MISTER WORLD 2016: POST-MORTEM

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John Spainhour (Mr. World Philippines 2014) and Sam Ajdani (Mr. World Philippines 2016) during their proclamation press conference in May 2014. (Image courtesy of Bong Tan for Missosology)

Two years ago, Filipino pageant fans and pundits rejoiced when it was announced that two of our country’s most prominent male models, John Spainhour and Sam Ajdani, were selected to follow in Mister World 2012 1st runner-up Andrew Wolff‘s footsteps to represent our country in 2014 and eventually 2016.  Everyone was so optimistic that with their astounding good looks we could secure a streak in this pageant and perhaps even a win.

But it turns out this was not to be.  Though John Spainhour did well in the Extreme Sports challenge and the penalty shootout portion of the Sports challenge, plus looking fly in formal clothing, he was a shock boot.  Sam Ajdani had the disadvantage of missing the first portion of the challenge events due to snags in securing his visa, and even though he pulled his weight in the team challenges and garnered raves for his good looks, he also missed the final cut.  So why did this happen?

I’ve noticed that one key word is commonly used to describe these guys:  “chill”.  In most modern contexts, “chill” is viewed as a virtue.  It basically means you’re laid-back, low-key, easy-going and easy-to-get-along-with.  However, it seems in the perception of the people in the Miss World organization, being “chill” seems to equal lack of passion, drive, and ambition, and results in not-so-memorable interviews, and this is the factor that have prevented these two stunners from advancing.

So should we be looking for aggressive, type “A” personalities to represent us in future editions of this pageant?  Not necessarily as Mister World’s format also like to foster cooperation and brotherhood.  Some pageant fans also observed that perhaps handpicking our representative may not be a good idea, that CQ Global Quest headed by Cory Quirino and Arnold Vegafria should invest in holding a full-blown pageant to search for our rep.

But mounting a full-blown pageant consumes significant time and resources.  One option I was thinking of was CQ Global Quest merging or collaborating with Gentleman Charities, Inc. (GCI) to stage such a pageant.  I highly recommend GCI as this organization actually has a set-up that generates the best fit to the qualities that the Miss World Organization is looking for, especially with its emphasis on advocacies and personality.  I did mention in my previous articles related to last year’s Misters 2015 pageant about my concerns about how stunning good looks may not be enough to make the cut at Mister World (which were unfortunately realized by the eventual outcome).  But logistical issues may prevent such a team-up from happening, so this will probably remain a pipe dream.

The most likely scenario is CQ Global Quest will stick with the handpicking format, probably using its showbiz connections to seek out a rep when the Miss World Organization decides to host another Mister World pageant.  I don’t see a problem with that but I hope they would learn their lessons and finetune their approach.  And I think I have the perfect candidate that, if he chooses to accept, would be perfect for the contest.

I learned about Wil Dasovich when watching a video on celebrity chef Erwan Huessaf’s YouTube channel about Filipino YouTube vloggers reviewing different pizzas (including Erwan himself).  I was drawn to Wil’s beefy hunkiness and then visited his YouTube channel and learned how he became a viral celebrity by learning to speak (and sharing his skills in speaking) “Bekinese” (a.k.a. Tagalog gay lingo, known in the 1970s as “Swardspeak”) and what a bright and outgoing personality he is in his series of amusing videos.  It dawned on me that this is the type of outgoing personality that would do well in Mister World.  Moreover, with his strong video editing skills and knack for comic timing, he would have the Multimedia fast-track all sewn up–and he will clearly elevate the group videos that he’ll be in.   Visa concerns would most likely not be an issue as I presume he’s still a U.S. citizen and if I’m not mistaken, he is free to stay in the UK for less than 90 days (if Mister World would still be a U.K. affair).   Also, to address objections that John and Sam didn’t seem to fully embrace their Filipino side, this guy has obviously plunged into our culture head-first and embraced it whole-heartedly (despite still keeping an American twang with his Tagalog).

I can imagine how polished his contestant introduction video would be.  And imagine the comic gold that could be mined as he documents being drilled by Andrew Wolff in sports, then getting down and dirty in the trenches performing a series of military exercises as Andrew (or ex-soldier John Spainhour) barks orders at him, and then getting some hot workout tips with fitness trainer Sam Ajdani.  Plus John and Sam could coach him on how to make an impact in formal wear.  And imagine the antics he’ll have at the competition itself, revealing fun sides of his co-contestants–the best attitude in approaching going to Mister World is basically to treat it as an culture-broadening adventure, anyway.  How about teaching his fellow contestants sine “Bekinese”, too?..

