MR. WORLD 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

More gym time: China PR, Ukraine, Poland, Lebanon (again), Peru
Chillin’ at the Jacuzzi: Lebanon (yes, again), Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Canada, Honduras, some older guy who is not a Mister World contestant, Martinique

THE RED TEAM:  This team may not have made as much inroads in the athletic challenges, with only two advancing in the Sports challenge, and though Macau China set a record in the qualifying round of the Extreme Sports challenge, at the end not one member of this team figured in the Top Four.  They might have better fortunes in the Multimedia and Talent challenges as the possible winners might come from this group.

Extreme Challenge qualifiers: China PR, Turkey, Costa Rica, Belgium, and Macau China. Also in the picture behind them: Greece (face obscured), Honduras, Argentina. Cut-in-half in photo: Canada

ARGENTINA – Franco Belotti.  He is not that buzzed about but I found him actually very handsome and seems to exude an outgoing charm.  He actually even resembles Mr. World 2003 Gustavo Gianetti.  If he unlocked the same charisma as Gustavo during the pre-judging, he could be a sleeper semifinalist.

with Mr. Mexico in the pub
Performing push-ups for the fitness test
Mr. World 2003, Gustavo Gianetti (image sourced from republicaamalgama.wordpress.com)

BELGIUM – Gianni Sennesael.  He was 2nd runner-up in last year’s Manhunt International.  He actually is making a great impression and had some mileage in the BBC One Show appearance, and he made the Top Five for his team in the Extreme Sports challenge.  But securing that slot is not easy as this batch is extremely competitive and the rules are different.  Still, he is definitely in the running for the semifinals (though maybe not make the Top Five).

With Mr. Macau China (left)
At the BBC One show

CANADA – Frankie Cena.  At 5’5″, he’s the shortest in this year’s batch.  Not only that he is short by male pageant standards, he’s also going to be considered short if he were female competing in a major international pageant.  But he has a couple of killer edges that could put him in contention–superb communication skills, and singing talent.  For the talent round, it’s going to be a fierce rivalry between him, England, and Mongolia (since Mr. World tend to reward singers) for the Talent title.

Speaking of England, they posted a video collaborating on a One Direction cover.  They actually did a great job at it.  Somehow it gave me visions that they can become a viable recording duo–there is a gap in the pop landscape for a musical duo since Australia’s Savage Garden broke up and these two could perfectly fill that need.  Obviously Frankie will assume the Darren Hayes role…

Touring Canterbury Cathedral
Singing in the second round of talent auditions

CHINA PR – Tan Zeyong.  He’s the last person to arrive in Kent, but he made a splash as he qualified in the Top 10 in the Talent challenge for his dancing, and was part of the Top Five in his team in the Extreme Sports challenge.  I don’t find him facially handsome, but we cannot deny his beefily buffed frame and the fact that the Miss World organization tends to love this country regardless of the type of representative it fielded (I know an exception has to be made in 2010, but at least that representative was shortlisted in Top Model that time even if he failed to make the overall Top 15).

A warm welcome to the latecomer!
Dancing and making the Talent challenge final cut

COSTA RICA – Jorge Mario Castillo.  Amongst the formidable Latino contingent, I actually found him to be the weakest link as I find his facial features the plainest.  But, to his credit, he seems likeable and he made the Top Five of his team in the Extreme Sports challenge.

Touring Canterbury
Auditioning in the Talent challenge.
The agony of defeat? Don’t worry, he made up for it in the Extreme Sports challenge.

GREECE – Dimitris Valvis.  There are pageant fans and pundits who would rate him as one of their favorites to make the final cut.  He is undeniably hunky and handsome, but he also registers as monotonous, almost akin to either a robot or a himbo.  Those are qualities that are usually a turnoff for insiders of this pageant.  Still, his swarthy good looks and buffed physique deserve better respect and appreciation by the powers-that-be.

Touring Canterbury
At the gym with Brazil, Colombia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina

HONDURAS – Kilber Gutierrez Ponce.  I don’t have a high regard for him at first, and I find his facial features a bit too chubby (even if the rest of his body is totally in shape).  But he grows on me as the days wear on, and I began to appreciate his cuteness better.  He’s also one of two survivors from this team in the Sports challenge, so he should be a force to reckon with.

