The finals of this edition of Miss Universe reminds me of the buzz about the shape of one of the delegates, an early favorite from a pageant powerhouse–it has expanded from the usual two-hour program to a three-hour program, but despite the obviously added heft, the program in my opinion went better than one might expect.  I’ll provide more details in my full-fledged review of this pageant.

I got nine out of 15 correct–most of the ones I didn’t get were in my “Bubbling Under” list, with the exception of one in my “Striking Distance” list.  There is really no headscratcher in the actual Top 15, and there are great justifications why the final roster made the cut.

The one I pegged in my “Striking Distance” list was Indonesia (Elvira Devinamira), as I thought lookswise she wasn’t quite up to snuff albeit she is polished.  Yet I don’t object at all to her placement because I love her web interview–she’s a great communicator with a spitfire personality, and she has a lot of interesting things to share and say.

Miss Indonesia (Elvira Devinamira)

As much as I’m generally satisfied with the Top 15, there is a tinge of sadness that two of my sentimental favorites failed to make the cut:  Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova) and Singapore (Rathi Menon).  Both were to my eyes revelations during the Presentation Show, but it seems the powers-that-be were not as impressed as I was with them.

Sentimental Favorites:  Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova) and Singapore (Rathi Menon)
Sentimental Favorites: Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova) and Singapore (Rathi Menon)

Following Miss Earth 2014, I also feel sad that this year there was no dark-complexioned delegate who made the final cut–sure there is a lady with African roots who made it, but her complexion is very light, which is also similar to what happened at Miss Earth–the difference is the light-complexioned girl with African descent here went much further.  Ironically, it’s the two ladies with Indian heritage that have darker complexions than the girl with African descent…  Anyway I’ll pay tribute to the efforts exerted by Guyana (Niketa Barker) and South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa) as they probably did their very best but just fell a bit short in the eyes of the preliminary judges and the powers-that-be.

Fell short:  Black standouts Guyana (Niketa Barker) and South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa)
Fell short: Black standouts Guyana (Niketa Barker) and South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa)

Now, who’s the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award?  Though I’m tempted to select either Czech Republic or Guyana, there wasn’t as much hype about them being shoo-ins even if they were commended for their performances.  I’ll probably hand this to two Latinas who almost every pageant fan and pundit felt delivered stellar performances at the Presentation Shows that they were hyped as shoo-ins:  Dominican Republic (Kimberly Castillo) and Mexico (Josselyn Garciglia).  I think in both cases, just like in the case of my sentimental favorites and the sterling black performers, it’s just simply close, but not cigar.

Ruth Ocumarez Awardees:  Dominican Republic (Kimberly Castillo) and Mexico (Josselyn Garciglia)
Ruth Ocumarez Awardees: Dominican Republic (Kimberly Castillo) and Mexico (Josselyn Garciglia)

Now, about the final outcome–well, at least I got three of the five finalists right, though I’m still slightly upset that my favorite to win it all, Spain (Desiree Cordero), didn’t make the Final Five.  I’ll probably give her the Melinda Bam award, as the big favorite who missed out of Top FIve despite a stellar performance.  I also thought that the booing after the name of the fourth runner-up was announced was justified, because this classy lady, in my reckoning, deserved to be among the final two standing, or even win it all.  More on that in my full-fledged review.

Melinda Bam awardee: Spain (Desiree Cordero)

But what about the winner?  Actually, despite my misgivings about what she answered in the question and answer rounds, if we base it in terms of looks, her win is justifiable, even if I disagree with it.  Anyway I respect the choice of the judges and congratulate Miss Colombia (Paulina Vega) for her victory.  It’s been a long time coming for Colombia to finally notch that second victory.



The new Miss Universe, Paulina Vega of Colombia.

All images courtesy of Miss Universe LP, LLLP unless otherwise indicated.

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