighbor" Linda. :(

In reviewing the Top 15, it is painfully obvious that geographic distribution was more important than qualifications and abilities.

I understand why, but I had hoped Tourism Queensland would take a more middle-road approach, rather than pander to the PC choice. Yet again, Tourism Queensland disappoints.

There were some great candidates that were passed over, just to get a more "representative" distribution.

Let's face it. Canada suffered because it fielded too many high-quality applicants. Anny, Erik, Melissa, Marcella, Linda, Christine and Mitchell were all really fighting for one allocated Canadian spot. The same is probably true for those in the U.K. and elsewhere.


I was disappointed to see choices like Meiko (Japan) and Yi (China). The ability to write and speak English is vital, according to Tourism Queensland, but I found it very difficult to understand Meiko in her video and I thought Yi's motto "You will get 1.3 billion attention & beyond" spoke to his understanding of the lanquage.

Don't get me started on the "wild-card" slot. I don't think Clare's video is materially different from my own. I was surprised to see her in the Top 50, unless it was - again pandering to being politically correct - to reference China that tipped the scales. Mentioning China in her video paid off for Clare, as the wild-card voting became a runaway horse race, nearly from the onset. Once China started voting, Clare rocketed to the top and stayed there for the entire month. No one else even had a chance (Nationalistic voting for the 7 Canadians splits 35MM votes among seven people, compared to the few China-centric applicants were drowning in a veritable gene-pool of voters).

Aside from Yi (Yao), Clare and Mieko, the rest of the final candidates appear very worthy. Please don't mistake my downer choices as being anti-Asian. I happen to think Juweon, from South Korea, is a very strong candidate and would make an excellent Island Caretaker. His command of the English language is flawless, his writing is clear, concise and insightful.

The other candidates are all strong applicants, as well. I'm pleased that Tourism Queensland didn't choose only those with television experience, which is the direction I thought things were heading when the Top 50 was announced. Clarke Gayford got the nod there and I thought his video was good, his presence on camera obviously excellent and I wish him luck.

A couple of my personal favorites made the final cut. I really thought George's video, from Ireland, was very creative and unique. I absolutely loved Greg's enthusiam and was pulling for him, though I don't know much else about his qualifications or capabilities.

There are still a few candidates I know very little about. Cali, England Ben, Magali and Mirjam fall into this category.

Front runners for me right now include: Erik (Vancouver) - He's got wicked writing ability and two kids, one of whom is the same age as Alex; James (bet they pegged him as "Australia", even though he was living in London when he applied) - James is brimming with creative talent is sublimely qualified; Anjaan (India) - I don't know much about Anjaan, but his energy level and quirky personality is very appealing; Juweon (S. Korea) - Now that the video stage is behind him, I really think he'll shine during the interview stage. Not that his video skills are lacking, just I think his video application missed on a couple of key points.

At the same time, I think it would be a mistake to underestimate the rest: Cali, Mirjam, Ben from France (one very determined, creative guy!), Ben from England, Clarke, Greg, George or Magali.

LOL ... any of them really. We've not seen all that Tourism Queensland has be privvy to, so who knows the content of their essays and other submitted materials. (Edit: some have posted their 500-word essays. See below.)

Oh ... speaking of rankings ... I've highlighted the top 15 on the Interactive Table of Top 50 candidates and will be adding more material of these Top 15 (hover the notes section) as it becomes available (and as I have time to add it).

My wife said last night, "I'm sure glad you didn't make it to the Top 50. I don't think I could have kept pace with life after that. It was getting crazy even as it was!"

To which I replied, "Just imagine what it was like for Hailey, flying around the World, or Erik, working full-time and with a family at home!"

Congrats to those that moved on, my sympathy to those that didn't.

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Updated: 13-Feb-2011
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1.flag Charis Comment
I agree with you in that it's weird regarding who they chose. I'm bummed that Mitchell didn't get selected (and surprised since he was #2 with votes). Also surprising that a few of the well qualified did not get picked. Docu-drama material, to be sure.
2.flag stk Comment
Charis - To be honest, I see why they didn't choose Mitchell. Although his video was arguably the most creative, intertaining and original, he probably doesn't have the depth of experience, background and writing/media skills as many of those selected.

Still, I was disappointed that more Canadians didn't make the interview stage. As a group, their videos, experience, efforts and abilities were superior than that of any other country.
3.flag Jcnyc Comment
Agreed. It was obvious a 'geographic selection' with final 16, although I don't think it was done to be PC, but in the sense each finalists will be gathering media attention in each respective country, therefore, continue the widest possible coverage for QT. Canadians did suffer b/c they have the most qualified & best videos over-all. if Marcella (or Clarke, or Anny or..) was from Mexico, or Switzerland or some other countries not yet represented... they would all be in the top 16. Thanks for posting the 500 word essays, I think QT would benefit by still posting the videos they thought were really good but simply couldn't possible include all the great videos to continue generate interest for all that applied & their friends.
4.flag stk Comment
Jcnyc - Good point about media attention in each respective country. (I meant to imply that in "politically correct", but you said it much better).

Sentiments of the unsuccessful applicants were summed up in a post by Big Apple Angie, "You'll notice some changes around the blog, of course. The days of free PR are over."

Unsuccessful Island Reef applicants often exit the process feeling "used" by Tourism Queensland and TQ's done nothing to indicate they care. The "Best Job" campaign appealed to adventurers and dreamers, lots of whom dedicated many man-hours to their application video and successful promotion of Tourism Queensland's agenda, only to come up without any reward, not even the courtesy of a 'thank you'.

I'm not certain what impact 34,500+ rejected applicants might have on Tourism Queensland's promotion, product branding or campaign results, but you would think that TQ would have found some way to turn these folks into allies.