JAMAICA – Kaci Fennell. The first thing observers noticed about her is her resemblance to superstar singer Alicia Keys–and this lady is well aware of that, even gamely singing the chorus to Alicia’s recent hit “Girl on Fire” in a news clip. She actually did a better job than she thought she did. She exudes a stellar presence and delivered the goods during the Presentation Show, so she could be one of those to watch out for as a possible crown contender. Yes, it’s possible for her to outdo Yendi Phillips’ stellar 1st runner-up finish in 2010.
JAPAN – Keiko Tsuji. She’s competing at a high level, though she’s still a far cry from those days when Ines Legron was at a helm.
KAZAKHSTAN – Aiday Issayeva. She’s great looking and polished. I would rate her a worthwhile contender.
KENYA – Gaylyne Ayugi. The first thing that comes to mind when you look at her is Academy Award winner and style icon Lupita Nyong’o. We all dream that she could channel Lupita’s luminous presence, but it’s obvious this girl is rather raw in that department–so I tend to think of her as Lupita’s countryside cousin. Still, a Trump Ticket may be in order for her to make the cut…
KOREA – Ye Bin Yoo. She’s a pretty girl, just like the slew of representatives from the 1990s to the early 2000s. But like those representatives, though she presented herself well enough, we don’t expect her to make the final cut. Would she be luckier if she joined Project Runway? She’s the third delegate in this group who reported she’s an aspiring fashion designer–it would be nice to see how she’ll fare alongside Misses Ethiopia and Ghana.
KOSOVO – Artnesa Krasniqi. This lady can easily play the part of Snow White with her jet black tresses, alabaster complexion, and bright red lips. But as pretty as she is, she falls short in terms of having a toned figure and her catwalk skills leave much to be desired.
LEBANON – Saly Greige. I liked this girl and hoped she fared better than she did at Miss World. But watching the video interview and most shots taken of her in Doral, and I found the reason why–she tends to be too meek and prefers to simply blend in the background. Sure she came to prominence because Miss Israel photobombed her shot with Mz. Slovenia and Japan, forcing her to make a requisite statement denouncing Miss Israel’s actions (because, well, as a Lebanese citizen, you can be arrested for having a photograph together with anyone from Israel since Lebanon is still in a long, protracted conflict with that country). That meekness was in full display in the Presentation Show. Only a possible Trump Ticket could help her make the cut.
LITHUANIA – Patricija Belousova. She is the best representative ever fielded by this Baltic country to this pageant. A pageant-loving officemate of mine declared she looks like Nicole Kidman. I first didn’t get it until my officemate pointed out when he covered her mouth and I finally saw the resemblance. I then reviewed her web interview and it dawned on me she is channeling the film Moulin Rouge, as she looked exactly like Nicole Kidman’s Satine in that film. On top of that, Patricija’s ballroom dancing background help her project well onstage. A Lithuanian breakthrough into the semifinals is highly conceivable.
MALAYSIA – Sabrina Bennett. She’s continuing in a long line of quality delegates fielded by this country during this decade, though as much as she actually delivered a commendable performance, I would not expect her to make the final cut and the 45-year-old drought will continue.
MAURITIUS – Pallavi Gungaram. She’s good looking, but obviously raw, her figure not as buffed, and hampered by an amateurishly designed red gown.
MEXICO – Josselyn Garciglia. There are better looking standouts out there, but this lady made her presence felt onstage as she delivered a sensational performance during the Presentation Show. It looks like she has secured a placement in the semifinals after the debacle that was her predecessor.
MYANMAR – Sharr Htut Eaindra. This is one of those rare times that I would say this–this girl could benefit from training from Gouldian and Missosology–if her countrywomen competing in other pageants availed of it, why not her? As she is, she’s raw and is one of the weakest links in the Asian contingent.
NETHERLANDS – Yasmin Verheijen. There are pageant fans and pundits who are enamored of her and felt she deserves to be a top contender. I’m not totally in her bandwagon, but I do see obvious merits–she does have an exotic vibe, as she’s a mix of European, Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese (the Indian side is most prominent from what I’m seeing). Yes, she did compete at a high level, so it is highly conceivable she’ll make the final cut.
NEW ZEALAND – Rachel Millns. She’s attractive, but raw, and also saddled with a disastrous red satin gown.
NICARAGUA – Marline Barberena. She’s performing at P.A.T.I.S. crew level, except for the fact that she speaks excellent English (as judging from her web interview). But between excellent English-speaking Latinas, I’ll be placing my bets on Ecuador over her.
COMING UP: NIGERIA to SOUTH AFRICA