Monthly Archives: December 2015

MISS UNIVERSE 2015: NON-FINALISTS’ REVIEW (CONCLUSION)

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.

PAN

PAN U

debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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…

PAR

PAR U

Myriam Arevalos, Miss Paraguay 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

PER

PER U

Laura Spoya, Miss Peru 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

POL

POL U

Miss Universe 2015

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.

POR

POR U

Emília Araújo, Miss Portugal 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

Miss Universe 1986 Barbara Palacios (image sourced from twitter profile)

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.

PUR

PUR U

Catalina Morales, Miss Puerto Rico 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

RUS

RUS U

Vladislava Evtushenko, Miss Russia 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

SRB

SRB U

Daša Radosavljević, Miss Serbia 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

SIN

SIN U

Lisa Marie White, Miss Singapore 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

SVK

SVK U

Miss Universe 2015

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.

ESP

ESP U

Miss Universe 2015

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.

SWE

SWE U

Paulina Brodd, Miss Sweden 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

TAN

TAN U

Lorraine Marriot, Miss Tanzania 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

TUR

TUR U

Melisa Uzun, Miss Turkey 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

UKR

UKR U

Anna Vergelskaya, Miss Ukraine 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

Donatellas
The two Donatellas: Donatella Versace (L) (image courtesy of Richard Young for Rex Shutterstock) and Donatella Arpaia (R) (image sourced from Popsugar.com)

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.

URU

URU U

Bianca Sanchez, Miss Uruguay 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

VIE

VIE U

Huong Pham, Miss Vietnam 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

MISS UNIVERSE 2015: NON-FINALISTS’ REVIEW (PART 3)

IRELAND – Joanna Cooper.  She makes me recall Harry Potter star Emma Watson if she decides to dye her hair platinum blonde.  There was some talk that she might make the final cut as reportedly the Chi makeup artists love attending to her.  In my reckoning she’s a strong performer onstage, though I find her figure a bit uncomfortably skinny–not quite the Alyssa-Campanella-at-Miss-Universe-2011 look, but the closest thing to it.

IRL

IRL U

Joanna Cooper, Miss Ireland 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

Emma Watson (image courtesy of People.com)

ISRAEL – Avigail Alfatov.  She’s a pretty lady who made her presence felt by showcasing her fencing skills.  She also makes a good impression with her pretty ingenue face.  Yes, her figure may be thick for pageant standards but during the swimsuit round of the Presentation Show, she carried her heft well.  But she looked a tad bloated in the white evening gown she chose to wear.  Anyway, she garnered some compliments from Filipino fans post-coronation for one reason–she was one of those who came forward to congratulate the actual winner.  It’s also interesting to note I tend to think of her as a “twin” to the representative of a country that we all know is in an ongoing conflict with this country–more on her later…

ISR

ISR U

Miss Universe 2015

ITALY – Giada Pezzaioli.  This Miss World 2010 Top Seven finalist is arguably better here than in her previous go-round.  I thought she delivered a performance in the Presentation Show that would make her enter the final cut–but well, the preliminary judges did not favor her (along with another lady who had a successful stint at Miss World).

ITA

ITA U

Giada Pezzaioli, Miss Italy 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

JAMAICA – Sharlene Rädlein.  She is great looking and has potential to make serious inroads, and considering the pattern of this country’s stint in previous editions held in Vegas*, it supposedly should work in her favor.  Unfortunately despite having great looks, she doesn’t have the spark, drive or charisma to fulfill that pattern.

* 1991 – Top Six finalist; 1996 – non-finalist; 2010 – 1st runner-up; and 2012 – non-finalist.

JAM

JAM U

Miss Universe 2015

KOREA – Seo-yeon Kim.  Yes she’s a good-looking girl just like most of the representatives fielded by this country over the years.  But I notice a spark and drive in her that most of her predecessors (with the exception of Miss Universe 2007 3rd runner-up Honey Lee among a few others) lack.  There are just too many fierce Asians this year, and as commendable as she was during the Presentation Show, she was one of the unfortunate ones who had to be cut.

KOR

KOR U

Seoyeon Kim, Miss Korea 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

KOSOVO – Mirjeta Shala.  When she puts her bobbed hair down, she reminds me of burlesque artist Dita von Teese.  With her hair up, she makes people recall Miss Universe 2009 2nd runner-up Gona Dragusha, and after her evening gown performance during the Presentation Show, they were all abuzz and many believed she will advance to the Top 15.  Well, she was indeed sensational and worthy, but there are just so many other outstanding performances out there that it’s brutal that there are only such limited slots.

KOS

KOS U

Miss Universe 2015

Dita von Teese (image courtesy of Elle.com)
Miss Universe 2009 2nd runner-up Gona Dragusha

LEBANON – Cynthia Samuel.  I couldn’t help but compare and contrast her with Miss Israel, even if these two countries are at war.  Both are pretty blonde ladies with figures that are considered zaftig for pageant standards.  An interesting contrast during the Presentation Show was that while Israel looked trim in swimsuit and bloated in evening gown, this lady was the opposite–bloated in swimsuit, but trim in evening gown.  Another eerie coincidence is during the coronation brouhaha:  Filipino pageant fans credited her and Miss Israel and sent good vibes to them for coming forward onstage to congratulate the actual winner–not at the same moment, of course, but still we welcome their gestures.

