Well, again Miss Earth was held outdoors in the posh Versailles Palace in Alabang, and the stage setting improved with two pool catwalks installed instead of one last year. Still the venue is not quite an ideal setup for a major pageant in my opinion, though they made the most of it. It is notable that even if they decided to use the 2009 format wherein all Top 16 were to compete in swimsuit and evening gowns, then a final question would be asked for the Final Eight before deciding who garners the four elements up for grabs, they actually finished the entire proceedings with over 10 minutes to spare of the two hour alloted time.
My forecast improved somewhat from last year, as I got eight this time, but this time there are no real headscratchers–each one who made the final cut were on the radar. The five of the eight I didn’t get were in my “Bubbling Under” list, and three of them were “Striking Distance”. It could be said that the likes of Chile (Natalia Lermanda), Mauritius (Virginie Dorza), China (Lisa Xiang), and USA (Nicole Velez) could be viewed as pleasant surprises, and they all went onstage proving that their placements in this hallowed group are justifiable.
Now, who is the “Ruth Ocumarez” awardee? Just like the way Miss Earth awards medals, I’ll break it down into gold, silver, and bronze. Bronze medalist would be India (Sobhita Dhulipala), silver would be Brazil (Priscilla Martins), and gold would be Ukraine (Anastasia Sukh).
Anyway, I’m glad to see vindication for the likes of Thailand (Punika Kulsoontornroot) and Turkey (Ezgi Avci) as they both made the cut this year, and just as I feared, the Philippines (Angelee de los Reyes) paid a price for the high placements of her two much-criticized predecessors as she was shut out of an element this year, though at least she made the Top Eight. It’s also a bit refreshing that the “Elemental Triumvirate” (Brazil, Philippines, and Venezuela) was broken, with only one member garnering an element, though I have to note that even if Brazil itself did not make the final cut, it is represented with the half-Brazilian girl representing Korea (Catherine Choi) who garnered Miss Earth-Fire, and I have a gnawing feeling the girl from Austria (Katia Wagner) who garnered Miss Earth-Air might have Filipino blood in her veins–there is something about her features that made me think she’s Eurasian, which we prize in these shores. Anyway, the results for me are fair and justifiable–more details as I compose the full-fledged review (most likely to be released after my Miss International homestretch next week). The winner from Venezuela (Alyz Heinrich) always exuded charisma whenever she appears, and she is always very confident when she speaks, even when having to deal with botched translations. It’s nice to see another gorgeous, babelicious winner for this pageant. The storm clouds on this pageant has dissipated, and it will carry on for years to come, as I see it.
All images courtesy of Melvin Sia for OPMB Worldwide and Carousel Productions.