PANAMA – Gladys Brandao Amaya. Her face might be on the “exotic” side, but she delivered a strong performance–the entire “P” group (countries whose names begin with the letter “P”) was particularly cutthroat and competitive. Arguably, she’s the weakest link in this fierce group.
PARAGUAY – Myriam Árevalos. Her face may not be conventionally pretty, but she can deliver a presentation with a lot of panache and flair–so much so that many pageant fans and pundits thought she ought to be a Top 15 shoo-in. But the preliminary judges didn’t seem to think so…
PERU – Laura Spoya. See PARAGUAY. I was betting this Miss International 2010 semifinalist would make the final cut, but well, the preliminary judges seem to prefer a few others to advance over this lady. Some pageant fans felt bad that she reportedly threw shade at the actual winner (who came immediately after her alphabetically), but well, I just have to respect that she’s entitled to her own opinion.
POLAND – Weronika Szmajdzinska. She’s pretty, she’s got a trim figure, and her long-sleeved green gown has a provocatively sexy appeal. She delivered a semifinals-worthy performance, but with around 40 others who performed at such a high level, it is sad she had to miss the cut.
PORTUGAL – Emilia Araújo. She resembles Miss Universe 1986 from Venezuela, Barbara Palacios, albeit not as sleek and glamorous. She’s arguably the best representative fielded by this country in this pageant, but well, with such a sterling quality of contestants she couldn’t get a standout edge.
PUERTO RICO – Catalina Morales Gòmez. We’ve seen more stunning representatives from this country than this lady, but she’s still an extremely polished competitor. Her less-than-conventional beauty may work in other years, but not in a year like this.
RUSSIA – Vladislava Yevtushenko. TVLine’s Michael Slezak in one of his Reality Check videos mentions about “resting bitch-face”. I think this lady, albeit pretty, defines that description–she doesn’t seem to smile, and her eyebrows are in a perpetual frown. She deserves props as she is a polished contender and in a less competitive year would make serious inroads–but that frown-y face may be the factor that may have prevented her from advancing further.
SERBIA – Daša Radosavljević. She’s good-looking, but she was a little raw all throughout her stint that she was clearly outclassed by many contenders.
SINGAPORE – Lisa Marie White. Just like Malaysia, she’s one of the weakest links in an extremely formidable Asian contingent. She gave a couple of even-handed accounts of the coronation fracas that I respect and salute and shows a thoughtful, intelligent lady.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Denisa Vysnovska. Based on what was announced by Presentation Show hosts Nick Teplitz and Paulina Vega, it seems Denisa designed her own gown–a blue old-fashioned ballgown that I actually find interesting even if most would dismiss it as “frumpy”. I wonder if her pageant had limited resources as Denisa seems to love this gown so much, she also used it as her national costume–she just added accessories to make it so. I actually like her and find her better looking than her Czech counterpart.
SPAIN – Carla García Barber. She placed 8th back in Miss World 2011. Just like Miss Italy, she was unable to translate her successful foray at Miss World into a placement at Miss Universe. There are some pageant fans and pundits who may note that her features may be too strong for their tastes, but I think she worked those features well. She also caused a stir in her national costume as she portrayed two genders–the male part is supposed to invoke the tale of Don Quixote (composed by Spanish author Cervantes in the 1600s), I’m not sure what the female half was supposed to depict. It’s an abstract concept that polarized pageant fans and pundits. Whatever the case, I still hold high respect for her–it’s just that this batch is just too strong that several worthy contenders would have to be cut.
SWEDEN – Paulina Brodd. She is noted for her pedigree as her mom is Monika Brodd, who competed in Miss Universe 1992 and became a Top 10 semifinalist. Unlike her mom, she came to this pageant prepared and polished, and she made a great impression during the Presentation Show that I thought she could make the final cut–I mean pedigree worked with her counterpart at this year’s Mister International, and I thought it would also work for her. The preliminary judges obviously had other ideas, but I still salute her as she gave a great fight and delivered dashes of pizzazz and flair that we normally don’t see in contestants from her country.
TANZANIA – Lorraine Marriot. It was a neck-to-neck battle between this lady and Miss South Africa on who would become the “African-Most-Likely”. She delivered a polished performance that one should take into serious consideration, but it seems the preliminary panel gave the edge to South Africa. Again, still we have to salute her for her dignified, polished performance.
TURKEY – Melisa Uzun. I find her refreshing and radiant with a much stronger stage presence than a typical representative from this country. She’s clearly leagues better than, say, Çağıl Özge Özkul, the last representative from her country to make the final cut.
UKRAINE – Anna Vergelskaya. She is a polished contestant, but there is something about her features that reminds me of two Donatellas–a younger version of designer Donatella Versace, and famous New York restaurateur Donatella Arpaia. She is one of the oldest contestants in this pageant, and perhaps what prevented her from matching the feat of her predecessor Miss Universe 2014 2nd runner-up Diana Harkusha is that the maturity shows.
URUGUAY – Bianca Sanchez. This country has been inconsistent in this pageant as of late but this lady is one of the better ones fielded to this pageant. She is polished, though she is edged out by stronger contenders out there.
RUTH OCUMAREZ AWARD: VIETNAM – Pham Thi Huong. Many pageant fans and pundits raved about her charisma, and I agree with them. I also thought she competed with all cylinders running that I was presuming she will be giving our Pia a run for her money. But in a big upset, she missed the cut. I don’t quite understand why, as I find her superior to, say, Indonesia and Japan. So I have no choice but to give the Ruth Ocumarez Award to this lady.
Prior to posting my review of the telecast, I’ll trot out the “fearful” forecast that I posted on Facebook, as follows:
TOP THREE: COLOMBIA, PHILIPPINES, U S A
TOP FIVE: VENEZUELA, VIETNAM
TOP TEN: AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, THAILAND
TOP 15: GEORGIA, INDIA, ITALY, PERU, SWEDEN
BUBBLING UNDER: ANGOLA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, CHILE, CHINA, CURACAO, DENMARK, ECUADOR, FINLAND, GHANA, GREAT BRITAIN, HAITI, INDONESIA, IRELAND, JAMAICA, JAPAN, KOREA, KOSOVO, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS; NEW ZEALAND, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, TANZANIA, TURKEY
STRIKING DISTANCE: ALBANIA, BAHAMAS, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, GREECE, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, MYANMAR, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, UKRAINE, URUGUAY.