PANAMA – Carolina Brid. She is a strong contender, and is a possible sleeper possibility for the semifinals. She may not be heavily buzzed about, but do not count her out.
PARAGUAY – Guadalupe Gonzalez. When she won her national pageant, pageant fans and pundits believed she can vindicate Egni Eckert’s shut-out. Though she performed strongly in the Presentation Show, she is overshadowed by stellar performers like Bolivia, Nicaragua, Panama, and the like.
PERU – Cindy Mejia. She may not be conventionally pretty, but she makes the most of what she has, to the point that she could be within striking distance of making the final cut.
PHILIPPINES – Ariella Arida. With the victories of Mutya Datul and Megan Young, Filipino pageant fans and pundits have a fervent hope that Ariella can deliver the elusive third win for our nation. To her credit, she makes the most of her unconventional beauty and until the evening gown round of the Presentation Show, she looked flawless. I don’t really expect her to win it all, but I’ll be very pleased as long as she lands the semifinals. In the evening gown round of the Presentation Show, I have issues with her styling–it looked like a tied-up version of Mexico’s Anagabriela Espinoza’s “Little Lulu” hairstyle at Miss World 2008. There were photos of the dress rehearsal prior to the Presentation Show where she wore her hair straight, and that was the tack she should’ve taken (or maybe tie it in the style she sported when she won Binibining Pilipinas earlier this year). It seems she could be assured of making the final cut as if she misses the preliminary judges’ list or a Trump Ticket, as there is an ongoing popular vote that she could tap to make it.
POLAND – Paulina Krupińska. Pageant fans and pundits (including myself) have rated her as a front-runner, as she does have standout looks (in my reckoning, she resembles Miss World 2013 1st runner-up Marine Lorphelin) She did deliver the goods in the Presentation Show, but there were stellar performances from the likes of Brazil and Puerto Rico that overshadowed her. Still, she can sustain the semifinalist placement of her predecessor last year, at least.
PUERTO RICO – Monic Perez. She is a highly regarded delegate, but she became a possible front-runner thanks to her sensational Presentation Show performance, particularly the evening gown round where she shimmered brightly in a yellow satin number.
ROMANIA – Roxana Andrei. She stands out with her frizzy mass of curls, but otherwise she’s at most a middling contender.
RUSSIA – Elmira Abdrazakova. I have to concede she performs well enough to justify getting a semifinals placement, but in my opinion (and several pageant fans and pundits), there are better performers out there. Still, we can concede that she’s likely a shoo-in even if others are more justifiable choices.
SERBIA – Ana Vrcelj. She isn’t bad looking, and she had solid stage chops, but she is performing below par to be in serious consideration for the semifinals.
SINGAPORE – Shi Lim. I’m surprised in her “Truth and Dare” video as she doesn’t speak English with a “Singlish” accent–it sounded very American. She’s attractive, but her performance during the Presentation Show was not that memorable.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Jeanette Borhyová. Both she and Slovenia are blondes, and sometimes it might be hard to tell them apart. The only key is that this girl is not as polished as her Slovenian counterpart.
SLOVENIA – Nina Đurđević. She’s the prettier, more polished one in the confusing “Slovakia-Slovenia” pair this year. But her performance, though solid, is more of a P.A.T.I.S. level, so it is a distant possibility she can duplicate the feat back in 2007.
SOUTH AFRICA – Marilyn Ramos. When she won her national pageant, many pageant fans and pundits felt she is a mediocre let-down compared to her predecessor, newly-installed pageant director Melinda Bam. But as proven in her Miss World stint, she actually had a good fight in her, proving to be a great balance of polished presentation and great personality. She particularly made a great impression in the evening gown round with her tuxedo-style black velvet gown–it does bring forth memories of Lu Parker’s number back in Miss Universe 1994–she worked it wonderfully and was impeccably styled. Sure there were some pageant fans and pundits who weren’t fond of Lu Parker and may find her too mature for comfort, but whatever the final outcome, Marilyn proved she is a contender worth reckoning with.
SPAIN – Patricia Yurena Rodriguez. Ever since her stint in Miss World 2008, this lady makes waves with her gorgeous, dusky looks–she reminds me of Miss Teen USA 1998 and now TV personality Vanessa Lachey (nee Minnillo). Many pageant fans and pundits rated her as the one to beat for the crown, and she does deliver consistently on her status, but I have a feeling she will not really clinch the final crown but will rank very high, probably making all the way to the FInal Five.
SRI LANKA – Amanda Rathnayake. Everything about her is just raw, so it is unlikely she is in serious consideration of making the final cut.
COMING UP: SWEDEN to VIETNAM plus the “Fearful” Forecast