Monthly Archives: August 2012

MISS WORLD 2012: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

SWEDEN – Sanna Jinnedal.  Several pageant fans and pundits felt she was a major letdown from the gorgeous Nicoline Artursson.  So it’s surprising that not only she was shortlisted in the Sportswoman challenge events but in both looks-oriented events as well plus the Designer Dress award.  If we look at the results of the six sports events, I have this feeling she will be the winner of the Sportswoman challenge–she was part of the winning relay race team, won (in a tie with Uganda) the penalty shoot-out, and placed 2nd in the long jump–she’s the only one listed in three sports competitions.

TANZANIA – Lisa Peter Jensen.  Her name doesn’t sound African, and she is one of the few fairer-complexioned contestants fielded by this country.   Like “prettier” contenders such as Belgium, France, Lebanon, and Malta, she was initially considered for Top Model before they whittled down to the final 46.  Otherwise, she seemed to be a relatively raw and unpolished contender.

THAILAND – Vanessa Phuang Hermann.  For the second year in a row, this country decided to field a Eurasian–this time one of German descent.  She is a great looking lady, but I was underwhelmed by her introduction video as she seemed tentative.  Is she like this in front of the judges, or at least she mustered some confidence?  Anyway, it was reported that besides Top Model, she also was shortlisted for the Multimedia award (though most wonder why Philippines failed to make the list).  I think it will be a bit of a challenge for her to make the Top 30 like her predecessor.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Athaliah Samuel.  Pageant fans and pundits reacted with shock and revulsion when they initially saw her.  And it is with shock that they reacted when she figured in the two looks-oriented challenge events.  She is not my brand of exotic, but apparently it is for the people at Miss World, that is why she fared as well as she did.

TURKEY – Açalya Samyeli Danoğlu.  Just like Miss Israel, pageant fans and pundits salivate at her statuesque stature and model features.  It is completely justifiable how she was shortlisted in Top Model.  But pageant fans and pundits were shocked when she failed to make the Beach Fashion shortlist.  At the very least she made up for that loss by also figuring in the Sportswoman event.  She’s more articulate than your average contestant from this country (belonging in the stellar exceptions like Miss World 2002 Azra Akιn).

UGANDA – Phiona Bizzu.  Her notable performance is in the Sportswoman event, where she won the penalty shootout (in a tie with Miss Sweden).  Lookswise, she isn’t my cup of tea, and she seems to be an unpolished communicator, but she sounded very sincere in her introduction video that she might score high in the personality department.

UKRAINE – Karyna Zhironkina.  Here is one of the most gorgeous faces in this year’s pageant.  But buzz seems to be relatively muted–yes, she figured in both looks-oriented challenge events, but there are fans and pundits (including myself) who felt she deserves to rank higher in them, especially in Top Model.  Would a Designer Dress placement serve as a consolation?  She looked impeccably gorgeous and elegant in her Top Model photos, I have to scratch my head on why in the hell they selected Jamaica over her.  I love her to bits, but I have a feeling she won’t rank as high as her predecessor (who also made a major splash in Talent last year).

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event

UNITED STATES – Claudine Book.  Considering the franchise holder for this country is Elite Model Management, it’s a bit of a headscratcher that this ingenue seemed to appear raw onstage.  I find her prettier than Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills, but with the exception of a Top 25 placement in Performing Talent and almost being considered for the Top Model shortlist, she failed to generate the necessary buzz so it is unlikely she would make the Top 30.  Still the recent announcement that she made the shortlist for BWAP may mean she might earn crucial points to make the final cut (remember that her predecessor didn’t even earn any points at all from BWAP as she apparently failed to submit a project).  She reminds me of an embryonic and less charismatic version of Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella.

Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella (image sourced from listal.com)

URUGUAY – Valentina Henderson.  I’ve noticed in several appearances she styled her hair similar to Gwendoline Ruais last year.  Is she trying to capture Gwen’s “magic”?  Unfortunately it seems to be backfiring and she is not making the right impression at all.

Miss World 2011 Gwendoline Ruais (image courtesy of AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Taiesa Lashley.  Yes, lookswise she isn’t much, but she has a confident personality and great communication skills.  I don’t know if I listened to her introduction video correctly, but apparently she’s in the US military who already had a tour of duty in Afghanistan twice.  She also landed in the Top 16 in Performing Talent, but equaling the performance of her predecessor, the gorgeous Esonica Viera, is unlikely.

