SPAIN – Dolores Ortega Martinez. This country is normally a powerhouse, but she seems drowned by better looking Europeans and Latinas out there.
SRI LANKA – Visna Fernando. Her exotic vibe might have garner some support her way.
SURINAME – Giselle Reinberg. She’s the plainest of this batch, but she’s very articulate in her eco-beauty video.
SWEDEN – Maria Taipaleenmaki. She has a nice girl-next-door prettiness. Her name sounds Finnish.
SWITZERLAND – Corine Schädler. See SWEDEN, albeit slightly more polished and winning a gold medal for the snowman building challenge.
THAILAND – Chavika Watsarang. She has a sparkle about her even if she’s not conventionally pretty so she can make serious inroads into the semifinals, perhaps even going further than that. She garnered two silvers for costume and evening gown and a bronze for photogenic. Will we also see her in Miss International next year?
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Danielle Dolabaille. She may have an exotic appeal that can win over the judges.
TURKEY – Sevval Ayvaz. She’s good looking, but barely garnering much buzz.
UGANDA – Sandra Akello. She garnered a gold in her national costume and is generally a polished presence. Can she be the African-most-likely?
UKRAINE – Viktoriya Orel. She garnered two golds for her costume and the snowman building competition. She also has the good looks to make serious inroads into the finals.
URUGUAY – Maria Belen Cabrera. She’s an attractive Latina, but with fiercer Latinas present she could be regarded as an also-ran.
U S A – Brittany Ann Payne. She exudes the vibe of a stereotypical homecoming queen. She seems to also have a commitment to the cause so she might be one of the stronger bets for the Top 16, albeit I don’t expect her to duplicate or exceed Andrea Neu’s Miss Earth-Air finish last year.
VENEZUELA – Andrea Carolina Rosales. During the Miss Venezuela pageant, she was one of the top favorites to garner the plum title to represent the country in next year’s Miss Universe, but she got this assignment instead. For some reason, though she garnered a silver for photogenic and bronze for national costume, she is not generating the buzz of someone most likely to earn an element–it seems other Latinas are likely to take that mantle ahead of her.
WALES – Lara Stephen. She’s short, plain, and not that polished. Are the calibre of a Sophie Moulds (Miss World 2012 1st runner-up) so few and far between from this country?
With all 86 now accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard.
TOP CONTENDERS: COLOMBIA, GUATEMALA, MONGOLIA, PANAMA
SHOO-INS: AUSTRIA, BRAZIL, THAILAND
LIKELIEST: ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, CHILE, D.R. CONGO, CZECH REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, GERMANY, GUADELOUPE, HUNGARY, INDONESIA, IRELAND, JAPAN, KOSOVO, NEW CALEDONIA, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, PORTUGAL, REUNION ISLAND, RUSSIA, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, UGANDA, UKRAINE, U S A, VENEZUELA
EXCELLENT: AUSTRALIA, BAHAMAS, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, COSTA RICA, CRIMEA, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, GHANA, INDIA, ITALY, KOREA. MALTA, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, NORTHERN IRELAND, PERU, ROMANIA, SCOTLAND, SLOVENIA, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, URUGUAY
INTELLIGENCE/COMMITMENT FACTOR: KENYA, NEPAL, SOUTH AFRICA, SURINAME
VERY STRONG: ARMENIA, BELGIUM, CHINA, HONDURAS, MALAYSIA, SPAIN, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, TURKEY
STRONG: ARUBA, BELIZE, CROATIA, CYPRUS, EGYPT, ENGLAND, ISRAEL, MYANMAR
VERY GOOD: FIJI, LEBANON, POLAND
GOOD: EL SALVADOR, GUAM
FAIR: SINGAPORE, WALES
Here is my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP FOUR: AUSTRIA, COLOMBIA, MONGOLIA, PANAMA
TOP EIGHT: BRAZIL, GUATEMALA, PHILIPPINES, THAILAND
TOP 16: CHILE, KOSOVO, NEW CALEDONIA, RUSSIA, UGANDA, UKRAINE, U S A, VENEZUELA
BUBBLING UNDER: ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, D.R. CONGO, ECUADOR, GERMANY, GUADELOUPE, HUNGARY, INDONESIA, IRELAND, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PARAGUAY, PORTUGAL, REUNION ISLAND, SLOVAK REPUBLIC
STRIKING DISTANCE: AUSTRALIA, BAHAMAS, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, COSTA RICA, CRIMEA, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, GHANA, INDIA, ITALY, KENYA, KOREA. MALTA, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NORTHERN IRELAND, PERU, ROMANIA, SCOTLAND, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SRI LANKA, SURINAME, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, URUGUAY
It’s coincidental that in both Miss Supranational and in this pageant, two of the biggest favorites are from Colombia (Estefania Muñoz) and Panama (Carmen Jaramillo). Though Guatemala (Sara Guerrero) has been one of the top medal earners in this competition, she might likely be pipped out of an element by the host delegate, Austria (Sophie Totzauer). Though she may have some detractors, Mongolia (Bayartsetseg Altangerel) seems destined to garner an element.
To be blunt, I’m not as enthusiastic at this group of ladies unlike last year–there were more gorgeous, high caliber contenders last year. Still, this could still be an exciting, unpredictable pageant. Let’s see how it all unfolds tonight.