PANAMA – Davis Arguelles. He exudes a swarthy, sexy appeal, though like Ecuador, he’s for those who are in the mood for something “rough”.
PERU – Becerra Cerna. He exudes that balance of physical buffness, boyish appeal, and strong communication skills that he made the shortlists in speech, sports, and swimwear. He looks like a shoo-in for the finals, and a sleeper possibility for the Top Five.
PHILIPPINES – Andrea Biondo. With his strong skills in relaying his ideas across in a clear, matter-of-fact way (even with an Italian accent) and his enviably buffed physique, he made major impact in speech and swimwear, and it bodes very well for his overall prospects in this pageant. Making the Top 15 is clearly secured, and his very intriguing features are not to be ignored–his Italian-Filipino heritage gave him the classical handsomeness we associate with Europeans with the exoticism we associate with native Filipinos (or Latin Americans), and he straddles that intersection between boyish innocence and ravishing sensuality. All those qualities seems to point to a lock in the Final Five, but there might be a slightly surprising obstacle to achieving this finish–in relation to most of the contestants he’s relatively short. Mind you, his actual (not “press release”) height of 5’9″ (he’s as tall as I am) is no way to be considered short (especially in our shores), but in relation to most of the contenders in this batch, he may seem dwarfed by them. But then again, on his own he does have the proportions of a tall man, so he can pull it off.
PORTUGAL – Nelson Amado. I wonder if his family’s origins are from one of Portugal’s former colonies like Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde or Sao Tome & Principe. Anyway, it’s nice to see a man of color representing a European nation, though I don’t foresee him making serious inroads into the finals as he’s generally raw and he has a skinny frame. He does have an attractive face, though.
PUERTO RICO – Eric Manuel Gonzalez. He was the last to arrive in Indonesia and missed the speech and sports rounds. Still, his good looks and buffed physique are too undeniable that not only did he make the swimwear shortlist, he can still make serious inroads into the finals.
ROMANIA – Catalin Brinza. His features may be an acquired taste, but he does possess an enviable physique (he made the swimwear shortlist) and will make a big splash with his talent routine mimicking Jim Carrey’s The Mask character. Could be a sleeper choice to make the final cut.
SERBIA – Aleksa Gavrilovic. Many pageant fans and pundits are raving about his good looks, with justification–those looks and that buffed physique earned him a shortlist in swimwear. He has not generated as much buzz, but I have a feeling he could be a strong sleeper bet for the finals. I think he does have a secret edge with his communication skills–I noticed even if he missed making the shortlist in the speech round he was a clear, coherent speaker, and that could help him ace the interview.
SINGAPORE – Lim Chum Hao. His third place finish in sports would most likely be the highlight of his stint in this pageant as he doesn’t have the charisma of his other Asian counterparts like India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, and Philippines.
SPAIN – Cristian Perez Llorente. Many pageant fans and pundits (including myself) pegged him as the favorite to win, and with good reason: he parlayed his good looks and lean, rippled physique to make the shortlist in swimwear and Top Four for Mister Photogenic, and he’s the winner of the sports challenge. I think the key obstacle for him nailing the crown is that he may come off as a tad terse, judging from his very brief speech audition. But if he nails the question and answer round in the finals, the title is his.
SRI LANKA – Udaya Sri. He has a nice scruffy appeal in some angles, but most of the time he’s simply too raw and unpolished–arguably the weakest contestant in this stellar group of 48.
SWEDEN – Alexander D. Rosso. His features may register on the mature side, but he is good looking and there are people who dig that. He has made serious inroads in sports, placing second behind champion Spain, and I have a feeling he’ll win the speech round as it was eloquent and heartfelt–he touched upon a moment he fell ill and his fellow contestants ran to him out of concern, and he equated that as “unity in diversity” in action, which was the them of the speech round. If the judges find him appealing enough in the looks rounds, he could be a possible usurper for the title and wrest it away from front-runners Dominican Republic and Spain.
TAIWAN – Chang Kuei Hing. See HONG KONG.
THAILAND – Krittayat Kanchanadul. He reminds me of an Asian David Schwimmer especially with that prominent schnozz. He actually has appeal, but I think the Asian contingent is too formidable and there may hot be enough room for him in the finals.
UKRAINE – Oleksandr Katsidatze. He has that scruffy, smoldering attractiveness, but most of hte time he’s raw.
U S A – June Wu. It’s nice to see this vast country represented by a Chinese guy with strong communication skills (that allowed him to make the shortlist in speech). he’s actually a generally polished contender though I’m not sure if his gift of gab will be enough for him to make the finals.
VIETNAM – Truong Ngoc Tinh. He is not conventionally handsome, but he does have appeal, and his buffed physique earned him a swimwear shortlist. Making the final cut is in the realm of possibility.
With all 48 gentlemen accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard, as follows:
TOP CONTENDERS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, SPAIN
TITLE USURPER: SWEDEN
SHOO-INS: ALGERIA, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, INDONESIA, PERU, PHILIPPINES
LIKELIEST: BANGLADESH, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, COLOMBIA, EGYPT, INDIA, JAPAN, KOREA, KYRGYZSTAN, MACAU, MALAYSIA, NETHERLANDS, PUERTO RICO, ROMANIA, SERBIA, VIETNAM
DIVERSITY FACTOR: ENGLAND
INTELLIGENCE FACTOR: U S A
EXCELLENT: AZERBAIJAN, CROATIA, GREECE, LEBANON, MEXICO, PANAMA, THAILAND
VERY STRONG: ALBANIA, BULGARIA, ECUADOR, MONTENEGRO, NORWAY
STRONG: CHINA, DENMARK, MOLDOVA, MYANMAR, SINGAPORE
VERY GOOD: HONG KONG, PORTUGAL, TAIWAN, UKRAINE
GOOD: SRI LANKA
Now, here’s my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP FIVE: ALGERIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN
TOP TEN: AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, INDONESIA, PUERTO RICO
TOP 15: BANGLADESH, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, SWEDEN
BUBBLING UNDER: EGYPT, INDIA, KOREA, KYRGYZSTAN, MACAU, NETHERLANDS, ROMANIA, SERBIA, VIETNAM
STRIKING DISTANCE: AZERBAIJAN, CROATIA, ENGLAND, GREECE, LEBANON, MEXICO, PANAMA, THAILAND, U S A
The way I see it, it looks like a big showdown between two Spanish-speaking contenders, Dominican Republic and Spain, with Algeria, Peru, and Philippines nipping at their heels. If the judges like Sweden enough to pass through the swimwear and formal wear rounds, he could be the big upset victor.
I watched some of the videos of the event proceedings (thanks Sash Factor) and I can forgive the imperfections on how the various events were conducted, but I hope they can make it up with a very professional program for finals night. Anyway, it looks like this pageant’s stellar growth and unique hook may propel it to the ranks of the most prestigious male pageants that has long been held by the triumvirate of Manhunt International, Mister International, and Mister World. Anyway, best of luck to all teh contestants.