SLOVAKIA – Laura Longauerová. She is arguably better-looking than her predecessor, but her predecessor made the shortlist in several challenge events and so far this lady has not. She is another Holly Carpenter Award nominee.
SLOVENIA – Julija Bizjak. I find her homely, and considering she didn’t figure in any challenge event, she is likely one of the cellar-dwellers in this pageant. The only thing that would redeem her from last place against Miss Sao Tome & Principe is that she will earn credits for at least taking part in the challenge events.
SOUTH AFRICA – Rolene Strauss. From the get-go, she’s the favorite to win it all, and she seems on track with a 3rd place finish in Sports, being a Top Ten Beauty with a Purpose finalist, Top Five in Beach Fashion, and Top 20 in Top Model. The only fear that the only obstacle that could prevent her from taking over Megan Young’s mantle was that fact that she’s white in a predominantly black continent, and Miss World these days seem more inclined to reward a black South African than a white one. South Africa has won two times before with a Caucasian lady, and although it might seem politically incorrect to reward a third with another Caucasian, this lady has convincingly proven she is the best looking and the best fit for the crown. Can they let merits prevail this time? Her project has a nice unique touch–helping African teenage girls continue schooling even when having their menstrual cycles (as these girls typically would skip school when that comes).
SRI LANKA – Chulakshi Ranathunga. See NEPAL, albeit more polished and a more model-like frame but without the possible lifeline provided by the Popular Vote.
SWEDEN – Olivia Asplund. When she won her national title, pageant fans and pundits didn’t really give her a second look and considered her only a worthwhile contender, at most. But it seems she is on track of securing a Top Ten finish as she made the Top Five in both Beach Fashion and Talent. Her talent is actually figure skating, which may explain why she was not announced in the charity gala among the talent finalists, as the charity gala doesn’t have the props to allow her to skate.
TANZANIA – Happiness Watimanya. She made the shortlist for Beauty with a Purpose and she’s better looking than her predecessor. But would that be enough for her to impact the Top 20? Or will she have to rely on the Popular Vote to make the cut?
THAILAND – Maeya Nonthawan Thongleng. She was highly hyped to go as far as Top Five, but so far her campaign seems to be a fizzle. Her consolation is that she’s a Top 15 Talent finalist, and she is hinging on the Popular Vote to help her salvage her campaign. Can the Thai internet pageant fans rally to her cause?
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Sarah Jane Waddell. She is a good-looking, polished contender from this Caribbean nation–albeit atypical as she’s Caucasian. She made the cut in the Sports challenge, but not much else since then.
TURKEY – Amine Gülşe. She made the shortlist in both Sports and Top Model, so it’s possible she can make the Top 20.
UGANDA – Leah Kalanguka. There might be some people who might dig her exotic features, but thus far she has not made any impression on any challenge event.
UNITED STATES – Elizabeth Safrit. I suppose to reward the fact that she came from a proper pageant (instead of being handpicked by an agency), she has been rewarded with strong placements in the challenge events–she made the shortlist in Sports, and is a Top Five finalist in both Talent and Multimedia. She has a similar talent with Miss Russia–she’s a ballerina, specializing in en pointe ballet (ballet emphasizing the ability to stay in tip-toes). Looks bound for the Top Ten, and maybe even Top Five.
URUGUAY – Romina Fernandez Sellanes. See SLOVENIA.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Aniska Tonge. She tends to look a tad too mature for her age, and if you see her World Designer Dress photo below, she looked matronly. It’s not surprising why she failed to figure in any of the challenge events.
VENEZUELA – Debora Menicucci. For most pageant fans and pundits, this lady would be the hands-down winner of the Holly Carpenter Award. She looks better than when she won her national title, but I’m not surprised why the powers-that-be are simply not that into her–she’s just too polished for their comfort.
ZIMBABWE – Tendai Hunda. She was among the Top 20 shortlisted for Top Model. But would that be enough for her to end up with a Top 20 finish?
With all members of the Blue Team all accounted for, here’s my leaderboard for this team:
TOP CONTENDER: SOUTH AFRICA
SHOO-INS: AUSTRALIA, RUSSIA, SCOTLAND, SWEDEN, UNITED STATES
LIKELIEST: NAMIBIA, NORTHERN IRELAND, NORWAY, PARAGUAY, PUERTO RICO, SEYCHELLES, TANZANIA, THAILAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, TURKEY, ZIMBABWE
EXCELLENT: MYANMAR, PERU, POLAND, SLOVAKIA, VENEZUELA
VERY STRONG: NEW ZEALAND
STRONG: NEPAL, SRI LANKA, UGANDA
VERY GOOD: U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
FAIR: SLOVENIA, URUGUAY