Ireland, Honduras, and Argentina during the fitness test
Touring Canterbury

ITALY – Fabio Rondinelli.  Prior to his arrival, I’m sure there are pageant fans and pundits who would rate him as one of the likeliest to land in the semifinals.  He’s a letdown since then, the only notable thing about him is that he’s the only one who dares to wear a speedo in the gym, as shown in the picture below.  He couldn’t quite commit to a definite persona, as he grows his stubble one day, then shaves it off, and then it grows again… it’s sometimes hard to identify him in the lineup.

Rockin’ a Speedo: Italy with Germany and Lebanon
At the BBC One Show with Mr. Greece

LUXEMBOURG – Kevin Stamerra.  People wondered about the presence of a handsome fellow in this contest who they could barely identify.  The buzz is almost like the pageant-fans-and-pundits equivalent of that  recent internet meme, the “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” (RPG).  It turns out to be this fellow, and he has a passing resemblance to RPG.  He could be a welcome sleeper surprise into the finals, as he does exude a lot of charisma.  He’s such a major upgrade from his fey and homely predecessor.

Window shopping in London
What happened to Turkey? Extreme Sports qualifiers plus Luxembourg in the center. Clockwise from top left: Belgium, China PR, Macau China, Costa Rica
“Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” (image sourced from knowyourmeme.com)

MACAU CHINA – Kim Wu.  If you ask me, I would rather see this cutie making the final cut instead of the guy representing Mainland China.  I like his cute, boyish features and his outgoing personality.  He is also one of the clowns in the group judging from his silly facial expressions in photos throughout this article.  He earned some distinction breaking a course record in the first stage of the Extreme Sports challenge.

Cutie Boy: filming his video profile
Rockin’ Wacky Boy: watching We Will Rock You in Dominion Theatre at London’s West End
What’chu tryin’ to do posin’ like that, boy?

MALTA – Robert Galea.  There are pageant fans and pundits who have a high regard for this guy.  He does seem solid and his handsome features undeniable, but I fear he doesn’t quite stand out, that like Mr. Guadeloupe, that he could just be considered “just another pretty face.”

Buddying up with Mr. Belgium
Hitting the gym

MONGOLIA – Enkhbold Erdenetuya.  He made a major splash with his unique opera singing talent.  I have a feeling the powers-that-be may tend to favor more traditional fare so this guy may edge over the pop leanings of Canada and England and be granted the Talent fast-track.  This is also the second time that a male Mongolian reminds me of an Americanized Korean–this time, I think this guy resembles Lost and Hawaii Five-0 actor Daniel Dae Kim.

Performing his opera singing talent
At the BBC One Show
Daniel Dae Kim (image sourced from danieldaekim.com)

SINGAPORE – Edison Ho.  One thing is guaranteed about Singaporean representatives to male pageants is that they are going to be buffed.  This guy continues in that tradition.  He made an impression being initially shortlisted for the Talent challenge with his magic act, but he eventually fell short of making the Top 10.

Performing magic tricks at the talent audition
Hitting the gym with China and Japan

SOUTH AFRICA – Andrew Govender.  This fellow of Indian descent did not quite impress me at first, but like Honduras, he started to grow on me.  He seems to be the likeliest candidate to win the Multimedia challenge with the regular updates he made during the day of the Canterbury tour.  He also is one of the best communicators out there.

with the reigning Mr. World, Kamal Ibrahim
Touring Canterbury with Malta, Luxembourg, and Italy

TURKEY – Barış Aslan.  He seems to share similar traits with a typical Lebanese contestant fielded in this pageant–swarthy features and an extremely outgoing personality.  He is particularly notable for recording a comprehensive video interviewing practically every contestant in the bus after the fitness test of the Sports challenge, and he’s the one responsible for uploading the amusing “Gangnam Style” dance video that they performed.  He could be catnip to the judging panel and make the final cut.  He could also be a leading candidate for the Multimedia award.

