MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

With all 74 contestants accounted for, it’s time to trot out my leaderboard to show how I think they all stand:

TOP CONTENDERS:  PERU, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

SHOO-INS:  BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SPAIN, TAHITI, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRALIA, BAHAMAS, BELGIUM, CUBA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, INDIA, INDONESIA, ITALY, MALAYSIA, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, PARAGUAY, PUERTO RICO, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, RWANDA, SCOTLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SOUTH SUDAN, UKRAINE, VIETNAM, WALES

EXCELLENT:  ARUBA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, HUNGARY, JAMAICA, JAPAN, KOREA, LUXEMBOURG, MACAU, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PANAMA, PORTUGAL,

COMMUNICATION FACTOR:  NICARAGUA, SRI LANKA, TAIWAN

VERY STRONG: BOLIVIA, CHINA, COSTA RICA, EGYPT, GUATEMALA, LATVIA, MALTA, MYANMAR, NIGERIA, SWITZERLAND, TURKEY

STRONG:  CANADA, URUGUAY

VERY GOOD:  HONG KONG, MAURITIUS, SINGAPORE

GOOD:  ESTONIA, IRAQ, SLOVAKIA, SURINAME

FAIR:  LITHUANIA, MOLDOVA

And here is my “Fearful” Forecast:

FINAL FIVE:  COLOMBIA, PERU, TAHITI, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

TOP TEN:  BRAZIL, ECUADOR, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

TOP 20:  BAHAMAS, INDIA, INDONESIA, NETHERLANDS, PARAGUAY, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, RWANDA, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:  AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CUBA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, ITALY, MALAYSIA, MEXICO, ROMANIA, SCOTLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SOUTH SUDAN, UKRAINE, WALES

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ARUBA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, HUNGARY, JAMAICA, JAPAN, KOREA, LUXEMBOURG, MACAU, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, PORTUGAL, SRI LANKA, TAIWAN

I’ve observed the evening gowns in the Presentation Show generally ramped up in the sex factor, with a whole host of sheer outfits or if it’s not sheer, they have low-cut bustlines.  I suppose because it’s Vegas that is why the proliferation of provocatively sexy outfits.  It somehow feels a bit too much, if you ask me.

Based on overall impression and the Presentation Show performances, I see the ones coming to the forefront are Peru (Priscila Howard), Thailand (Supaporn Malisorn) and Venezuela (Debora Paola Medina)–will the crown go to these three, or will there be a come-from-behind finish from other contenders? Anyway, this pageant has delivered its share of drama and entertainment–let’s see how the finale would unfold…

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

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MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 5)

SPAIN – Adriana Sanchez Rivas.  Looks- and presence-wise, she’s a complete package and was fierce during the Presentation Show.  Her communication skills are solid, though not that memorable.

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SRI LANKA – Buddhika Harshani.  She is not as polished onstage as other contenders out there but she’s a very articulate lady, and we’ll see how much she can parlay that to further her cause.  I find it interesting that her name seems to evoke the Buddhist religion, but I also am reminded of Britain’s greatest female warrior heroine Boudika (often incorrectly called Boadicea)

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SURINAME – Daryola Brandon.  Well she’s also one of the very raw contenders in this pageant.  Let her enjoy her experience here.

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SWITZERLAND – Ambre Chavaillaz.  Despite her French name, I find it interesting that her features look Asian–does she have an Asian mom?

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TAHITI – Vaiata Buisson.  Many pageant fans and pundits buzz about her beauty and felt she’s one of the front-runners.  I agree–she has a gorgeousness and presence about her that she can make serious inroads not only in the Top 20 but the Top Ten and beyond.

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TAIWAN – Ri-Xing Zhu.  She has a trim-enough figure, but she’s not that polished.  It’s interesting that they accept her representation under this moniker instead of “Chinese Taipei”.  She has an excellent command of English and is a superb communicator.

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THAILAND – Supaporn Malisorn.  She is polished and is firing on all cylinders.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the Top Five.

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TURKEY – Diana  Osypenko.  She’s pretty but not as buffed as other contenders.  I think her name doesn’t sound Turkish–is it actually Russian or Ukrainian?

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UKRAINE – Veronika Mykailyshyo.  Like Russia, she’s not that heavily buzzed about but she was a revelation in the Presentation Show, that even in a simple blue satin gown she smolders with maximum impact.

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Michelle Leon.  This host delegate looks like a lock for the Top 20 with her girl-next-door vibe.