VENEZUELA – Gabriela Ferrari.  Here’s a shocker–she only figured in one challenge event, Top Model!  Definitely she is unlikely to duplicate Ivian Sarcos’s victory.  But can she make the Top 15, at the very least?  Despite the odds being stacked against her, it is still very possible, as we saw pictures of her in a lovely and impeccable structured dress with black floral embroidery on the skirt as she went for her interview.  She should make a smashing impression for wearing that outfit at the very least!  In most photos, the very first thing that popped in my mind when I looked at her is actress Kate Hudson.

On her way to the panel interview (image courtesy of Gabriela Ferrari)
Kate Hudson (image sourced from layddee.com)

VIETNAM – Vũ Thị Hoàng My.  This lady competed in last year’s Miss Universe and it looks like despite the obvious hype across the internet, she will endure a similar fortune in this pageant and miss the final cut.  At least she figured in the Top 40 of Beach Fashion and I have to give her credit as she’s a worthwhile contender with a balance of good looks and solid communication skills.

WALES – Sophie Moulds.  I have noted that typically the strongest contestant from the British Isles would come from Scotland; the weakest link would typically be from this country.  But it is not the case this year and things are topsy-turvy now as this gorgeous girl with the luminously bright eyes is the strongest bet and the likeliest to clinch the Miss United Kingdom title.  It is obvious she was shortlisted in both Beach Fashion and Top Model, clinching a Top 10 spot in the former.  There also seems to be some reports she was also shortlisted in BWAP, so perhaps she could turn into another possible usurper to the triumvirate of Australia, China, and Mexico.

Top 10 in Beach Fashion
Pretty Bright Eyes

ZIMBABWE – Bongani Dlakama.  Last year’s representative, Malaika Mushandu, was the fast-track queen who amassed the most points to vault into the Top 15.  This girl?  She did not figure in any challenge event!  She will probably figure near the bottom of the pack.

All images courtesy of Miss World, Ltd. unless otherwise indicated.

Now that all 116 contestants are all accounted for, as is customary I shall now trot out my own personal leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  AUSTRALIA, CHINA PR, MEXICO

SHOO-INS:  BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, JAMAICA, KAZAKHSTAN, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH SUDAN, SPAIN, WALES

LIKELIEST:  ARGENTINA, CHILE, CZECH REPUBLIC, ENGLAND, GUADELOUPE, GUATEMALA, HONG KONG CHINA, INDIA, INDONESIA, ISRAEL, MACAU CHINA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NIGERIA, NORTHERN IRELAND, PUERTO RICO, SWEDEN, TURKEY, UKRAINE, VENEZUELA

EXCELLENT:  AUSTRIA, BELIZE, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, IRELAND, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PORTUGAL, SLOVAKIA, THAILAND, VIETNAM

VERY STRONG:  ANGOLA, BAHAMAS, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GABON, GERMANY, GUAM, HUNGARY, ITALY, JAPAN, KENYA, LITHUANIA, MONGOLIA, SCOTLAND, SEYCHELLES, SOUTH AFRICA, UGANDA, UNITED STATES

STRONG:  ALBANIA, ARUBA, BELARUS, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BOTSWANA, BULGARIA, COSTA RICA, COTE D’IVOIRE, CYPRUS, ECUADOR, ETHIOPIA, FIJI, FINLAND, FRANCE, GREECE, LATVIA, LEBANON, MALTA, MARTINIQUE, MONTENEGRO, NICARAGUA, PERU, RUSSIA, SERBIA, SLOVENIA, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

VERY GOOD:  BARBADOS, BONAIRE, CROATIA, GUYANA, HONDURAS, ICELAND, KOREA, SIERRA LEONE, SRI LANKA, ST. KITTS & NEVIS, SURINAME, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

GOOD:  CANADA, GIBRALTAR, MACEDONIA FYR, MALAYSIA, MAURITIUS, SINGAPORE, TANZANIA, URUGUAY

FAIR:  EL SALVADOR, GEORGIA, MALAWI, ZIMBABWE

And again, as is customary, here is my “fearful” forecast:

TOP SEVEN:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, CHINA PR, COLOMBIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, WALES

TOP 15:  ISRAEL, KAZAKHSTAN, NEPAL, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH SUDAN, SPAIN, UKRAINE

TOP 30:  ARGENTINA, CHILE, CZECH REPUBLIC, ENGLAND, GUADELOUPE, GUATEMALA, INDIA, INDONESIA, MACAU CHINA, NIGERIA, NORTHERN IRELAND, PUERTO RICO, SWEDEN, TURKEY, VENEZUELA

