MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2019: A REVIEW (PART 1)

BLOGGER’S NOTE:  Admittedly this is more than one month delayed as due to several factors mostly work responsibilities, but I hope you, the reader, would still consider this a worthwhile read, alongside my articles for Mister Supranational, Miss Universe, and Miss World…

For those who have been watching multiple editions of the Miss Supranational pageant, most would find each edition essentially unchanged, as basically it follows mostly an established template, with flashy production numbers and a near endless succession of wardrobe changes for the contestants.  There are some fans and pundits who would thinking sticking the same structure year-in and year-out results to turgid ennui as years wore on–think most editions of the Miss International pageant prior to Kylie Versoza‘s win–but well that doesn’t mean that there are some subtle developments afoot.  Up to 2015, interview skills are not really placed at a premium–just as long as you can string a sentence together, you’ll do fine.  But 2016 onwards, they added a structured final Q&A round, and this year especially with their series of SupraChats, you sense that there is now more an emphasis on a contestant’s cerebral comprehension and communications ability than ever before.  There is a risk that if we continue to head towards that direction, this pageant would lose its unique branding, but at this point there is still that “flavor” still worth reckoning.  Like the fun to be had listening to the Polish cover versions of current pop hits during the competition segments, and yes, Polish musicians (sometimes including Eurovision stars) performing onstage.

On a fiery LED backdrop, the show opened with a few seconds of the strains of the now-iconic Wonder Woman movie instrumental theme song by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, with sexy backup dancers anticipating the arrival of the featured musical artist, who happens to be Polish star Doda.   She sang a medley of En Vogue‘s “Free Your Mind” and Lesley Gore‘s “You Don’t Own Me“.  I have to commend Doda’s energetic take on the En Vogue classic, though there are obvious diction issues and well, altering the “straight hair” line to “blonde hair” doesn’t quite make sense.  Yes, seguing those two very stylistically disparate songs also is not smooth, but still, she was very successful tackling the Lesley Gore classic.

After the opening number we were introduced to the hosts, who are Polish YouTuber/celebrity chef Damian Kordas and model/presenter Anita Nneka Jones.  They are generally adequate hosts, not that exciting and makes me miss previous presenter Davina Reeves-Ciara and wonder why she wasn’t here–well, turns out she’s focusing her energies the following night…  Anyway, they efficiently followed with the national costume parade/introduction of the 77 contestants, featuring taped vocal introductions and set to instrumental versions of “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland, “Perfect Strangers” by Jonas Blue featuring JP Cooper, and “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne.

The next competition sequence was a cocktail wear segment with the contestants wearing dresses designed by Renee, dancing to a cover version of “Giant” by Calvin Harris & Rag N’ Bone Man.  After this sequence they called out the first 12 of the Top 25 finalists.  Why the split?  Well, if you recall previous Miss Supranational editions, they still want to feature all contestants parading in swimsuits so they split the quarterfinal announcements so they can have that segment.

For the swimsuit segment, the 12 previously announced semifinalists and the rest of the competition paraded in yellow-and-black zig-zag striped (mostly) two-piece swimsuits, as “This is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris & Rihanna and “Señorita” by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello blared behind them.  And then they announced the remaining semifinalists.

Before I discuss the other sequences further, I have to note I got 18 of the Top 25 correct.  Five of those I betted on didn’t even make the official Top 30 list.  I suppose in a very competitive group like this year’s batch was, ECUADOR (María Fernanda Yépez), ROMANIA (Alexandra Stroe) and RWANDA (Shanitah Umunyana) probably got some credit but just not enough to make even the Top 30.

But for me the most shocking exclusions were for BELARUS (Karolina Borisevich) and most especially AUSTRALIA (Alexandra Wallace).  I thought both have the sparkle to make more serious inroads to the Top 25, as they seem to have all the bases covered, but it’s shocking they are not even listed in the Top 30.  Wonder what happened here?  My only speculation is that they did something that rubbed the judges or organizers the wrong way, hence they were penalized and shut out of the Top 30.  It’s sad for me to see them become the 1st runner-up and winner of the Ruth Ocumarez Award, respectively.

Ruth Ocumarez Awardees: 1st runner-up BELARUS and winner AUSTRALIA

Post-pageant, there was one who had the consolation of winning the Congeniality award, and she is SCOTLAND (Aimee McGarvie).

 

Now, let’s discuss the five ladies who just bubbled under the Top 25, starting with:

30TH PLACE:  SRI LANKAWasana Gunasekarai.  As I sensed, the judges in this pageant are in an exotic mood, which contributes to this showing.

29TH PLACE:  BRAZIL – Fernanda Maria do Carmo.  Considering she was making a standout impression throughout the pageant activities, it’s a little shocking that she didn’t fare as well as most expected.  She would’ve been my third place winner for the Ruth Ocumarez award, but perhaps this rank could be treated as a consolation.

