Though I personally would’ve preferred to see Costa Rica and Puerto Rico to advance to the Top 10, I don’t have serious objections to the ladies who actually made the cut. Just like last year, several pageant fans and pundits (including myself) thought one lady in this group would be the one to win it all, but again was foiled for whatever reason. And I’m glad after an absence of 30 years, one very familiar nation advanced once again (and I thought should’ve even gone further).
INDIA – Manasi Moghe. She is clearly far superior than her predecessor, that is why I’m glad she made the cut. But I personally thought Puerto Rico and Costa Rica’s figures were way better than hers, but I think the telecast judges find her spellbinding enough that even if her figure is not as toned, they let her through. She was also solid in the evening gown round, but she was clearly overshadowed by the other finalists out there.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Yaritza Reyes. Well, there has to be a black girl in the mix, though I thought this year that would’ve been Israel (come to think of it, this year there is no semifinalist from the African continent…). Still, this lady is undeniably attractive though I felt her presentation show performance was disappointing. But apparently Trump & Co. preferred this lady over the stunner from Israel so she made the cut. She does have merits especially with her masses of curls. But though her finals night evening gown was I think an improvement over her very 1990s number, it’s still the weakest among the Top 10 as it’s too provocative for comfort–really, exposed front with strategically-placed circle embroidery? So…hoochie. Yet, if the You Be the Judge scores are to be believed, she outscored the Philippines in that number?
GREAT BRITAIN – Amy Willerton. This country has been a steadfast participant in this pageant, even going back to the days when it was split to its three constituent countries (England, Wales, and Scotland) from 1953 to 1990. Yet, it has not made the final cut since England made 4th runner-up 30 years ago (Helen Upton came close in 1991 when she ranked 11th, but they were selecting only 10 semifinalists at that time). Glad that this lady broke that very long drought. Besides a sexy blonde bombshell vibe, she has a buffed figure that made her worthy of advancing further. It’s a good thing she changed her evening gown from her very busy presentation show number, and she was va-va-voom sexy in that red sheath gown. I thought she could make it all the way to the Top Five and supposedly if only evening gown scores are to be considered, she actually ranked 5th. But since this year’s system supposedly averaged the swimsuit and gown scores (and she was 6th in swimsuit, though I thought she should’ve outranked the one who reportedly scored 5th in that round), her average score only made her 8th place overall. Hope she serves as a beginning of a renaissance for her country.
UKRAINE – Olga Storozhenko. I thought she got what it takes to win it all, and she was strong at both swimsuit and evening gown. Sure she was subdued compared to the flashier catwalk divas out there but I thought she still held her own with her serene, ice queen presence. I suppose that subdued presence in swimsuit was the key to her downfall, as she was reportedly in a tie for 7th place with India and Ecuador in that round. She actually made up for lost ground in the evening gown round and was reportedly ranked 4th, and if the system in place in 2008-2010 was used this year, she would’ve advanced to the finals. Even if she got to make the Top Five using that system, I know she is not likely to win as the telecast judges had their eyes on a couple of more highly favored ladies.
U S A – Erin Brady. Well, she’s undeniably pretty and polished, but if the telecast scores as supposedly released by the You Be the Judge app is to be believed, I don’t think she deserved a 5th place showing in swimsuit and 6th place in gown. I thought Great Britain should’ve outranked her in swimsuit, and her red gown has a bit of the “hoochie” factor that befell Dominican Republic’s gown (just too provocatively low-cut), so I think she should’ve ranked lower than, say, Brazil and Philippines. But as it is, the telecast judges are a bit patriotic to rank her a tad higher than she ought to, though I have to agree that she didn’t deserve to advance further than her Top 10 showing.
COMING UP: THE TOP FIVE