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.
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 LANKA – Wasana 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