BUBBLING UNDER:  AUSTRIA, BELIZE, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, HONG KONG CHINA, IRELAND, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PORTUGAL, SLOVAKIA, THAILAND, VIETNAM

The grand two-and-a-half hour finale event would be underway in a few hours from now.  I wait in bated breath and hope the ideal results would be realized this time.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MISS WORLD 2012: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 7)

PUERTO RICO – Janelee Chaparro.  Usually, a girl would look the most glamorous if her hair is styled freely in a ready-t0-be-windswept, wavy, and feathery hairstyle.  But the opposite is true for this lady.  I observed if she pulled her hair back by tying it up or at the back as in the case of the Designer Dress and Top Model events, she resembles a cross between movie stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and now-ex-Mrs.-Tom-Cruise Katie Holmes.  But if she let her hair down, she reminded me of the controversial Real Housewives of New Jersey reality star Teresa Giudice–and it’s not meant to be a compliment.  She’s more gorgeous than her phenomenally successful predecessor Miss World 2011 2nd runner-up Amanda Vilanova, but considering she only managed to figure in three challenge events (though it’s the highly regarded looks-oriented ones including Designer Dress), her best prospects is simply landing in the Top 15.

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event
Catherine Zeta-Jones (image sourced from amazingmaterial.com)
Katie Holmes (image sourced from nerafrost.files.wordpress.com)
Teresa Giudice from the Real Housewives of New Jersey (image courtesy of Bravo)

RUSSIA – Elizaveta Golovanona.  It was assumed that her girlish ingenue vibe (with that extra long mass of hair) is perfect catnip for Miss World.  Unfortunately, she surprisingly failed to figure in any of the challenge events.  Even if she scored high in the panel interview, her standing would slip when the challenge events are going to be accounted for.  Definitely a candidate for the “Holly Carpenter” award.

SCOTLAND – Nicole Treacy.  We typically expect the best contestant from the British Isles would come from this country.  It’s ironic that it seems in this year’s group, this lady is the weakest link.  Still, she made a major splash in the only challenge event she was shortlisted in, the Sportswoman event.   She was part of the winning team in the shuttle run and she placed first in the 100 meter dash.

SERBIA – Bojana Lecic.  I think her dark, sultry Slavic features are better appreciated in Miss Universe than in this pageant, that is why she was unfortunately not shortlisted in any of the challenge events.

SEYCHELLES – Sherlyn Niella Furneau.  During the early days of her stay, pageant fans and pundits thought she is in contention of clinching the Continental title for Africa (amongst several other African standouts).  Though she’s undeniably great looking, her low-key demeanor in her introduction video may have revealed why her best challenge performance was being initially considered for Top Model before they whittled down the list to 46.

SIERRA LEONE – Vanessa Ethleen Yvonne Williams.  She was the last one to arrive in China.  I had to use her full name, as we all know she shares an identical name with a couple of more illustrious celebrities.  Like the most famous of them all, her performing talent is singing.  It seems she was able to bypass the original audition process to be instantly listed in the Top 16 for talent, though after listening to her singing performance, I have to note that even though her singing voice is decent, she is nothing compared to the distinctive stylings and vocal quality of the “Save the Best for Last” and “Colors of the Wind” singer and actress.  Not to mention she is definitely not as glamorous or well put together.

No, not this Vanessa Williams (multi-faceted star recently of Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives fame)… (image sourced from askmen.com)
…nor this Vanessa Williams (of original Melrose Place fame)… (image sourced from zap2it.com)
…but this Vanessa Williams

SINGAPORE – Karisa Sukamto.  Several pageant fans and pundits regarded her very harshly and placed her as a cellar dweller in their lists, and accuse her of using family connections to clinch the national title.  I have to beg to slightly differ as I actually find her features attractive.  Yes, she’s probably the shortest out there at 1.60 m, but considering she was shortlisted in the Sportswoman event and Multimedia award, she won’t be occupying the cellar.

SLOVAKIA – Kristína Krajčírová.  This lady does exude a glamorous supermodel vibe that it’s obvious she deserved being shortlisted for Top Model.  She could be within striking distance of the Top 30.

SLOVENIA – Nives Orešnik.  She is good looking enough but her best moment was being shortlisted in the Sportswoman event, being part of the winning team in the relay race.

SOUTH AFRICA – Remona Moodley.  One thing is for certain–the Continental title for Africa will not go to this country this year.  Though she does share the strong communication skills characteristic of contestants from this country, she doesn’t have the charisma of her predecessors.  She was in the initial list for Top Model before it was whittled down to 46, but at least she has the consolation of figuring in the Top 40 for Beach Fashion.