Touring Canterbury
Riding the Tube with Peru

WALES – Rhodri Ihenacho.  He is notable for making the Top 12 in the Sports challenge and making the Top 10 in talent with his singing.  Even this guy notes that he physically resembles the reigning Mr. World, Kamal Ibrahim.  Could he take it and keep the title within the British Isles?  It is in the realm of possibility indeed.

Singing in the 2nd round of talent auditions
Performing the fitness test in the Sports challenge
Checkin’ out their fitness with Lebanon (yes, again–left)
In his own words: “#MrWorld and I, we look very similar wouldn’t you agree?”

This is probably the toughest pageant to make a call, as there are actually no clear definitive standouts.  There is no guarantee that leading the challenges would be a good indication of overall status.  Also, the contestants who most pageant fans and pundits would consider to be the weakest links actually have compelling qualities to make the final cut.  Still, I’ll put myself out on the limb and trot out my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  COLOMBIA, CROATIA, IRELAND, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, WALES

SHOO-INs:  CHINA, ENGLAND, LEBANON

LIKELIEST:  ARGENTINA, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, GERMANY, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, MACAU CHINA, MARTINIQUE, NETHERLANDS, PERU, PORTUGAL, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, SPAIN, TURKEY, VENEZUELA

TALENT FACTOR:  CANADA, MONGOLIA

MULTIMEDIA FACTOR:  SOUTH AFRICA

EXCELLENT:  BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CZECH REPUBLIC, GREECE, HONDURAS, MALTA, NEW ZEALAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, POLAND, SINGAPORE, VIETNAM

VERY STRONG:  BULGARIA, COSTA RICA, FRANCE, GUADELOUPE, ITALY, PARAGUAY, UKRAINE

STRONG:  JAPAN, LATVIA

I know I could be way off this year, but here is my “fearful” forecast nevertheless:

TOP FIVE:  COLOMBIA, CROATIA, IRELAND, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES

SEMIFINALISTS:  BRAZIL, CHINA, ENGLAND, LEBANON, MONGOLIA, PUERTO RICO, SOUTH AFRICA, TURKEY, VENEZUELA, WALES

BUBBLING UNDER:  ARGENTINA, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVIA, CANADA, CZECH REPUBLIC, GERMANY, GREECE, HONDURAS, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, MACAU CHINA, MALTA, MARTINIQUE, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, PERU, POLAND, PORTUGAL, RUSSIA, SINGAPORE, SPAIN, VIETNAM

Based from their Facebook inputs, this year’s batch seem to be a lively and fun-loving group, often with cheeky senses of humor that I find delightful.  Though this year’s Manhunt International featured contestants who provide fever-inducing sexiness, this group compensates for the toned-down sex appeal with other compelling qualities.  This group still proves that Mister World remains the premier male pageant to be reckoned with.  I hope they can host another edition as soon as 2014 instead of waiting for a longer period…

To end this Homestretch review, below is the video of their appearance at the BBC One Show.  I wish I could embed their other silly dances (they also danced to “Call Me Maybe”) but WordPress doesn’t seem to have the capability to link up Facebook videos at this point.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Touring London
Off to the BBC One Show

All images courtesy of Mr. World and its respective contestants unless otherwise indicated.

 

MR. WORLD 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

Ten of the Sports challenge Top 12 chillin’ at the pool–clockwise from top left: Croatia, Japan, Wales, Martinique, Poland, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Portugal. Missing: Ireland and Philippines

THE GREEN TEAM:  This team shone best in the Sports challenge, as seven members made the Top 12 shortlist.  They also salvaged a slot from the domination of the Blue team in the Extreme Sports challenge, as Poland made the Top Four.  In the Talent challenge, they were relatively weak, with only two who made the initial shortlist, and one of them was whittled out of the final list (New Zealand), leaving only one survivor from this team (England).  Nevertheless, there are some serious contenders in this roster, and let us take a look at them:

Green Team at the Sports challege. Top (L-R): Paraguay, India, Puerto Rico, Martinique, England, Japan; Middle (L-R): France, New Zealand, Poland, Paraguay; Bottom: Ireland
Top Five qualifiers for Extreme Sports challenge: Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Mexico, Portugal, and Poland. Poland went on to become Top Four overall in this challenge.