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URUGUAY – Melina Carballo.  She’s got a slim frame, but her stage catwalk skills need further polishing.

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VENEZUELA – Debora Paula Medina.  She is touted by many pageant fans and pundits as the favorite to win.  I do agree she’s one of the front-runners and she channels two major Venezuelan winners:  Miss Universe 1979 Maritza Sayalero (when her hair is pulled back to show her face) and Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos (she her hair frames around her face).  But for now, I think Peru seems to have the stronger edge.

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Miss Universe 1979 Maritza Sayalero (image courtesy of Miss Universe Organization)
Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos (image courtesy of Miss World Ltd)

VIETNAM – Nguyen Thi Loan.  There are pageant fans and pundits who are touting her as a Top Five contender.  I’m not that totally convinced though she’s undeniably polished.  Probably a Top 20 shoo-in but not that confident about her in the Top 10 or beyond.  Anyway, her Presentation Show gown give me Princess-Leia-as-slave-girl (in Return of the Jedi) vibes.

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WALES – Rachel Tate.  She’s a polished contender–she’s close behind Scotland as the British-girl-most-likely.

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COMING UP:  “FEARFUL” FORECAST and FINAL THOUGHTS

MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

PANAMA – Selena Gomez Santamaria.  Her stage projection skills are stellar, and she has a great bod for sin.  She is one of those who could be considered “unconventionally beautiful.”

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PARAGUAY – Cindy Nordmann.  Based on her name she is obviously of European descent.  She is great looking with a trim, slender figure

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PERU – Priscila Howard.  She has the beauty, charisma, and stage presence to be a front-runner for the crown.  She ruled the evening gown competition with her stunning caped gown.

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PHILIPPINES – Nicole Cordoves.  I don’t find her conventionally pretty, but her stage chops, trim figure, and overall presence makes her a shoo-in for the Top 20.  I’m not sure if she can exceed or duplicate Parul Shah’s runner-up finish last year, but if she makes it all the way to the Final FIve, her stellar communication skills is one to watch out for.

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POLAND – Marta Redo.  She reminds me of Miss France national director Sylvie Tellier (who also competed at Miss Universe 2002) with the added distinction of her short bobbed hair.  Her stage chops proved stellar during the Presentation Show that I think she’s part of the “P” Powerhouse group with Peru, Philippines, and possibly Paraguay and Puerto Rico and is likely t make the final cut.

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Sylvie Tellier when she won Miss France 2002 (image sourced from aufeminin.com)

PORTUGAL – Ana Bomfim.  She’s actually an above-average, more-than-worthwhile contender with strong communication skills.  But this “P” Powerhouse group is just too stellar that she’s relatively the weakest link of this hallowed group.  Still she’s a refreshing sight.

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PUERTO RICO – Madison Anderson.  She’s a polished and articulate contender who also looks like a near-lock for the Top 20.

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ROMANIA – Ioana Mihalache.  She has a lean, slender model frame that could be prized in fashion circles.  Compared to Moldova, she’s a polished competitor.  A worthwhile contender.

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RUSSIA – Daria Zatsepina.  Buzz was muted for this lady, though she is great looking.  But she’s a revelation in the Presentation Show as her stage chops prove to be stellar.

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RWANDA – Sonia Gisa.  This Miss Supranational 2015 semifinalist makes a strong impression with her dignified vibe, and she was indelibly elegant in her red evening gown during the Presentation Show.  Yes, she’s relatively short compared to the rest of the pack, but she’s a complete package.  I’m rooting for her to make the cut, though the hype is towards another African.

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SCOTLAND – Gemma Palmer.  This brunette’s got the good looks and strong stage chops to be the British girl most likely to make the final cut in this pageant.

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SINGAPORE – Sabrina Ng.  She’s well spoken and articulate.  But she’s clearly not in contention for the Top 20 with her less-than-trim figure and raw stage presence.

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SLOVAKIA – Viktoria Nagy.  I find her features a tad too angular and severe and worsening matters is her extremely raw stage chops during the Presentation Show.  She has a similar blasé catwalk like Moldova.

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SOUTH AFRICA – Caitlin Harty.  She is not that buzzed about but I think she has a strong presence to be in contention for the finals.

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SOUTH SUDAN – Teresa Yuol.  There are pageant fans and pundits who are dubbing her the “African-most-likely” in this group.  I’m not into her features and figure, but well, perhaps it’s time to open my eyes and appreciate her sort of beauty.  She does have a vibrant vibe and that could bolster her cause.

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COMING UP: SPAIN to WALES