THE BLUE TEAM. This is the team that many pageant fans are paying attention to, as it is loaded with a lot of heavy hitters. It dominated the Extreme Sports challenge as it took the three slots, and two known winners from the individual sports events are from this team. It also was co-winner of the 10-tonne landscaping challenge. The group introduction video was fun, showcasing talents with a Miss Universe-style introduction from each of the members. But the fitness video was a hot mess, to be honest–disjointed mix of dancing with the old ladies of Southport, then various “Running Man”* challenge gags. I have a feeling that messy fitness video might cost them the overall team victory.
* A famous viral challenge where people dance to the Ghost Town DJ’s 1996 hit “My Boo”.
ENGLAND – Chris Bramell. For most pageant fans and pundits, he attractive enough but not really that much to look at. But with his 2nd place showing in Extreme Sports and win in the golf part of the Sports challenge, along with a Top 10 finish in the Mobi portion of the Multimedia challenge, he seems to have a slot in the Top 10 secure.
FRANCE – Kevin Martin-Gadrat. He’s good looking, but doesn’t quite stand out in the crowd, with the exception of a Top Five finish in the penalty shoot-out portion of the sport challenge. His main edge would probably sympathy for the Bastille Day terrorist truck massacre in Nice.
IRELAND – Darren King. He’s a classically chiseled hunk who many people would consider underrated, as he doesn’t seem to figure in the challenge events thus far. With the Blue team so deep with powerhouse standouts, would there be room for a gem like him?
MEXICO – Aldo Esparza. Mexican pageant fans and pundits tend to discount this guy’s prospects as they deemed that he doesn’t exude the charisma of his predecessors. But he exceeded expectations as he placed 3rd in the Extreme Sports challenge and 4th in the Mobi portion of the Multimedia challenge. He looks also in contention for the Talent competition with his unique cowboy lasso tricks. With all those factors, it looks like a spot in the Top Ten is secure.
PERU – Alan Massa. He’s one of the few I know who has singing as his talent, so he may have had an edge over the other talents (and his singing voice seems pretty good), but I think based from the snippets that I had heard, Honduras is the best singer.
PHILIPPINES – Sam Ajdani. Many pageant fans like myself were so excited to see him in action in Southport. But it turned out he encountered some snags before finally securing his visa. To his credit, once he set foot in Southport he made his presence felt. He blended in very well and fostered camaraderie with his colleagues, and he seems a charming enough speaker. But of course his main asset is that stunning handsome face–I may be biased because I’m Filipino, but I sincerely believe he has the handsomest face of all the 45 contenders and his charisma is undeniable. I’m hoping very sincerely that he’ll be deemed outgoing enough by the judges to make the final cut, or perhaps win the Style award to advance.
POLAND – Rafał Jonkisz. He’s also another relative latecomer, but fortunately he came just in time before the challenge events began. Being a celebrity in his home country, he shot up the rankings in the Mobi portion in the Multimedia challenge and won it. He might also have an edge in Talent with his dancing/jumping skills. He is making a stronger impression here than he did at Mister International last year, and he looks like he has an inside track into the finals.
PUERTO RICO – Fernando Alvarez. This major standout semifinalist at last year’s Mister International has been generating a lot of positive buzz from pageant fans and pundits alike. But I fear that not figuring in the challenge events may make him less than a sure-shot than what most of us would assume. But as long as he charms the judges (which we all believe he can), he can be set for another Top Ten finish.
SCOTLAND – Tristan Cameron Harper. He has made an indelible stamp at the Extreme Sports challenge, dominating it from beginning to end. He may not be conventionally handsome but he has a rugged masculine appeal that could help him clinch the overall win.
SPAIN – Angel Martinez Elul. He’s very handsome, but I sometimes confuse him with Mr. Switzerland, as they both share youthful faces, light stubbles and thick brunette pompadoured hairstyles. This guy garnered the edge as he won the penalty shootout. He also has a unique talent as he does beatboxing–though I’m more impressed with Queenierich Rehman’s beatboxing skills when she competed for the Philippines at Miss World 2012. He looks like a semifinals possibility.
SWITZERLAND – Betim Morina. Despite the scruff, this is the youngest contestant in this year’s pageant as he will turn 18 this October. A worthwhile contender but it’s an uphill battle with so many stunners out there, much more from this team.
COMING UP: THE “FEARFUL” FORECAST