In my reckoning there were a couple of big surprises at this year’s Mister Universal Ambassador: one a very welcome and pleasant surprise, and the other a slight headscratcher. Still, many of the favorites made the final cut and in general the Top 15 is very satisfying. I got 11 out of 15 correct, with three that I missed in the “Bubbling Under” list and one in “Striking Distance”. I also got seven of the Top Ten and three of the Top Five, though I have to also note that the guys who ended as my Top Two were only in my “Bubbling Under” list.
The closest thing to a “headscratcher” in the Top 15 was Azerbaijan (Joseph Jafarli) but then again, he’s an experienced model and he’s good-looking enough to be worthy of the final cut. Still, I felt his slot would’ve been better served by a whole slew of other worthy guys like India (Parmeet Wahi), Japan (Ryo Arizumi), Korea (Park Su Min), Kyrgyzstan (Sengenas Valstis) and Netherlands (Cas Winters). Needless to say, Parmeet and Cas missed the final cut yet again despite being strong contenders.
There are two winners of the Lucas Malvacini award for this pageant, one the popular choice and the other my personal choice (based on my own forecast). The popular choice would be Bosnia & Herzegovina (Sinan Subara)–there was a significant amount of fans rooting for this cutie, but somehow he fell short.
My own personal choice for the Lucas Malvacini award would be Colombia (Jose Oswaldo Ramos). I thought hsi buffed physique is Top Ten worthy, but I do understand that his features (a mild resemblance to actor Benicio del Toro) may not be everyone’s cuop of tea.
For some pageant fans and pundits, one of the biggest shocks was Spain (Cristian Perez Llorente) missing out of the Final Five, as he’s the favorite to win it all. I think what did him in was his rather too-casual styling during the Top 15 fashion parade, and his barely-impactful speech during the Top 10 round where they spoke about why they should become the next Mister Universal Ambassador. I’ll discuss more on this in my full-fledged review.
Two guys who I pegged in my “Bubbling Under” list ended up as the last two standing. For the 2nd placer who got the title Mister Asia International, Vietnam (Truong Ngoc Tinh), I found his very high placement a tad puzzling, as I felt his slot would’ve better served by, say Dominican Republic (Alejandro Martinez) or Peru (Jesus Becerra Cerna) but then again, the Mister Asia International title wouldn’t be a good fit for those two Latinos, right? Anyway, I have to remind myself that I am not the sole arbiter of taste, that perhaps the combo of judges that night simply liked him so much that they ranked him as high as he did.
I realized I should’ve placed a lot more faith in Serbia (Aleksa Gavrilovic) than I had, as I thought placing in only one shortlist may hamper his overall standing. But l know he deserved to fare very well as he does have a potent combination of good looks, buffed physique and strong communication skills. Those qualities indeed served him well, and I was actually delighted he exceeded my expectations to the point that he ended up the winner. All I can say is congratulations to him and may he have a nappy, productive reign ahead!