SOUTH SUDAN – Atong Demach.  She competed at Miss Earth two years ago, making a positive impression though missing the final cut.  She was supposed to compete in this pageant last year, but we all know about the restrictive visa policies of the UK that prevented her from making it.  But I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise since if she competed last year she may have been overshadowed by the favoritism towards Bokang Montjane.  Now, she gets to finally shine in the spotlight, with the possibility of clinching the Continental title for Africa well within reach.  Sure, on paper it seems even between her and Nigeria–both of them landed in both Beach Fashion and Top Model, with Nigeria landing in the Top 10 for Beach Fashion, and her making the Top 10 for Top Model.  But I think it is likely Atong shone in the crucial interview rounds if her introduction video is any indication–she comes off as a poised, intelligent, and dignified lady while Nigeria would seem raw in contrast.  I’m rooting for her to bring forth a breakthrough for her new nation.

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event

SPAIN – Aranzazu Estevez.  What I noticed most about her are the shape of her face, which is this long oval shape, and her luminous eyes–only Mz. Australia and Wales have more luminous eyes than hers.  I think she’s likely to duplicate the feat of her predecessor and make the Top 15.  She made a major impact figuring in Top Model and Beach Fashion, making the Top 10 in the former.  She also made the shortlist in the Designer Dress award–deservingly so, in my opinion.

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event

SRI LANKA – Sumudu Prasadini Wijesinghe.  She generally looked unattractive in most photos taken of her, and she’s rather raw in her introduction video.  So I wondered why in the hell was she shortlisted in Top Model.  Photos from that event revealed that she does make a striking impression with the way she was styled in that show, and even I started rallying around her corner.  But otherwise, I don’t foresee her making any other kind of impression.

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event

ST. KITTS & NEVIS – Markysa O’Loughlin.  If it weren’t for her steel-drum performing talent, she would likely end up as a cellar-dweller.

SURINAME – Stephanie Grace Gentle.  Here’s another one of the headscratchers who was chosen for the Top Model event.  But then examining the photos from the event, I found the reason why–the shape of her head is unusual and fascinating, though still to my eyes she doesn’t qualify as attractive.  The people responsible for selecting Top Model seem to have some unusually exotic tastes, it seems.

COMING UP:  SWEDEN to ZIMBABWE, plus the “Fearful Forecast”.

MISS WORLD 2012: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 6)

MONTENEGRO – Nikolina Lončar.  In last year’s Miss Universe pageant, she won Miss Congeniality.  That factor seems to be reflected well in her introduction video, as she exudes a refreshingly effervescent charm (though she also expressed some pretty lofty ambitions as she declared she wants to become president of her country).  She failed to place in any of the challenge events so far, so I just hope she made the right impression in her panel interview.

NEPAL – Shristi Shrestha.  Her studio photos made several pageant fans and pundits salivate that she’s the best ever representative fielded by this country.  Though there were candid pictures where I didn’t quite see the hype, as the events wore on I finally got to see what the buzz was all about.  When she projects her best she exudes a fusion of Miss World 1994 (and Queen of Bollywood) Aishwarya Rai and “The First Supermodel” Janice Dickinson.  Though she failed to figure in the Top Model challenge event, she caused a sensation during that evening wearing an elegant low-cut cleavage-baring black gown as part of the audience for the event.  But she made a major splash in the one event she qualified for–she made Top 10 in Beach Fashion.  Some pageant fans and pundits want her to win it all, but I have a feeling that a Top 15 or Top 30 placement would be major achievement enough.

Top 10 in Beach Fashion
Posing with Chief Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson (image courtesy of Shristi Shrestha)
Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai (image sourced from wallpaperextreme.com)
Janice Dickinson circa 1979 (image courtesy of Cosmopolitan)

NETHERLANDS – Nathalie Den Dekker.  She’s a grizzled veteran of lesser international pageants, and she is making a strong impression that she conveivably could make it to the Top 30.  She made the cut in the Beach Fashion and Sportswoman events, and she’s a balanced mix of attractiveness and personality that it is likely she would make a positive impression with the all-important judging panel.  Her weakest point is her gaudy frock that she sported for the Dress Designer event.

NEW ZEALAND – Collette Kelly Lochore.  She’s a willowy pale and delicate brunette who seems to have good communication skills and a charitable personality.  She has not been shortlisted in any challenge event so her best prospects is that she made a great impression in the all-important panel interview.

