I only got one of the Top Five right, but at least she was one who ended up almost winning it all. Again, no official announcement on who between Jamaica and Lebanon was actually ranked 4th and 5th, but most pageant fans and pundits (and myself) seem to agree that this was how they ranked.
5TH PLACE: JAMAICA – Sanneta Myrie. This dreadlocked lady won over the judges enough to place 5th in the preliminary interview with 400 points. We know she placed 3rd in talent for her interpretative dance, so if my calculations are correct she earned 23 points for that. She collected a total of 44 points for the challenge events other than BWAP, so the remaining 21 points from the challenge events came from Multimedia, where she made the Top Five, so this probably means she ranked 5th in this event. For BWAP, she earned 20 points, so this means she was ranked 21-25 in this event. Her final point total was 464 points, good for 4th place. The judges liked her unique story enough that they decided to keep her in the Top Five. But the four other girls were arguably more charismatic that it was expected she took up the rear.
4TH PLACE: LEBANON – Valerie Abou Chacra. I was glad she topped the preliminary interview round because most pageant fans and pundits believe she is the most gorgeous lady out there and hoped that being shortlisted for only one challenge event (Top Model) would not hurt her. Fortunately, despite earning only a measly five points for Top Model, her status in the Top 10 was secure–she dropped to 6th prior to BWAP, and was overtaken by Guyana when BWAP scores were tallied and ended up in 7th, but it was clear when it was time for the judges to decide on the Top Five, there must be a slot allocated for this lady. She did okay on the video interview profile and final speech, but I suppose the judges felt she didn’t have as much of a spark as the Top Three and her manner of speech a tad too casual that they didn’t elevate her to the Royal Court. Whatever the case, what cannot be denied is that she brought forth her nation’s best showing in this pageant ever.
3RD PLACE: INDONESIA – Maria Harfanti. Thanks to her BWAP win, she’s this year’s “Challenge Queen”, pipping the surging Guyana by a few points as she gained 96 points overall from all challenge events. She was 8th in the preliminary interview with 390 points. Besides the 60 points she earned for winning BWAP, she garnered 36 points for Talent and Multimedia–which probably means she bubbled under the Top Five in both of those events. I might be a tad biased, but I find Hillarie way more attractive than this lady, even if it could be justified that this lady had outscored Hillarie in interview. The presence of national director Liliana Tanoesoedibjo in the final judging panel made me feel that it is set up to make sure this girl will be the top performing Asian, and they blocked out Hillarie out of the Top Five to ensure this lady achieves the best showing this country has ever had in this pageant. There were also rumors of another go-round for this pageant in Indonesia next year, and with the swimsuit competition now eliminated, the so-called Muslim clerics could no longer justify protesting the holding of the pageant in that country.
2ND PLACE: RUSSIA – Sofia Nikitchuk. In some ways, she exuded the radiant vibe of Miss World 2002 Azra Akın, and I was not surprised she ranked high in interview (3rd with 420 points) and rose to the top of the leaderboard after gaining 40 points from the challenge events–most likely she was 2nd in Top Model so she got 25 points, then earned 15 points from Multimedia. She was among the Top Ten in BWAP, and with 32 points from it (since her final tally was 492 points, sustaining her 1st place finish), it means she ranked 10th in that event. She seemed to be a very charming, likable lady who would serve Julia Morley and the Miss World Organization well, so why was she not given the crown? I have a feeling that the insiders in the judging panel (along with the “sorority” with the exception of course of Miss World 2008 Ksenia Sukhinova) are uncomfortable with the current global political climate and Russia’s current reputation as a “villain” so they don’t feel inclined to make Russia win and decided to seek for an alternative…
MISS WORLD 2015: SPAIN – Mireia Lalaguna. Based on her scores, no one would’ve expected her to become the winner. She ranked 11th in the preliminary interview with 384 points. She garnered 44 additional points from the four non-BWAP challenge events, 30 of which from winning Top Model. It looks like the remaining 14 points came from Sports and Talent. She was ranked 7th prior to BWAP, but after Indonesia and Guyana surged, she fell to 9th place. Considering the people who conducted the preliminary interview were also in the final judging panel, what made them decide to include her in the Top Five instead of, say, South Africa, France, and Philippines?
I think a key factor was that the final judging panel included the members of the “sorority” (former Miss World winners), and they noticed something about her that excited them a lot, especially when viewing the Top Model highlights video and how she looked onstage. There are some angles where Mireia resembles the legendary Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Yes, Gisele is largely retired from the runways, but her legend continues to loom large. The original judging panel also probably took notice of that, especially in her video interview, that they felt she could be the alternative to Russia they were seeking in lieu of Lebanon. I know most pageant fans and pundits, when Russia was announced as 1st runner-up, were assuming the crown would go to the early favorite Lebanon, but well, Julia, her insiders, and the sorority sprung us a surprise that perhaps some might view as refreshing but others might find a tad jolting.
We can always argue that 2013 finalist Elena Ibarbia, 2012 semifinalist Aranzasu Estevez, 2011 semifinalist Carla Garcia, 2008 semifinalist Patricia Yurena Rodriguez, 2001 semifinalist Macarena Garcia, and 1999 semifinalist Lorena Bernal are still the paragons of Spanish beauty over this lady but we have to salute that this lady finally brought forth the long-awaited breakthrough for this country in this pageant. I may disagree with the final result, but I’ll respect it, so congratulations, Spain for the long-awaited win!