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – Zlatan Duratović.  He is good looking, but it seems he couldn’t get much inroads edgewise.  Still he should be regarded as a worthwhile competitor and in a less competitive group, a semifinals slot should have been within reach.

with Mr. Brazil
with Mr. Croatia (left)

BULGARIA – Stefan Miletiev.  If it weren’t for his receding hairline and his relatively shorter stature, he could be considered a worthwhile contender. His face is actually handsomely cute–he resembles So You Think You Can Dance season 5 finalist Evan Kasprzak.

In front of a red London phone booth
Touring Canterbury
Evan Kasprzak (image courtesy of Fox)

ENGLAND – Roland Johnson.  Besides Mr. Bolivia, this fellow also has a resemblance to a young Prince William–I sometimes confuse the two when I view the photos.  He made the Top 16 in last year’s Manhunt International, but I have a feeling he will outshine his Manhunt peers this time–not only because he’s the host contestant and this is a British-run enterprise, but because they put more emphasis on other qualities like talent.  With him performing original material and actual good musical skills, he could be granted the fast-track slot in the Talent challenge.

Showcasing his musical talent
Chillin’ at the pool, too: France, England, and Poland

FRANCE – Alexandre Cheraibi.  He is good looking, but his frame is obviously skinny.  He has not made any impact in the challenges thus far, but I still regard him as a worthwhile contender.  If you observe a photo on my writeup for Germany in the first part of my essay, they form the “Pompadour Duo” as that is one of his distinctive traits.  That, and the  beaten faded denim jacket he sports in some casual occasions.

Having a cup of coffee in Kent
His favorite denim jacket for informal outings

INDIA – Taher Ali.  In early photos, I presumed he and Philippines are roommates as they seemed to be seen together frequently.  This model is not conventionally handsome, but he has a sense of style that perhaps he could be considered for the shortlist in the Fashion & Style challenge.

Taking the London Underground with Mr. Philippines
Chic, dapper schoolboy touring Kent

IRELAND – Leo Delaney.  Now we have a more typical Irish lad representing this country unlike the reigning biracial Mr. World.  There is a strong possibility that he can even give a back-to-back victory for his country, especially since he shone in the Sports challenge (he’s the likeliest to be granted the fast-track), and he’s handsome.  A frontrunner to watch out for.

Touring Canterbury
Winning the golf portion of the Sports challenge
Swim champ: with Colombia, Croatia, and Poland
Could he make it a back-to-back victory? With the reigning Mr. World, Kamal Ibrahim

JAPAN – Shuhei Arai.  I don’t know if we should always expect Japan to field unconventional lookers like this guy–but then again in the previous edition, this nation was represented by the reasonably good-looking Hareruya Konno (though even he has some deficiencies with his less-than-buffed physique and his odd teeth).  Many pageant fans and pundits are turned off by his looks and would regard him as a cellar dweller.  But take note that he made the Top 12 in the Sports challenge, and that he has a lively, outgoing, fun personality.

Push-ups during the fitness test
Touring Canterbury
Goofing about during the ghost hunt.

MARTINIQUE – David Fortune.  He reminds me of the previous edition’s 2nd runner-up from Nigeria.  He shone in the Sports challenge, but I wonder if he rubbed the powers-that-be the wrong way with his comedy drag act when he auditioned for the Talent challenge.  Still, he seems to be a friendly, outgoing personality so he can still charm the judges over and be granted a semifinals slot.

During the golf round of the Sports challenge
Le drag comedie: As Sheenanay for the talent auditions
Sheenanay eliciting chuckles from peers, but the powers-that-be are not amused.

MEXICO – Enrique Ramirez Mayagoitia.  Many pageant fans and pundits salivate at his sight, especially at his pre-arrival modeling photos, and hype that he is the front-runner to win it all.  His physique is definitely enviable.  I don’t think his facial features are conventionally handsome, but he does make a striking presence that even if he was overshadowed by the Blue team in both the Extreme Sports and Sports challenge (with the exception of whupping Mr. Philippines’ butt in the swimming round), he could conceivably still be the man to win it all.  He does also carry himself with flair so a Fashion & Style shortlist (and possibly win) is conceivable.

