Before I proceed with the Top 10, I have to go back to my “fearful” forecast in my homestretch review, and I originally conceived my conspiracy theory to involve only one girl. It might actually involve more than one. I mentioned back in my homestretch review that if justice were to prevail, there would be three Asians, two black divas representing countries beginning with the letter “A”, and two Central American countries. Well, we all know one seemingly unimpeachable Asian was shut out. There was only one black diva who advanced, seemingly turning the pageant into a continuing gesture of tokenism. Two ladies from Central America did advance, but the one I thought whose slot was the most secure was the one excluded.
I’ve already ranted earlier about the non-inclusion of Deborah Henry so that doesn’t need to be repeated. Now, the black girl with the letter “A” country who advanced was Leila Lopes of Angola, shutting out Gillain Berry of Aruba. The two Central American countries that advanced were Costa Rica and Panama, with Nicaragua being shut out in the process. Miss Bahamas, Anastagia Pierre, offered a theory that they only allowed Miss Angola to advance without any other black girl in order to prevent any direct comparisons and maximize Angola’s chances to reach the final round–though Anastagia was probably thinking that she was the one who was prevented from moving further, I believe the one who was blocked was Miss Aruba. Now, regarding Nicaragua’s non-advancement, well, this dead-ringer to Miss World 2004 Maria Julia Mantilla also has a resemblance to Miss Portugal. So I’m thinking the puppet-masters’ agenda actually involved the three Luso* girls competing in this pageant.
* Luso is derived from the word Lusitania, the ancient Roman name for the area that is now Portugal. This term is used to refer to anyone who speaks Portuguese or have any cultural heritage with Portugal (like via colonization).
I will discuss more about my theories when we look at the Top 10, starting with:
PORTUGAL – Laura Gonçalves. It’s a refreshing thought that finally this country made a breakthrough and advance to the semifinals after participating since 1960. She may be a tad less polished than a Latin contestant, but that makes her more refreshing that way. The celebrity panel obviously responded well to her type of beauty and she is proven worthy of belonging to this group. It’s a tad odd how she won the popular vote, but sifting through the arcane legalese of the rules for voting, it seems to not be based on volume of votes, but average rating given on those votes, and I’m not clear if it’s per participating country or per IP address or whatever… One might assume that a usual suspect would’ve been the popular vote winner, but it seemed that usual suspect made the cut on her own merit (she won over the preliminary panel, most likely). If my conspiracy theory is true, I’m not that upset over the exclusion of Miss Nicaragua to avoid generating direct comparisons to this lady.
FRANCE – Laury Thilleman. As expected, with her competitive drive she outshone her predecessor Malika Menard. I am aware she received major flak for her comments post-pageant about the winner, that she didn’t get to know her too well because of the winner’s normally shy and reserved demeanor. Several pageant fans and pundits felt she’s sour-graping, but I think she’s entitled to her honest opinion and I didn’t find her comments objectionable.
PANAMA – Sheldry Saez. During the broadcast, what everyone was talking about when referring to her were her big lips. I only noticed that feature of hers during the finals, and all I could think of is that comedic song originally sang on the TV series “Glee”, “Trouty Mouth”. Anyway, her performance during the telecast was just as good as it was during the Presentation Show, sexily sashaying onstage during the Top 16 swimsuit round, and looking elegant in her shimmering white evening gown during the Top 10 evening gown round. Good thing she knows to apply the right amount of makeup when it counts.
It’s also notable that she was selected as the winner of Best National Costume, announced during the telecast in a countdown. It is a well-deserved victory, but I wonder if there is a prize package associated with it like Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic. Remember that this year the costumes seem to be presented as an afterthought.
COSTA RICA – Johanna Solano. Finally, to make up for the equine Nancy Soto seven years ago, Costa Rica made the Top 10 with a gorgeously sexy bombshell. During my office viewing party, a colleague exclaimed that she resembles Miss Universe 1993 from Puerto Rico, Dayanara Torres. I did notice the Dayanara resemblance, but I also saw features of Mareva Galanter, the highly regarded gorgeous French-Tahitian non-finalist back in 1999. She has one of the best and buffest swimsuit bodies in the group, so I was not surprised she would advance to the next round. She wore the same satin maroon “can-can” gown, which had polarized pageant fans and pundits even as she walked well in it, so it was expected that she didn’t make the Final Five.
AUSTRALIA – Scherri-Lee Biggs. If this was held outside of Brazil, I bet this lady would easily have advanced to the Final Five. There was a major brouhaha about her being forced to switch gowns during the Presentation Show because the original gown was deemed too risqué. We finally got to see the “controversial” gown during the finals, and to my eyes it’s really much ado about nothing–it’s about as risqué as the glittery sheer gown sported by Shamcey Supsup, in my opinion. There were pageant fans and pundits who panned her evening gown performance, but I didn’t see anything wrong about her presentation at all.
All photos courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization, L.P., LLLP, unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: The Final Five.