Yet, according to actor Tim Curry, one of this years' judges, the Alternative Miss World was always less about the shock factor and more about amusement.
"I attended the first competition in 1972," said Curry, who explained how even from its humble beginnings as a loft party, it had prompted many a unique performance. "Adam Ant was there; this was before he was famous. He was wearing a Speedo swim suit and sang to us in a bath tub."
This manner of eccentricity that the competition fosters helped to propel third-time competitor Piers Atkinson, a milliner, into his chosen profession. Atkinson, whose former neighbor created a hat for the competition, said that it was after seeing this creation that he decided "this is what I want to do with my life."
His words echo others' sentiments that the Alternative Miss World is not simply a pageant.
Judge Julian Clarey encapsulated the spirit of the competition as "a convention of like-minded people." And Curry noted that "it is more fun than carnival."
But just like the official Miss World contest, there has to be some kind of unspoken rule that contestants dare not transgress, some kind of faux pas that would turn the judges off ... right? "Faux pas?" a bemused Curry asked. "What could possibly be a faux pas here?"