I know there are also some cons in having Wil represent us when Mister World comes in the next couple of years (or so…).  First, he’s 5’9″, a relative pipsqueak compared to the hulking six-foot statures of Andrew, John, and Sam.  Secondly, he may not need to add to his circle of international friends as he has a host of them already.  Lastly, perhaps he might be too animated for comfort and he does have a tendency to go pasaway (veer off from the norm).  But then again, isn’t the 2014 winner Nicklas Pedersen of Denmark, also of the same height (not to mention a certain Canadian who made the cut two years prior who stood 5’5″)?  And I think he’s such a gregarious personality that he doesn’t mind adding new friends.  Plus, he has time to mature a bit more and learn to rein in when needed.  I get a vibe he’s like the male version of Megan Young–and you know where Megan ended up in Miss World almost three years ago.

Whether or not Wil accepts the assignment, I hope Cory Quirino and Arnold Vegafria reads this and take my suggestions into consideration on who to look for in our future representative to that pageant.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

RESULTS REACTION: MISTER WORLD 2016

The ultimate result was an expected and satisfying one–the pre-arrival favorite India (Rohit Khandelwal) ultimately (and deservingly) won it all.  The Top Five and in general the Top Ten can also be considered satisfying but there were some surprises.  I got five of the Top Ten correct, but add the “Bubbling Under”, and my record improves to eight, and two that I missed out were in my “Striking Distance” list.  Admittedly of the Top Five, I only got one correct, and fortunately that one correct choice was the winner.

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India (Rohit Khandelwal)

Let me first discuss the guys who I thought would make the cut but didn’t.  I know Philippines (Sam Ajdani) had some disadvantages for the fact he arrived late as the challenge events were already underway, and though he has a proven to be a likeable simpatico guy with solid communication skills, I knew that there are more outgoing personalities out there that might edge him out.  I was hoping his gorgeous looks and imposing stature (1.93m or 6’3″) would not be overlooked.  But despite the outcome, I have to salute him for doing the best he could.  I will discuss more about the lessons we can gather from this outcome in my next blog post.

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Philippines (Sam Ajdani)

Speaking of bright, outgoing personalities, I was impressed with the charisma, social media output and gifts of gab of South Africa (Armand du Plessis), Austria (Fabian Kitzweger) and Malta (Timmy Puschkin) that I presumed their slots in the Top Ten are secured.  But apparently with the mix of panel of judges, they fell short–did the presence of Spanish-speaking Misters World 2007 (Juan Garcia Postigo of Spain) and 2012 (Francisco Escobar of Colombia) in the judging panel gave this Top Ten mix a more Latin bent?

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Bright personalities: South Africa (Armand du Plessis), Austria (Fabian Kitzweger) and Malta (Timmy Puschkin)

Many Filipino pageant fans will most likely hand the Lucas Malvacini to Sam.  But I have a very different choice for that award:  Denmark (Rasmus Pedersen).  I thought his inspirational tale of cancer survival and his performance in the challenge events are so compelling that a Top Five slot should have been guaranteed.  What made him fall short with the judging panel, I wonder?

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Lucas Malvacini Awardee: Denmark (Rasmus Pedersen)

I’ll now talk about the guys who indeed made it that I missed out on…

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The Top Ten: China (Chang Zhou Sheng), Poland (Rafal Jonkisz), India (Rohit Khandelwal), Scotland (Tristan Cameron Harper), England (Chris Bramell), Mexico (Aldo Esparza), Puerto Rico (Fernando Alvarez), Brazil (Lucas Montadon), El Salvador (David Arias) and Kenya (Kevin Owiti)

For most pageant fans and pundits, the most headscratching choice was China (Chang Zhou Sheng).  Yes, he’s not conventionally handsome, but he has other strong qualities to make up for his lack of good looks like good English-speaking skills, his quirky personality (check out his over-the-top ode to ice cream on my homestretch review), and yes, his prim-and-proper dressing style.  He got a fast-track by winning the Style challenge.  I know there are other dapper dressers out there, but I do think there is justification in awarding this guy that fast-track (and perhaps otherwise without it he wouldn’t make the cut).  Some pageant fans also speculate that his placement may be a reward for a future Sanya* hosting for this pageant–we’ll see if that materializes in a couple of years.

* A piquant note:  Sanya is on Hainan Island, which is this guy’s home province.

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Style Award: China (Chang Zhou Sheng)

Another guy I put in my “Striking Distance” list was Brazil (Lucas Montadon).  I was probably too spoiled by the likes of Gustavo Gianetti (winner, 2003), Lucas Gil (1st runner-up, 2007), and Jonas Sulzbach (semifinalist, 2010) that I underrated his inherent strong merits.  He’s not really a bad choice, after all…

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One who could be considered a “refreshing” choice is El Salvador (David Arias).  He has the good looks and the strong outgoing personality and communication skills to make a major impression, and the presence of Misters World 2007 and 2012 in the judging panel is cherry on top of this sundae.  It’s nice to see this less-heralded country experience a moment of glory.