28TH PLACE: BELGIUM – Camilia Martinez.  I would’ve ranked the likes of AUSTRALIA and BELARUS over her, but I suppose besides a taste towards the exotic, the powers-that-be decided to reward her for her role as translator during the SupraChats and possibly other activities.

27TH PLACE:  JAMAICA – Kimberly Dawkins.  I suppose the judges simply preferred another Caribbean delegate that they just couldn’t find room for her.  So, like BRAZIL, that she made Top 30 is a consolation.

26TH PLACE:  CANADA – Gloren Guelos.  I wouldn’t expect her to fare this high, but well, the judges have tastes favoring exotic types like her, and she does have good interview skills that probably helped her bubble under the Top 25.

COMING UP:  THE TOP 25

MISS WORLD 2019: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

Now all 111 contenders are accounted for, let me trot out my Leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  FRANCE, INDIA, NIGERIA, VENEZUELA

POSSIBLE USURPERS:  NEPAL, PHILIPPINES, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

SHOO-INS:  BELARUS, BRAZIL, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CHINA P R, GUYANA, INDONESIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, PARAGUAY, RUSSIA, UGANDA, VIETNAM

BWAP FACTOR:  MALAYSIA, TUNISIA

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRALIA, BANGLADESH, BOLIVIA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COOK ISLANDS, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ENGLAND, FINLAND, GEORGIA, HONG KONG CHINA, HUNGARY, IRELAND, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, MACAU CHINA, MYANMAR, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORTHERN IRELAND, PORTUGAL, PUERTO RICO, SLOVAKIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SOUTH SUDAN, SPAIN, THAILAND, TURKEY, UKRAINE, UNITED STATES, WALES

EXOTIC FACTOR:  ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, BARBADOS, GHANA

EXCELLENT:  ARGENTINA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CANADA, CROATIA, ECUADOR, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, GIBRALTAR, GUADELOUPE, GUINEA-BISSAU HAITI, ICELAND, ITALY, LAOS, NETHERLANDS, PANAMA, POLAND, RWANDA, SCOTLAND, SIERRA LEONE, TANZANIA, U S VIRGIN ISLANDS,

VERY STRONG:  ANGOLA, BELGIUM, CURACAO, MALTA, MAURITIUS, MONTENEGRO, PERU, SENEGAL, SINGAPORE, SLOVENIA

STRONG:  ALBANIA, BAHAMAS, BULGARIA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, KYRGYZSTAN, LUXEMBOURG, SWEDEN

VERY GOOD:  ARUBA, BOTSWANA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, ETHIOPIA, GREECE, SAMOA, SRI LANKA

GOOD:  CAMBODIA

Now, my “FEARFUL” FORECAST:

TOP FIVE:  FRANCE, INDIA, NIGERIA, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, VENEZUELA

TOP 12:  INDONESIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, MOLDOVA, PHILIPPINES, UGANDA, VIETNAM

TOP 40:  BANGLADESH, BELARUS, BRAZIL, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CHINA P R, COOK ISLANDS, CZECH REPUBLIC, ENGLAND, GEORGIA, GUYANA, HUNGARY, IRELAND, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, MALAYSIA, MONGOLIA, NEPAL, PARAGUAY, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, SLOVAKIA, SOUTH SUDAN, THAILAND, TUNISIA, UNITED STATES, WALES

BUBBLING UNDER:  AUSTRALIA, BOLIVIA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, FINLAND, HONG KONG CHINA, MACAU CHINA, MYANMAR, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORTHERN IRELAND, PORTUGAL, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, TURKEY, UKRAINE

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ARGENTINA, ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, BARBADOS, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CANADA, CROATIA, ECUADOR, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, GHANA, GIBRALTAR, GUADELOUPE, GUINEA-BISSAU, HAITI, ICELAND, ITALY, LAOS, NETHERLANDS, PANAMA, POLAND, RWANDA, SCOTLAND, SIERRA LEONE, TANZANIA, U S VIRGIN ISLANDS,

It looks like a race to the top for FRANCE (Ophely Mezino), INDIA (Suman Rao), and NIGERIA (Nyekachi Douglas).  All of them can make an indelible stamp in pageant history.  Who will the powers that be bestow this year?

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MISS WORLD 2019: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 6)

GROUP 16

ARGENTINA – Judit Grnja.  Her surname seems to be Slavic (possibly Czech or Polish) though her primary language is Spanish.  Anyway, she is agreat looker who deservingly made the shortlist in Top Model.

BELARUS – Anastasiya Laurynchuk.  This country has had a good year, garnering an element at Miss Earth and making the cut in Miss International.  Last year this country got the Continental title for Europe, and this lady is a good follow-up to that and could make the cut here.  She’s a great communicator.  Sure she only made the shortlist in Sports, but it’s notable she won this group–though she has not secured a Top 40 slot as she was beaten by the very formidable NIGERIA in the second round but she’ll sstill be likely to make Top 40.