LIB

LIB U

Cynthia Samuel, Miss Lebanon 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

MALAYSIA – Vanessa Tevi Kumares.  I don’t want to be negative, but among the wondrous Asians in this year’s batch, she’s one of the weakest links.  Still, I with the thousands of Filipino fans would send her love and good vibes for her being the first to step forward to congratulate the actual winner of this pageant.  We all know she felt the love and is very thankful for it.

MAS

MAS U

Vanessa Tevi Kumares, Miss Malaysia 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

MAURITIUS – Sheetal Khadun.  Yes, her facial features are angular, but I find it borderline attractive.  It’s such a shame she’s very raw (and was the only one to wear a one-piece swimsuit during the Presentation Show).

MRI

MRI U

Sheetal Khadun, Miss Mauritius 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

MONTENEGRO – Maja Čukić.  She has flattering pretty angles as shown in the Fadil Berisha glamour shots, but most of the time her features registered as plain.  Many Filipino pageant fans noted her angry reaction when the host had to make the “correction” announcement, and so it was natural she bore the consequence of their derision.  I don’t really condone the actions of the fans, but well, let the cards fall wherever they may…

MNE

MNE U

Maja Čukić, Miss Montenegro 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

MYANMAR – May Barani Thaw.  Amidst such a ferocious group of Asians this year, this lady is middle of the pack.  But she is Pia Wurtzbach’s friend and roommate.  With her supportive attitude during the coronation fracas, she garnered the love of the Filipino netizens.  I also have to note that somehow a bit of the Philippines spilled over to her, as during the evening gown round of the Presentation Show, she did a Miriam Quiambao and tripped and fell onstage.  Well, like Mirian Quiambao (and USA’s Krystle Stewart at the finals of Miss Universe 2008, for that matter) she quickly stood up and carried herself nicely after that fall.

MYA

MYA U

May Bayani Thaw, Miss Myanmar 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

NETHERLANDS – Jessie Jazz Vuijk.  Many pageant fans and pundits buzzed about her heavily and felt she was one most likely to make the cut.  Her buzz diminished a bit during the Presentation Show as she delivered a solid presentation as others came with guns blazing.  She kept up with them but not enough to secure her placement.

NED

NED U

Jessie Jazz Vuijk, Miss Netherlands 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

NEW ZEALAND – Samantha McClung.  She’s great looking, and I find her features very interesting and contrasting when she changes her lip color–when she went for nude lip color during the swimsuit round there was something about that look that transport me to the 1960s, while when she pile on the bright red lipstick for evening gown, she looked like a classic 1940s/1950s starlet.  I’m obsessed with the way she demonstrates how different you can look when you change your lip color.

NZL

NZL U

Samantha McClung, Miss New Zealand 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

NICARAGUA – Daniela Torres.  She stronger than the typical Nicaraguan bet fielded in this pageant but she’s just competing at P.A.T.I.S. level.

NCA

NCA U

Daniela Torres, Miss Nicaragua 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

NIGERIA – Debbie Collins.  Her height is listed as 5’8″ but she seems to have the proportions of a shorter girl.  There is something about the size of her pretty head in relation to the rest of her body and the length of her limbs that gave me an impression that she’s perhaps four inches shorter.

NGR

NGR U

Debbie Collins, Miss Nigeria 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

NORWAY – Martine Rodseth.  She’s attractive but not as polished compared to the majority of the ladies in this contest.

NOR

NOR U

Martine Rødseth, Miss Norway 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

All images courtesy of Miss Universe Organization unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  PANAMA to VIETNAM

MISS UNIVERSE 2015: NON-FINALISTS’ REVIEW (PART 2)

DENMARK – Cecilie Willemberg.  This country usually tends to field raw contestants to this pageant in recent years, but this is one refreshing exemption–she’s great looking, polished, and prepared.  She made a good account of herself in the Presentation Show, but, well, the class of 2015 is loaded with so many stellar contenders that as good as she is, there are several others who are at the same or at a higher level than her.

DEN

DEN U

Miss Universe 2015

ECUADOR – Francesca CiprianI.  See COSTA RICA.

ECU

ECU U

Francesca Cipriani, Miss Ecuador 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

EL SALVADOR – Fátima Rivas.  In real-world terms, she’s good looking.  But against such formidable contenders, she’s outclassed.  Anyway, it is noteworthy that she is one of the two Latinas who had expressed her support for the actual winner after that controversial coronation event.

ESA

ESA U

Idubina Rivas, Miss El Salvador 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

FINLAND – Rosa-Maria Ryyti.  She’s not as stunning as the previous representatives this country sent during its 1960s-1970s heyday, but she manages to hold her own against the formidable contenders out there.

