Queensland rose Tara Talbot is breaking away from the other contestants in this year's Rose of Tralee contest, and that includes in the wardrobe department - Talbot carved her own fashion niche in a bright floral 1950's style frock certain to appeal to the judges traditional tastes.

Speaking about this week's annual rose parade Talbot (who was born in Dublin but raised in Australia) told the crowd it had been 'the most magical, heartwarming, amazing experience ever,' which shows she certainly has the chops in the enthusiasm department, a crucial area for every  winning participant.

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It helps of course that she's a stunner and that she can sing a decent Mary Black tune - but it's also crucial that she has that all important college degree. It all adds up to a hard to beat candidate in a beauty show that is still unlike any other.

One candidate that few are betting on is the Kerry rose Sile Ni Dheargain. It's not because of anything she's done, it's because of long standing tradition - no Kerry rose has ever won the competition. It's a fact that some locals put down to prejudice, but who knows - 2011 could be an upset year, time will tell.