FINLAND – Dana Mononen.  She gives me Lola Odusoga vibes as she’s obviously bi-racial (a Finnish father and an indeterminate African mother).  Her striking looks and her passion for fashion helped her get shortlisted in Top Model.  She is a good communicator, so I think it’s possible she can impress the judges enough to make Top 40.

KENYA – Maria Wavinya.  Many are buzzing about her, and even if it seems to be a battle between NIGERIA and UGANDA, she can still pull through and make a splash.  She at least made the shortlist in Top Model and Sports (as part of the Yellow team.

MACAU CHINA- Yu Yanan.  She’s a strong communicator (as she spent time in the US for eight years) and made the shortlist in Top Model.  Could be a sleeper possibility in the Top 40.

UKRAINE – Margarita Pasha.  Though many people think BELARUS has the edge in communication skills and looks, this lady made the shortlist in three challenge events:  Top Model, Sports, and Talent.  Those achievements could not be ignored so she can still conceivably advance to the Top 40.

GROUP 17

ARUBA – Ghislaine Mejia.  If this were any other pageant, she could be considered the “Lizzo” of this group.  But she proved that her thick frame is healthy as she got shortlisted in Sports.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Alba Marie Blair.  She’s a pretty porcelain-skinned lass, which is actually atypical of the people from this Caribbean nation.  Those looks helped her make the Top 40 in Top Model, but her strong interview skills may also give her a slot in the Top 40.

GHANA – Rebecca Nana Adjowa Kwabi.  She’s “exotic”, though the British tend to prefer those from the Caribbean than her.  She’s a good communicator, but other than that, she has not made any impact.

PHILIPPINES – Michelle Marquez Dee.  Being the daughter of Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez and cousin of Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Winwyn Marquez she has a tall order achieving the lofty achievements as dictated by her pedigree  Anyway, though her speaking style may seem too low-key to the point that a casual listener may think she’s boring, it turns out there’s depth and strength of content in what she says and when you’re drawn in, you’ll be hooked.  She’s the clear winner of this group, and she secured her slot beating TURKEY in the second round.  She can make a play for the Top 12–though INDIA seems very formidable, she can still pull up an upset and maybe make a play for the crown.

RWANDA – Meghan Nimwiza.  She is notable for her passion for agriculture.  She’s a good communicator, but she has not shortlisted in any fast-track event, and there are more compelling Africans out there.

GROUP 18

CAMBODIA – Vy Sreyvin.  She’s cute but obviously not as prepared, as she doesn’t have an introduction video.  It also doesn’t help she couldn’t speak English (and no one in production bothered to provide subtitles).  .

MAURITIUS – Urvashi Devi Gooriah.  Though to my eyes, she’s prettier than her predecessor, I don’t think she’ll make the same Top 12 impact like her predecessor.

MONTENEGRO – Mirjana Muratović.  I find her features angular, but the people on hand running Top Model took a liking to her to make Top 40 in Top Model.  At least she’ll have that as her highlight.

UGANDA – Oliva Nakakande.  She’s as exotically striking with strong communication skills that she’s a great follow-up to her predecessor, who made a big breakthrough by becoming Africa’s Continental Queen.  It seems she is in a rivalry with NIGERIA for this year’s Miss World – Africa title, with the latter having the upper hand.  Still, she made a major splash placing 5th in Top Model, getting shortlisted in Sports as part of the Blue team, and winning this group.  Yes, she’s beaten my MEXICO in the second round but she still seems a shoo-in for the Top 40 with a possible Top 12 finish.

VIETNAM – Lương Thùy Linh.  She made a prominent splash placing 2nd in Top Model and Top 10 with her BWAP project building a road to connect remote mountain villages to more developed towns.  She communicates her project well so a Top 40 placement is strong with a possible play for the Top 12.

GROUP 19

ANGOLA – Brezana da Costa.  She’s good looking and made the shortlist in Sports.  That will probably be her highlight as she couldn’t keep up with the likes of NIGERIA and UGANDA.

BANGLADESH – Rafah Nanjeba Torsa.  She’s the winner of this group as she’s clearly the best communicator in this group.  It’s unfortunate she was then pitted against INDIA in the second round, so she couldn’t secure a Top 40 slot unless she shone in interview.

ETHIOPIA – Feven Gebreslassie.  She’s your typical Ethiopian contestant–very pretty but a weak, tentative communicator.  She also doesn’t have an introduction video.

KYRGYZSTAN – Ekaterina Zabolotnova.   See ANGOLA, and she couldn’t really speak English unlike what her introduction video seems to suggest.

SENEGAL – Alberta Diatta.  She was one of the very last to arrive and it’s possible her late arrival may have prevented her from making the Top Model shortlist as she has the looks for it.

COMING UP:  THE “FEARFUL” FORECAST