For the 65th edition of this pageant, Miss World returned to Sanya, China, the place that arguably helped Miss World decisively secure its status as the biggest, most prestigious pageant in the world since 2003. Initially it was thought that it will break out of the 130-country barrier, but it turns out there was an attrition from the previous edition, with 114 contestants as the final tally. It may seem from the far cry from the record 127 this pageant attracted two years ago, but it still remains the fifth biggest tally for this pageant overall. It could’ve equalled the 2012 edition’s 116 tally, if it weren’t for one entry being prevented from competing and one girl being sent home for “officially undisclosed” reasons.
CANADA – Anastasia Lin. This lady of Chinese descent wanted to compete in this pageant. However, she has been vocal about her sentiments critical to the Chinese government, especially regarding the persecution of the Falun Gong. As such she was not granted a visa to enter China to allow her to compete and though many people may support her stand on political issue involving China, it is also understandable why Julia Morley and her organization could not help in her cause to allow her to compete, as any pageant organization do also need to make nice and acquiesce with whoever the ruling government might be. Even if Julia had the clout to overrule the Chinese government, this lady is not really well regarded by pageant fans and pundits in terms of looks and her best prospects for moving forward would be in the non-looks-oriented challenge events like Talent and Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP). Well, even if she was not in the contest, she generated significant publicity regarding her political views on what is going on with the host country.
GREECE – Theodora De Morais Moschouri. Greek lesson–most people would tend to spell part of her name is “Nte” instead of “De” as I mentioned here. Note that in modern Greek, they make the “d” sound by using “nt”, as the letter that used to represent “d” (delta) now is used to make the “th” sound in “there” and “them”. Anyway, her path to Sanya was fraught with complications as she was not the original one designated to compete in this contest (well, you know, with the current dire economic crisis in that country, they can’t really afford to mount a national pageant)–the original designated representative was Katerina Galiatsatou, who had to back out due to a family emergency, and was replaced by her designated runner-up, Spyridoula Valasiadou, but again for an undlisclosed reason, she was then replaced by this lady. She flew to Sanya and stayed there for a few days, until she was sent packing home on 01 December. No official reason was given for her dismissal, only vague talk of “inappropriate behavior”.
I normally would be organizing my homestretch review according to teams. Unfortunately, the complete breakdown of the contestants by teams was not given (though there is a hint based on the backdrop of the profile videos, that turns out to not be a perfect guide). So I’ll be reverting back to the usual alphabetical presentation, starting with:
ALBANIA – Kristina Baki. She’s a lovely ingenue who got shortlisted in Top Model. But she may be disadvantaged as she doesn’t have a BWAP video.
ARGENTINA – Daniela Mirón. She reminds me of Phoebe Cates (now Mrs. Kevin Kline) in her 1980s heyday. She’s a designated reserve for the Yellow Team for the Sports challenge and made the short list in Top Model, and she should be garnering points for BWAP as she has a video. She could make the Top 25.
ARUBA – Nicole van Tellingen. She’s attractive, but so far she only made her mark as a reserve for the Yellow Team in the Sports challenge. At least she has a BWAP video, so that could help her shore up some points her way.
AUSTRALIA – Tess Alexander. She has this teenage vibe about her that belies her 24 years of age. She reminds me of a delicate ingenue, but based on her performance she is clearly no wilting flower but a fierce contender to deal with–Top 24 in Sports, Top 30 in Top Model, Top 13 in Talent (with her contemporary dance set to Colbie Caillat’s female empowerment song “Try”), and reportedly shortlisted in BWAP with her project educating Aboriginal children about health matters like diabetes. I may maintain that Miss World 2012 2nd runner-up Jessica Kahawaty remains the most stunning Australian representative to this pageant in the past two decades but it seems the roads point to this lady garnering the third crown for her country, the first after 43 years.
AUSTRIA – Annika Grill. She’s a model by profession, so it’s not surprising she’s Top 30 in Top Model. She should also garner some points as she submitted a BWAP video.
BAHAMAS – Chantel O’Brian. This bubbly lady has made a splash being short listed in Talent and will likely garner significant points for submitting a BWAP video.
BELGIUM – Leylah Alliet. She’s one of the more raw representatives in this contest, but at least she has a BWAP video.
BELIZE – Jasmin Jael Rhamdas. She’s a very raw representative. Yes, she mentioned she did something for BWAP, but she has no video presentation to back up for it.
BERMUDA – Alyssa Mary-Vivian Rose. She’s not bad looking but she’s a solid representative. She shone best in the “homely” challenge events so far, being Top 24 in Sports and Top 13 in Talent with her tap dancing performance. She also has a BWAP video, so she will garner significant points from there.
BOLIVIA – Vivian Susana Serrano Llanos. She has these exotic Latina looks that could make a good impression. She has not been shortlisted in any challenge event but at least she got a BWAP video to shore up her fortunes.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – Marijana Marković. She’s a great looking lass who got a Top 10 citation for the Designer Dress award though didn’t make the Top Model shortlist. Since she didn’t make the shortlist in other challenge events, her best prospects for points is her BWAP video.
BOTSWANA – Seneo Bambino Mabengano. Her achievement of note so far is she made Top 24 in Sports but she should garner additional points with her BWAP video.
BRAZIL – Catharina Choi Nunes. Besides making the Top 30 in Top Model, she also made the Top 10 in Designer Dress. This Brazilian-Korean (who won Miss Earth-Fire representing Korea two years ago) is also reportedly shortlisted for BWAP for her project involving sanitizing the slums to prevent leprosy. There are many pageant fans and pundits who are betting she would make the Top Ten or higher–it is definitely very possible.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – Sasha Wintz. Besides having a BWAP video, she will not occupy the cellar as she made Top 13 in Talent singing Whitney Houston’s 1988 Olympic anthem “One Moment in Time”.
COMING UP: BULGARIA to EL SALVADOR