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Refreshing choice: El Salvador (David Arias)

Two of the guys I relegated to my “Bubbling Under” list that eventually went as far as the Top Five, I was reluctant to place them there as I know they were formidable–but I was drinking the Kool-Aids from Denmark, Austria, and Malta and thought they would crowd out these two utterly strong favorites.  But I’m pleased these two guys eventually shone and prevailed.  First, it’s nice that Kenya (Kevin Owiti) delivered on the “black-man-most-likely” (and “African-most-likely”) tag and made all the way to the Top Five.  Go Akon!

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Kenya (Kevin Owiti)

Then, there’s Puerto Rico (Fernando Alvarez).  I was blinded by the fact he didn’t figure prominently in the challenge events that I thought he may not realize that much-needed vindication after missing the final five at last year’s Mister International.  But I’m pleased that not only he made the Top Five, he ended up as 1st runner-up.  This ties this country’s best finish 18 years ago, when German Cardoso finished second behind Venezuela’s Sandro Finoglio.

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Puerto Rico (Fernando Alvarez) charming host Miss World 2013 Megan Young during the interview round.

Vindication is similarly realized for Poland (Rafal Jonkisz), partly thanks to winning the Talent challenge–he was a well-regarded non-finalist at last year’s Mister International and just as I predicted, he made the final cut here.

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Talent winner Poland (Rafal Jonkisz)

Despite the lack of a livestream of the proceedings and the admittedly threadbare staging, I hope Rohit’s victory can help raise the profile of this pageant (and male pageants in general).  This great pageant deserves a lot of love and support than what it’s currently getting that it’s such a waste if this will be the last of its kind, as some pageant pundits are declaring.  Anyway for now, let’s celebrate and congratulate the winners for jobs well done!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

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The Royal Court: 2nd runner-up Mexico (Aldo Esparza), Mister World 2016 India (Rohit Khandelwal) and 1st runner-up Puerto Rico (Fernando Alvarez)

 

 

MISTER WORLD 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

Now with all 46 contestants accounted for, let me trot out my Leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  INDIA, DENMARK, SCOTLAND

SHOO-INS: AUSTRIA, MALTA, ENGLAND, MEXICO

LIKELIEST:  JAPAN, KENYA, SOUTH AFRICA, SWEDEN, CURACAO, EL SALVADOR, GERMANY, ITALY, IRELAND, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN,

TALENT FACTOR:  HONDURAS

INTERVIEW FACTOR:  CANADA, CHINA

EXCELLENT:  COSTA RICA, GREECE, MALAYSIA, NICARAGUA, ARGENTINA, NIGERIA, WALES, BRAZIL, GUADELOUPE, KOREA, MOLDOVA, PANAMA, SWITZERLAND

VERY STRONG:  GHANA, NORTHERN IRELAND, SRI LANKA, BULGARIA, ROMANIA, FRANCE

STRONG:  BOLIVIA, NEPAL, UNITED STATES

Now, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  AUSTRIA, INDIA, DENMARK, MALTA, SCOTLAND

TOP TEN:  SOUTH AFRICA, ENGLAND, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, POLAND

BUBBLING UNDER;  JAPAN, KENYA, SWEDEN, CURACAO, EL SALVADOR, GERMANY, ITALY, IRELAND, PERU, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN

STRIKING DISTANCE:  CANADA, COSTA RICA, GREECE, MALAYSIA, NICARAGUA, ARGENTINA, NIGERIA, WALES, BRAZIL, CHINA, GUADELOUPE, HONDURAS, KOREA, MOLDOVA, PANAMA, SWITZERLAND

The final roster of 46 equals the previous edition.  If an Asian host is willing, I have a strong feeling this pageant’s roster will expand.  Some people may grouse that publicity seemed minimal, that it relied on the contestants themselves to drum up publicity in social media, but well, it’s a struggle we all know too well.  Also I noticed the schedule seems too abbreviated, and I think they are not able to stage as many sports events as they could have (no track or swimming, I observed).

Still, I enjoy witnessing the camaraderie that is forged amongst these extraordinary gentlemen, and that, I think, is a key opportunity they can tap for growth. Hope they have a better mechanism in place for future editions of this pageant.

I originally pegged this as a two-way battle between India (Rohit Khandelwal) and Denmark (Rasmus Pedersen), but Scotland (Tristan Cameron Harper) joined in the fray and his phenomenal feats at the athletic challenges may be the key for him to overtake the two perceived front-runners.  Anyway, best of luck to these amazing gentlemen and may the best man prevail.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

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Will the title go to any one of these three? India (Rohit Khandelwal), Denmark (Rasmus Pedersen), and Scotland (Tristan Cameron Harper)