In the end, the girl with the charm and personality won.
Never mind that she didn't have the height: Newly-crowned Miss Singapore World 2012 Karisa Sukamto stands at just 1.6m tall.
But the 19-year-old student's win on Wednesday night surprised many.
And it came after a significant delay - the 13 judges had a tough time deciding their winner from the 14 women and had to retreat to a private room not once, but twice to deliberate their decision.
It kept the 500-strong crowd at the Orchid Country Club in eager anticipation. To many, the 1.71m-tall Michelle Koh, was a shoo-in for the crown as she had the stature and the looks of a beauty queen.
Students Sarah Noble and Jaime Lim, both 1.72m tall, were also crowd favourites.
So was lawyer Bridgete Campbell, who is 1.67m tall.
Pageant organiser Raymund Ooi of Limelite Productions told The New Paper: "The judges couldn't decide and were going back and forth and back and forth in the room...
"The problem was that it was a 50-50 split and while half thought that Michelle had the looks and poise, they felt that she had to work on the way she tackled questions.
"Those who supported Karisa said she had the charm and personality, but was just lacking in height. "So it was a debate on whether language and answering skills could be honed and that height is something one can't change.
"But in the spirit of Miss Singapore World, where we don't have a height restriction, I told the judges just to look at the marks they scored for each girl, and the girl with the higher marks won."
The first deliberation lasted 40 minutes. The judges emerged, but some appeared unhappy with what had transpired in the room. To the crowd's surprise, the judges turned around and headed back to the room for a second deliberation - this time taking half-an-hour.
It was close to midnight when the judges emerged for a second time and announced their verdict - Miss Sukamto, who weighs 50kg, was the winner.
Michelle, 18, was named the first runner-up while Sarah, 18, Jaime, 18 and Miss Campbell, 23, were the second, third and fourth runners-up respectively.
According to the judges, Sarah, was penalised for wearing jeans during the bikini segment.
Most of the past winners of the Miss Singapore World pageant have been taller than 1.7m. They include 1.75m-tall Faraliza Tan (2008), 1.74m-tall Colleen Francisca (2006) and dethroned 2009 winner Ris Low, who is 1.72m.
Said a spokesman for the rival Miss Universe Singapore pageant: "We have a height requirement, so only women taller than 1.65m are allowed to join our pageant.
"Last year's winner, Valerie Lim is 1.79m tall, one of our tallest, and one of the shortest was actress Jaime Teo (2001), who is 1.65m tall.
"A winner who is shorter may stand out for the wrong reasons... That being said, Singapore has a small population so really tall girls are hard to come by.
"If a winner is short then she has to be really pretty. If not, no one will notice her."
But in line with the Miss World pageant's motto of beauty with a purpose, having the shortest contestant win - ironically - was fitting.
Miss Sukamto, who is on a break from studying at King's College in London, told The New Paper: "I have always been insecure about my height and with my win, I want to be a role model for other girls who have the same concerns.
Read the full story here.
Click on thumbnails for pictures of the contestants.