FIN

FIN U

Rosa-Maria Ryyti, Miss Finland 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GABON – Ornella Obone.  She is good looking, but her figure is not up to pageant standards and there is a rawness in her presentation onstage.

GAB

GAB U

Ornella Obone, Miss Gabon 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GEORGIA – Janeta Kerdikoshvili.  She’s one of the big revelations during the Presentation Show, delivering an impressive performance that many pageant fans and pundits took notice.  Everyone was pegging her as a should’ve-been-semifinalist.  Oh when will the breakthrough for her nation finally take place?

GEO

GEO U

Janet Kerdikoshvili, Miss Georgia 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GERMANY – Sarah-Lorraine Riek.  I would regard her as a good-looking, solid contender.  Her winged costume made me recall Wim Wenders’ 1987 iconic film Wings of Desire (remade into the 1993 Nicolas Cage / Meg Ryan film City of Angels), and that’s a great visual to associate with Germany.  Too bad her conduct after the controversial coronation made many people lose their respect for her, and she paid a terrible price.  It is one thing to express a contrary opinion that you did not vote for the actual winner, but trying to mislead/misdirect the winner’s handler while the latter was waiting for a go-signal to visit his ward?  It made me reflect that her surname sounds like the English word “reek”, and for those who have a dictionary or watch/read Game of Thrones, that is not a pleasant thing.  Some had speculated the roots of this is the grudge she had against her 1st runner-up in her national pageant, the half-Filipino Anja Vanessa Peter (who earlier competed in Bb. Pilipinas where Pia Wurtzbach won).

GER

GER U

Sarah-Lorraine Riek, Miss Germany 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GHANA – Hilda Akua Frimpong.  She looks good, but during the Presentation Show, she channeled supermodel Naomi Campbell–if only she could imitate Naomi’s signature walk, possess her legendary sleek figure, and garner more of her charisma, she could’ve been the “African-most-likely”.  Still, she deserves compliments for that aspect alone.

GHA

GHA U

Hilda Akua Frimpong, Miss Ghana 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

Naomi Campbell (image sourced from stylebistro.com)

GREAT BRITAIN – Narissara Nena France.  In a less competitive year, she would’ve made serious inroads to the finals.  Still we should salute her for bringing her “A” game throughout especially during the Presentation Show.

GBR

GBR U

Nena France, Miss Great Britain 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GREECE – Michaela Fotiadi.  See COSTA RICA and ECUADOR.

GRE

GRE U

Mikaela Eleni Fotiadi, Miss Greece 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GUATEMALA –  Jeimmy Aburto.  She wins the Dunavka Trifunovska* award for her exaggerated gestures during the Presentation Show.  Well, we need someone like her for levity sometimes…

* So named after the Macedonian representative to Miss Grand International, as her exaggerated stage gestures went viral.

GUA

GUA U

Jeimmy Tahiz Aburto, Miss Guatemala 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

GUYANA – Shauna Ramdyhan.  Well, her features are of an unconventional sort, especially with those thick eyebrows.  Still, she delivered a polished performance during the Presentation Show.

GUY

GUY U

Shauna Ramdyhan, Miss Guyana 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

HAITI – Lisa Drouillard.  She is one of many who performed at a high standard during the Presentation Show–she seems to have almost all the qualities to advance to the semifinals; it’s just there are just too many of them who delivered great performances.

HAI

HAI U

Lisa Elizabeth Drouillard, Miss Haiti 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

HONDURAS – Iroshka Elvir.  During the Presentation Show, the hosts Paulina Vega and Nick Teplitz mention about her ambition to become a political leader someday.  Though as a pageant contestant, she’s clearly out of contention with her very angular facial features, I could actually visualize her becoming a political leader (and yes, even president of her country).  Those angular features have a patrician vibe about them that I see in a female Latin leader like former Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, for instance.  Let’s see if my prognostications come true about her about a few decades from now.

HON

HON U

Iroshka Elvir, Miss Honduras 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

HUNGARY – Nikoletta Nagy.  See COSTA RICA, ECUADOR, and GREECE.  Though I have to note, albeit silly, she made an impression with her national costume, a tribute to the fact that the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube is Hungarian.

HUN

HUN U

Nikoletta Nagy, Miss Hungary 2015 debuts her National Costume on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The 2015 Miss Universe contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Las Vegas. Tune in to the FOX telecast at 7:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Sunday, Dec. 20, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to see who will become Miss Universe 2015. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

INDIA – Urvashi Rautela.  There were some people who found something to quibble about her Presentation Show performance, but I thought she delivered a strong, semifinal-worthy performance, and I thought she would make the cut over, say, Japan and Indonesia.  But somehow luck didn’t work in her favor and she was shut out.  It’s a frustrating year for her country as I think all the bets from this country in the various major international pageants deserve a better showing than what they ended up with.  It’s understandable why she became a tad bitter in interviews though I hope she would get over it soon.

IND

IND U

Miss Universe 2015

All images courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  IRELAND to NORWAY