PUERTO RICO – Jimmy Perez. Considering he has a great track record thus far as he was 3rd runner-up in last year’s Manhunt International (amidst a bevy of steamy hot contenders), I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make the final cut and even going far. He may not be my type, but his boyish Latino appeal may work its charm on this pageant, too.
RUSSIA – Maksim Sorochinskiy. Actually, he’s good looking even if he’s on the skinny side. But he just doesn’t have that star quality that would make him stand out in this group of contestants.
SINGAPORE – Edwin Heng. To be blunt, I don’t see anything distinctive or memorable about his features, though he has undeniable merits. If I were a judge I wouldn’t really consider him in serious contention for the finals, but well, since this is a pageant that was originated and conceptualized in Singapore, he may be considered in contention.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Michal Gajdošech. Prior to his arrival in Indonesia, pageant fans and pundits salivate at him especially his modeling pics and regard him as a front-runner. His buzz dimmed somewhat as he set foot in Indonesia, but his smoldering sex appeal (with his pouty lips) remain undeniable.
SLOVENIA – Jure Rugani. Here is another pre-arrival favorite whose buzz dimmed when he set foot in Indonesia. He’s still in strong contention of making the final cut, but his features may be a bit too long and angular for comfort at times. In some ways he reminds me of a skinnier version of HGTV’s Color Splash host David Bromstad.
SOUTH AFRICA – Pubern Padayachee. To his credit, he looks better than when he represented Lesotho at last year’s Manhunt International. Still, he is nowhere in contention of making the final cut.
SPAIN – Adrian Gallardo. There are pageant fans and pundits who would regard him as a front-running contender for this contest. But there is something about his features that read to me like a slimy Mediterranean playboy that as much as he is undeniably good-looking, my gut is feeling that he might miss the final cut. There is a side of me that hopes that my gut instinct is wrong.
SRI LANKA – Brayan Livera. Though there are two brown-skinned competitors from Africa, the one with the darkest complexion is from this Asian country. He is not conventionally handsome, but he exudes sex appeal and has a more Bollywood-style charisma than this year’s actual representative from India. His unique features may be a major standout factor that he could make the final cut.
THAILAND – Woraphop Klaisang. He seems a hybrid of this year’s representatives from Malaysia and Singapore. He is like a clone of Mister Singapore that is infused with Mister Malaysia’s boyish cuteness. He can be another worthwhile semifinalist contender.
TURKEY – Ufuk Değer. He exudes a sexy, manly charisma that I consider him a front-runner for this year’s pageant. He reminds me of ageless actor Dylan McDermott.
U S A – Jeremy Wyatt Akin. Well, he’s a clear stand out in terms of hair color, as he’s the only light blond in this year’s group. He looks great in his L-Men official photos, but otherwise he’s rather plain.
VENEZUELA – José Anmer Paredes. Well, he’s swarthy and we’ve seen better Venezuelans compete in international male pageants, but he has undeniable strong merits and good looks that he is also likely to make the final cut.
Images courtesy of L-Men/Mister International and Julio Rodriguez for Belleza Venezolana unless otherwise indicated.
Now that all 38 contestants are accounted for, as is customary I shall trot out my Leaderboard:
TOP CONTENDERS: CHILE, CZECH REPUBLIC, MEXICO, TURKEY
SHOO-INS: BELGIUM, BRAZIL, INDONESIA, PERU, PUERTO RICO, VENEZUELA
LIKELIEST: COSTA RICA, EL SALVADOR, ITALY, KOREA, LEBANON, MALAYSIA, NEW ZEALAND, PANAMA, PHILIPPINES, SINGAPORE, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, THAILAND
EXCELLENT: CANADA, CHINA
VERY STRONG: BOLIVIA, COLOMBIA
STRONG: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GREECE, MADAGASCAR
VERY GOOD: RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, U S A
GOOD: INDIA, MACAU
Now, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP SIX: BELGIUM, CHILE, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, MEXICO, TURKEY
TOP TEN: BRAZIL, PERU, PUERTO RICO, SLOVAK REPUBLIC
TOP 16: INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, SINGAPORE, SLOVENIA, SRI LANKA, VENEZUELA
BUBBLING UNDER: EL SALVADOR, ITALY, KOREA, LEBANON, MALAYSIA, NEW ZEALAND, PANAMA, SPAIN, THAILAND
STRIKING DISTANCE; CANADA, CHINA
All I really wish is that there will be no head-scratching choices in this year’s pageant unlike last year (even if the winner was undeniably top-notch). Let’s see if a satisfying outcome unfolds in this year’s pageant.