Wow! A Mexican restaurant in Canterbury!
At the gym with Colombia, Greece, and Poland

NEW ZEALAND – Courtenay Bernard.  He’s an atypical representative as he’s half-black.  He is handsome, and he made the initial shortlist in the Talent challenge for his singing, but nerves probably prevented him from going forward to the final round of this challenge.  He could’ve been a strong contender for the semifinals, but it seems he’s currently overshadowed by another biracial contestant, Mr. Wales.  His video stands out as he trotted out a Kiwi Haka chant at the end.

Touring London
With Mr. Luxembourg during the fitness test

PARAGUAY  – Miguel Cardozo.  He looks rather rough, but he doesn’t actually look bad.  He was among the Top Five in his team in the Extreme Sports challenge.  And he also reportedly inadvertently set off the fire alarm at the hotel, causing the rooms on his floor to be momentarily flooded and the contestants had to temporarily evacuate.

Mexico and Paraguay at the We Will Rock You musical at West End
At the BBC One Show

POLAND – Krystian Kurowski.  He possesses one of the beefiest and buffest physiques out there, that he puts in obviously great use in both the Extreme Sports and Sports challenges.  But his face is just a bit too mature for comfort and a tad on the homely side, though he’s way better looking than Mr. Latvia.  Apparently judging from his video, he’s the most laconic (a.k.a., man of a few words) of the lot, as he has the tersest, briefest video.

Sauna Time: Poland, Lebanon, Costa Rica, and England
Beefy eater at the pub

PORTUGAL – Pajo dos Reis.  He possesses a scruffy handsomeness and a beefy physique that are highly regarded amongst ladies and pageant fans and pundits.  He also made inroads in both the Extreme Sports and Sports challenges.  But he’s most notable for being a clown, doing a bunch of wacky stuff (like check out a video of him mouthing the lines of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” underwater on his Facebook page).  Humor is often a way to a woman’s heart, and perhaps he was able to charm the judges with that quality to secure a semifinals slot.

At the gym with Martinique
Goofing about at the ghost hunt.

PUERTO RICO – Alberto Cerro.  He’s reportedly one with the best facility at English and often acting as translator for his peers.  Though he may be relatively shorter than several of his peers, he has the looks and charm to win over the judges and secure a semifinalist spot.

Getting ready for the Sports challenge.
At the gym flexing his biceps in front of Spain, Paraguay, England, and Japan

SPAIN – Alvaro Villanueva Santos.  I wondered if we’ll ever see the likes of the legendary hunk Fabien Hauquier again–that steamy combination of hulking beefiness, fever-inducing ravishing sex appeal, and handsome manliness–the “Beefcake Behemoth”.  Sure, there was Chile’s Pato Laguna in 2007, but since then it’s slim pickings.  There are several who came close (most recently, Manhunt International 1st runner-up Peter Jonsson of Sweden), but I think I found Fabien’s (and Pato’s) worthy successor with this fellow.  He definitely looks the part, and he has a nice, cheeky personality.  However, I’m fretful that he may not make the cut this year unlike the way Fabien garnered a 2nd runner-up finish–he has not been shortlisted in any challenge round, for starters, and he tends to be low key in most group photos (even if he still sizzles even while standing still).  But I hope there will be room for this specimen of gorgeousness in the finals.

Bench-pressin’ dreamboat…
Mr. World 2003 2nd runner-up (and Manhunt International 2006 1st runner-up) Fabien Hauquier (image sourced from emlyn.blogspot.com)
Mr. World 2007 finalist Pato Laguna (image courtesy of Pato Laguna)

UKRAINE – Oleksandr Bogdanov.  His features, like Messrs. Latvia and Poland, tend to be a bit on the mature side, but he has a Slavic handsomeness to his advantage.  Still in an extremely competitive group like this one, it will be a major challenge for him to make serious inroads

Touring London
Hotel photo with fresh new haircut

All images courtesy of Mr. World and its respective contestants unless otherwise indicated.

I wanted to close this section of my review by posting Mr. Brazil’s video of them dancing the Los del Rio 1996 megasmash “Macarena”, but I haven’t learned how to embed “Facebook” videos at this point.  But check out Mr World – Brazil’s Facebook page for that video…

COMING UP:  THE RED TEAM plus the “Fearful” Forecast