Officially, there were 30 quarterfinalists, which based on the accumulated scores from the preliminary judging and fast-tracks would then be whittled down to the Top 15. But perhaps due to time constraints (to make room for Bruce Forsyth and Chief Mandela, amongst other things), only the Top 20 of these 30 quarterfinalists were summoned onstage to find out their fate (yes, it feels sad to be among the five who would not advance to the next round). But here’s an extra note–because of a tie, there were actually 31 quarterfinalists, but due to the constraints of the template for the scoreboard, the extra quarterfinalist was of course not featured. Let us start with her, shall we?
30TH PLACE (TIE): CANADA – Riza Santos. She started off at a mediocre 60th place in the preliminary judging as rattling off her various backgrounds and achievements during her interview did not generate the desired response from the judges. But her 4th place finish in the Sports fast-track placed her on the scoreboard, but was yanked out again when the Beach Beauty and Top Model scores were tallied. She returned to the scoreboard when the Talent scores were accounted for, but because of space constraints and the fact that the girl she tied with was a more constant presence on the scoreboard, she was unfortunately “sacrificed”by being omitted from the board. At least she got her due by being included in the Final Scoreboard on the Miss World website. Some pageant fans and pundits may argue among the four contestants of Filipino descent in this year’s pageant that she is the prettiest and for that basis alone she should outrank Miss Philippines–well, we all know that Miss World looks for more qualities besides a pretty face. Anyway, I’m simply glad that she was included in this group.
30TH PLACE (TIE): NEW ZEALAND – Mianette Broekman. I don’t really get what was so special or striking about her (though there are pockets of support for her amongst pageant fans and pundits), but somehow she managed to win over the panel that counted–the Miss World judges. Her placement in Beach Beauty and credit for her Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) project helped her stave off the onslaught of advancers even as her ranking steadily declined from 22nd place in the preliminaries to this final rank.
29TH PLACE: BRAZIL – Juceila Bueno. Her 20th place preliminary showing was justifiable in my reckoning. Like New Zealand, her Beach Beauty placement and credit for her BWAP project helped her retain a Top 30 standing despite dropping in rank.
26TH PLACE (TIE): HUNGARY – Linda Szunai. She ranked 25th in the preliminaries, and her placements in Sports and Beach Beauty (plus credit for her BWAP project) helped her sustain her Top 30 standing.
26TH PLACE (TIE): THAILAND – Patcharida Blatchford. She’s another one I’m totally not crazy about yet perhaps due to her strong English-speaking skills (she’s half-British, you know, hence the English-sounding surname) she garnered 19th place in the preliminaries. Being listed among the Top 30 in BWAP helped her sustain a Top 30 finish.
26TH PLACE (TIE): INDIA – Kanishtha Dhankar. She started out in a tie for 64th place, as perhaps despite her eloquent communication skills the judges penalized her for her sentiments about not making the shortlist for the Sports fast-track (they probably interpreted her comments as poor sportsmanship). But those Top 10 finishes in both Top Model and BWAP gave her huge points and helped her vault into a Top 30 overall standing.
25TH PLACE: JAPAN – Midori Tanaka. Despite weak English speaking skills, her striking pageboy bob was perfect catnip for the preliminary judges to rate her a strong 23rd place. Placing in both Beach Beauty and Top Model, plus credit for her BWAP project helped her sail a steady course and maintain her Top 30 placement.
24TH PLACE: TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Lee-Ann Forbes. Yes, she earned 10 points in the fast-track rounds (12th in Sports and credit for her BWAP project). But it was not enough for her to hold on to her 10th place tie in the preliminaries, as it turned out one needs to earn at least 20 more points in the fast-track rounds to be able to advance to the Top 15.
23RD PLACE: SERBIA – Milica Tepavac. Her 5th place finish in Beach Beauty (the judges of that event probably felt her long frizzy blonde hair was so beach-worthy) plus BWAP credits helped her overtake several highly regarded contestants, including Trinidad & Tobago above. She ranked 26th in the preliminaries–another one that puzzled me like New Zealand and Thailand. Is her frizzy look truly worthy of a high placement?
20TH PLACE (TIE): RUSSIA – Natalia Gantimurova. I found her to be a bimbo back at Miss Universe, so I was surprised that she impressed the preliminary panel interview in this pageant so much that she was 7th before the fast-tracks were factored in. Like Trinidad & Tobago, despite earning 10 fast-track points (Beach Beauty and BWAP credit) she dropped a huge 13 notches and was ousted from the Top 15.
20TH PLACE (TIE): AUSTRALIA – Amber Greasley. Earning 15 points (from Sports, Top Model, and credit from BWAP) was not enough for her to sustain her original tie-for-15th place standing in the preliminaries, but at least her drop was not as precipitous as the others we have witnessed.
20TH PLACE (TIE): GUATEMALA – Lourdes Figueroa. One might wonder–why she was the one who was called on stage to find out about her Top 15 fate if there she was tied with two others? It was buzzed about that a key tie-breaker was the standing in BWAP. It so happened she ranked 14th in BWAP while the other two only earned credits. She only ranked 53rd in the preliminaries, but thanks to her 2nd place showing in Sports, plus the aforementioned BWAP and being shortlisted in Talent she catapulted herself to this hallowed group.
19TH PLACE: BOTSWANA – Karabo Sampson. With her heartwarming anecdote about how every member of her family individually and ritually assisted her in packing her luggage prior to traveling for this contest, she was in 12th place prior to the fast-tracks being accounted for. Not even earning 15 points for being shortlisted in both Sports and BWAP was enough for her to hold on to the Top 15, and she ended up dipping seven notches.
18TH PLACE: CHILE – Gabriela Pulgar. Winning the Talent fast-track and being shortlisted in Sports was not enough for her to gain placements and sustain a Top 15 finish. Still, she was just four points behind the 15th placer, so it was a valiant though frustrating effort.
16TH PLACE (TIE): ST. BARTHELEMY – Johanna Sansano. Despite earning 19 points from her Beach Beauty placement and 6th place Talent finish (rapping and doing a jazz dance to a medley of hip-hop hits), she plunged from 6th place in the preliminaries to ending up outside the Top 15. The most frustrating part? If only she submitted a BWAP project (any BWAP project! Perhaps even a glorified Powerpoint presentation like Annie Oliv of Sweden’s BWAP presentation back in 2007…), she could’ve earned some credit and prevented BWAP winner Indonesia from making the final cut!
16TH PLACE (TIE): PARAGUAY – Nicole Huber. Top 10 placements in Talent and Sports, a Top 20 placement in Beach Beauty, and BWAP credits earned her 34 points that helped her leapfrog from 27th in the preliminaries to this placement, close but not enough to enter the Top 15–Indonesia overtook her with her BWAP win, you know…
COMING UP: THE 15 SEMIFINALISTS