JAPAN – Yukimi Matsuo. She is not a conventional beauty, but she is actually a worthwhile contender. My only issue is that she is uncomfortably skinny, the same issue with…
KAZAKHSTAN – Aygerim Kozhakanova. This lady is attractive, but her skinny frame made me worry–is it natural genes, or something unhealthy? She’s able to camouflage it in gowns, though.
KOREA – Kim Yu-Mi. Korean pageant contestants either are bland and lacking personality, or those with spunk, drive, and charisma. This lady fits the latter, and she makes a convincing case for herself during the Presentation Show. Will there be room for her in the Top 16?
LEBANON – Karen Ghrawi. Unlike her stint in Miss World, she at least has a bit more breathing room before flying into this pageant. She is attractive, but not competing at a level that would put her into serious contention into the finals.
LITHUANIA – Simona Burbaite. She could’ve been considered as a member of the P.A.T.I.S. crew, if it weren’t for the black, ill-fitting gown she sported during the Presentation Show, which Nick Verreos compared to a garbage bag. It’s such a waste as she’s otherwise competitive, and she was charming in her “Truth and Dare” video.
MALAYSIA – Karen Ng. This lady could be regarded as another more-than-worthwhile contender (albeit admittedly weaker than her past two predecessors). She has a very likeable personality and strong communication skills, and I have a feeling she will blossom outside the pageant world and become a top TV presenter. It’s so frustrating that Malaysia has not made the final cut in over 43 years despite the recent streak of stunners.
MAURITIUS – Diya Beeltah. She’s attractive, but she just doesn’t have spark or charisma to make serious inroads into the finals.
MEXICO – Cynthia Duque. Some people were alarmed by the early hotel lobby swimsuit photos as she seemed out-of-shape in them. But it turns out it probably was simply bad angles (or otherwise she went on a crash diet and secret workout regimen in Moscow) as she was in good shape in the Presentation Show. Still, it is unlikely that she will make the final cut as she’s one of the least attractive delegates sent by this otherwise pageant powerhouse to this pageant.
MYANMAR – Moe Set Wine. It’s nice to see this country back in this pageant after a 53-year absence. This lady is a worthwhile contender, even if I have quibbles that her figure is a bit too skinny and untoned for comfort. I find her name fun, as it could be a brand of wine (I can confuse it with a Moet and Chandon, for instance).
NAMIBIA – Paulina Malulu. I find it interesting that like Miss Botswana, this lady’s costume is of a Western style instead of an indigenous tribal style that we would typically expect. She is undeniably a good communicator as we have witnessed back in last year’s Miss International. Now, it is likely that she will have the same outcome she had in Miss World, missing the final cut.
NETHERLANDS – Stephanie Tency. She could’ve been a worthwhile contender (or even have an inside track to the semifinals) if it weren’t for her raw stage skills. I also hate that blue-leotard national costume–what the hell is that supposed to represent?
NEW ZEALAND – Michelle Cassidy. In my opinion, she’s another member of the P.A.T.I.S. crew.
NICARAGUA – Nastassja Bolivar. After the Presentation Show, pageant fans and pundits took notice of her, and she is a possible contender for the semifinals. It seems the stage is indeed a good friend of hers, as proven from both the Presentation Show and the National Costume competition, which she won by striking fierce poses while wearing an ornately elaborate peacock-themed Mayan costume.
NIGERIA – Stephanie Okwu. We still lament and wonder where are the Agbani Daregos and Chinenye Ochubas, as this lady is clearly out of their league. Still, I find her black evening gown with bejewelled neckpiece very interesting. But her hairstyle in the swimsuit round is an EEEEEK!!! moment.
NORWAY – Mari Chauhan Ekelof. She does have striking eyes befitting her Indian descent, but her features are generally not considered attractive–she reminds me of abrasive comedian Sandra Bernhard. Worsening matters are her weak stage skills.
COMING UP: PANAMA to SRI LANKA