NICARAGUA – Lauren Lawson.  She looked good in most images taken of her except for one–her introduction video.  Though her intelligence shone through that video, she seemed to have severe eyebags during the shoot.  Another lady who failed to figure in any challenge event, she probably belongs to the P.A.T.I.S. club.

NIGERIA – Damiete Charles-Granville.  Earlier in the game, the Continental title for Africa seems to be a free-for-all with pageant fans and pundits raving about one girl one day and another one the next.  But as the challenge events unfold, it seems to now be a showdown between this lady and South Sudan.  It’s a good thing this good looking lady was chosen instead of the original representative (who turned out to be over-aged for this pageant), though I’m not a fan of her weave and felt she could’ve been styled better.  Still, she made the cut in both looks-oriented challenge events and made the Top 10 in Beach Fashion.

Top 10 in Beach Fashion

NORTHERN IRELAND – Tiffany Brien.  Her features made me recall somebody, but the name escaped my head at this point.  She is undeniably attractive and made a major splash in both Sportswoman and Beach Fashion, being part of the winning shuttle run team and placing third in the long jump in the former and making it all the way to the Top 10 in the latter.  A Top 30 placement seems definitely in the cards for her.

Top 10 in Beach Fashion

NORWAY – Karoline Olsen.  She seems to be a bit less than polished but she does have a pretty face.  But her standout feature is her huge mass of red hair–she made me recall the protagonist of Disney Pixar’s recent film Brave, Princess Merida.  But the main highlight is that she placed in the Top Five in the Performing Talent event with her singing, as embedded below (though you’ll have to scour through Denmark’s dancing first before you get to see her performance; also, watch out for Kazakhstan’s dancing after her number).

Princess Merida from Disney Pixar’s “Brave” (image courtesy of Disney Pixar)

PANAMA – Maricely Gonzalez.  She does have merits as she’s good-looking enough and articulate and personable enough.  But her main highlight is that she figured in the Top Five in the Performing Talent event.  Actually I found her singing a bit “pitchy”, but I suppose the standout factor was that she performed the song “Colors of the Wind” (from the Disney film Pocahontas) bilingually in English and Spanish.

PARAGUAY – Fiorella Migliore.  On paper she seemed poised to outperform Nicole Huber as she seemed to be the perfect “medium rare” steak that Miss World tends to favor.  She made a positive impression in her introduction video, and was shortlisted in both Sportswoman and Performing Talent just like her predecessor.  And then, nothing is heard or buzzed about her since then.  It didn’t help that later photos seemed to unflatteringly show a faded-out and drained-out lady.  Where was the spark that helped her win Italia Nel Mondo four years ago?

PERU – Giuliana Zevallos.  We have to hand it to this Miss Earth and Miss Universe veteran–she is definitely polished.  But unfortunately she only figured in one challenge event–the Dress Designer award.  Her best prospect is a respectable placement, at best.

PHILIPPINES – Queneerich Rehman.  Though I like her better than last year’s Miss World 1st runner-up, I know it will be a major challenge for her to duplicate Gwendoline Ruais’s phenomenal placement.  Still, she did our country proud by not simply figuring in both Beach Fashion and Top Model, but causing a major sensation with her unique beatboxing talent–the video of her performance went viral and the web media waxed rapturously over it.  It is recently disclosed that she’s also shortlisted for Designer Dress–deservingly so with the elegant and intricately embroidered red Michael Cinco number (it was the best designer dress of them all, if you ask me)–so I think we can rest a little easy as she’s likely to make the Top 15.  She is on track of even going all the way to the Top Seven, but I’m already perfectly content if she made Top 15 (or Top 30 for that matter, but I know she’ll fare better than that).

POLAND – Weronika Szmajdzińska.  She exudes the glamorously sexy Slavic ingenue vibe that we last saw 11 years ago with former Yugoslavian semifinalist Tijana Stajsic.  With such qualities it is no surprise she was shortlisted in Beach Fashion and Top Model, making all the way to the Top 10 in the latter.  I think with the charm she exuded in her introduction video it is likely she has an inside track to the Top 15.

At the Erdos 1436 fashion show / Top Model event
Tijana Stajsic at Miss World 2001 (image sourced from digplanet.com)

PORTUGAL – Melanie Vicente.  She’s a high quality delegate, great looking and exuding abundant charm in her introduction video.   She’s also a polished presence in photos taken of her in various events.  I’m not surprised she figured in the Top 40 of Beach Fashion, but she shone the best in the “homely” Sportswoman event, winning first place in the swimming portion.

COMING UP:  PUERTO RICO to SURINAME