THAILAND Thanyachanok Moonninta. She was originally not shortlisted in Talent but at last minute she’s declared to advance to the Talent gala. What might cause this? I think to please the Chinese hosts, she was let in as her talent is singing a Chinese song. It’s strange she didn’t figure in Multimedia as she’s not in Top 20 in the Alipay round. Anyway, she’s figuring in the Top Ten of the People’s Choice award, so it’s possible like last year she’ll get her ticket to the semifinals through this path.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Kimberley Farrah Singh. She’s attractive, but she didn’t figure in any challenge event. She has a BWAP project involving anti-bullying, but no video.
TUNISIA – Maroua Heni. Her BWAP project is relevant as it’s about helping victims of terrorism, and educating children of “martyrs”.
TURKEY – Ecem Çirpan. Her event of note thus far is Sports, as she made Top 24 under the Red team, but I think she has good looks that deserve more notices than that. I have to note about her designer dress–it’s basically a blue minidress with train. Well, at least it’s now called “designer dress” instead of evening gown as I’ll have an issue with it if it is referred to as an evening gown.
UGANDA – Zahara Nakiyaga. She declared she had a BWAP project helping children with disabilities but no video. She hasn’t figured in any challenge event so she might take up the rear, unfortunately.
UKRAINE – Kristina Stoloka. She only has a reserve slot in the Red Team for sports and her BWAP video submission going for her–another underrated gem who deserves better than what she got so far.
UNITED STATES – Victoria Mendoza. She’s not conventionally pretty, but she is considered a possible front-runner. She made Top 30 in Talent and was a reserve in Sports for the Red team. Her BWAP project feeding the hungry in her country got shortlisted, so she might be able to secure a good standing with all that.
URUGUAY – Sherika Luciana De Armas Elías. She did not figure in any challenge event and she lacks a BWAP video even as she declared she is working for an NGO helping disabled children and also worked for the Pereira Rossell hospital. Prospects are not looking good for her making the final cut.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Jahné Indira Massac. Her animal-oriented BWAP project made the shortlist. It’s a highlight that she can be proud of.
VENEZUELA – Anyela Galante Salerno. Unlike her predecessors since Ivian Sarcos’ win in 2011, she looks like she might make serious inroads in the semifinals as she made the Top 30 in Top Model and figured in the Top 10 in People’s Choice.
VIETNAM – Trần Ngọc Lan Khuê. Like Venezuela, she made a splash in Top Model and People’s Choice, but she also added making the Top 10 in dress design in her graduated red-to-yellow gown. Her features remind me of Indonesian world music star Anggun.
WALES – Emma Jenkins. She made Top 13 in talent with her Gaelic folk singing. She doesn’t have a BWAP video, but she does have a project helping women suffering from domestic abuse.
ZAMBIA – Michelo Malambo. She has her own foundation, Michie and Friends, and that’s her BWAP project. Too bad she doesn’t have a video for her foundation.
ZIMBABWE – Annie-Grace Farayi Mutambu. Her BWAP project, helping people suffering from albinism (no skin pigmentation) looks worthy of being shortlisted, but we have not heard confirmation that this is shortlisted.
Now that all 114 contestants are accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard and let’s take a look how I think all of them stand.
TOP CONTENDERS: AUSTRALIA, INDIA, NEW ZEALAND
SHOO-INS: BRAZIL, CHINA P.R., GUYANA, JAMAICA, NAMIBIA, PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, RUSSIA, SAMOA, UNITED STATES
LIKELIEST: ARGENTINA, AUSTRIA, BERMUDA, CAMEROON, COTE D’IVOIRE, CURACAO, ECUADOR, ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GEORGIA, INDONESIA, ITALY, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KOREA, LEBANON, MYANMAR, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SOUTH AFRICA, SOUTH SUDAN, SPAIN, THAILAND, TURKEY, UKRAINE, VIETNAM, VENEZUELA, WALES
EXCELLENT: ALBANIA, BAHAMAS, BOLIVIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GUADELOUPE, GUAM, HONDURAS, ICELAND, IRELAND, KENYA, KYRGYZSTAN, LATVIA, MEXICO, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, NETHERLANDS, NICARAGUA, NORTHERN IRELAND, NORWAY, PANAMA, ROMANIA, SCOTLAND, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SWEDEN, ZIMBABWE
CHARITY FACTOR: EL SALVADOR, LESOTHO, TANZANIA, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS,
CHALLENGE EVENT FACTOR: BOTSWANA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS,CZECH REPUBLIC, FIJI, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, SERBIA, SEYCHELLES, SINGAPORE,
VERY STRONG: ARUBA, GIBRALTAR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HUNGARY, SRI LANKA, ST. KITTS & NEVIS, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, ZAMBIA
STRONG: BELGIUM, BULGARIA, CROATIA, GABON, GERMANY, MACEDONIA F.Y.R.O., NIGERIA, PERU, URUGUAY
VERY GOOD: CYPRUS, GUINEA, MAURITIUS,
GOOD: MALTA, MONTENEGRO, PORTUGAL, UGANDA
So here’s my “Fearful” Forecast on the Top 25:
TOP FIVE: AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, INDIA, NEW ZEALAND, RUSSIA
TOP TEN: GUYANA, JAMAICA, NAMIBIA, PHILIPPINES, SAMOA
POPULAR CHOICE: THAILAND
TOP 25: ARGENTINA, CHINA P.R., ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, FRANCE, INDONESIA, ITALY, KAZAKHSTAN, LEBANON, PARAGUAY, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, UNITED STATES, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM
BUBBLING UNDER: AUSTRIA, BERMUDA, CAMEROON, COTE D’IVOIRE, CURACAO, ECUADOR, FINLAND, GEORGIA, JAPAN, KOREA, MYANMAR, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SOUTH SUDAN, TURKEY, UKRAINE, WALES
STRIKING DISTANCE: ALBANIA, BAHAMAS, BOLIVIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, BOTSWANA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, FIJI, GUADELOUPE, GUAM, HONDURAS, ICELAND, IRELAND, KENYA, KYRGYZSTAN, LATVIA, LESOTHO, MALAYSIA, MEXICO, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NICARAGUA, NORTHERN IRELAND, NORWAY, PANAMA, ROMANIA, SCOTLAND, SERBIA, SEYCHELLES, SINGAPORE, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SWEDEN, TANZANIA, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, ZIMBABWE
This pageant is turning out to be the toughest to call. Though it seems to point to Australia (Tess Alexander) winning the whole thing, it’s still conceivable that India (Aditi Arya) and New Zealand (Deborah Rose Lambie) usurping the title away from her, or even someone outside from that inner circle, like, say, Brazil (Catharina Choi), Philippines (Hillarie Parungao), Russia (Sofia Nikitchuk), or Samoa (Latafale Alofa Auva’a). It seems to be Oceania finally coming at its own as a continent as it has three strong contenders for the title. I have a feeling there will be surprises on hand. All I’m hoping for is a justifiable, fair, and transparent outcome this Saturday.