Before I proceed to talk about what I think about the results of Miss International 2016, below is a video that expresses how I feel about the whole thing:
There are actually a lot of things to be happy about this year’s Miss International pageant. First, after the “brutal” Top Ten for the past couple of years, it has reverted back to the Top 15 format. Second, the production stepped up–sure it still employs the same minimalist backdrop, but the music stepped up from the stultifying 1980s jazz muzak we heard in recent editions. Third and most importantly, the quality fo this year’s delegates turn out to be at a very high level, and it shows at how the majority of them delivered the goods onstage–especially because of these stellar delegates, the otherwise traditional static pageant gained vibrancy and life. Because of all this, on top of this results reaction I will do a full-fledged delegates’ review.
Since I only selected a Top Ten, I got six out of that 10 right, and well, still if you count my “Bubbling Under” list, I got 11 of the Top 15 (stretch to 12 if you add one lady in my “Striking Distance” list). There are three that were outside of my radar that made the final cut. For two of them, they are the closest thing to being head-scratchers: Dominican Republic (Cynthia Maria Nuñez) and El Salvador (Margarita Elizabeth Cader). I have to give them credit for being polished onstage, and that they also give good cultural speeches, but if you ask me if they performed well enough to shut out some members of the “Glorious Eight”? It’s refreshing to see these two make it, but not at the expense of any “Glorious Eight” member.
The third person out of my radar who earned her keep in the Top 15 is Thailand (Pattiya Pongthai). She was sensational onstage, especially in during the evening gown round as she brought drama with her lilac gown with sheer cape overlay. Her speech relaying her thanks for the condolences on the death of their beloved king Bhumibol Adulyadej was lovely and heartfelt.
Some might justify why two memebers of my “Glorious Eight” fell by the wayside: Colombia (Daniela Herrera) and United Kingdom (Romy Simpkins) were both very strong onstage, but there are several who exhibited such a growth arc that it can be understood why to the reckoning of the judging panel* these otherwise stellar ladies were overtaken.
*Iron Chef fans would be delighted to see that one of the members of this year’s judging panel was Yukio Hattori, that beloved food analyst/commentator on that show.
But the first runner-up for the Ruth Ocumarez award is one who was knocking at the door of the “Glorious Eight” but I didn’t quite put her in that list–Hawaii (Guinevere Davenport). I was mesmerized when she shook her booty in her hula costume (with ukelele prop) and she kept me spellbound in both swimsuit and evening gown rounds. So I was flabbergasted when she wasn’t called into the Top 15 as I thought her performance was phenomenal. A great injustice if you ask me, but there is a bigger injustice out there…
The clear winner of this pageant’s Ruth Ocumarez award is Venezuela (Jessica Duarte). Pageant fans and pundits will forever scratch their heads to dissect why the stunning “Marmegantina” failed to make the final cut. I personally thought she was a stunner onstage and moved extremely well, and I’m decrying why did the judging panel ignore the luminous gorgeousness parading right in front of them? Unlike when Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago was in the judging panel, I have no doubt that the reigning Miss International Edymar Martinez did vote for her countrywoman to go through, but obviously she was overpowered by the rest of the judging panel. The only possible reason I could think of was that she probably failed during the Forum speech earlier. Anyway, I’m so glad she gave a very gracious message to the Filipino fans congratulating Kylie’s victory on her Instagram account.
I join with the millions of Filipinos rejoicing the Philippines (Kylie Versoza)‘s victory in this pageant, the sixth for our country. But to my eyes, her victory wasn’t a decisive dominating victory–in fact unlike many fans, I was uncertain she’ll clinch our much coveted dream win after watching her walk in swimsuit and evening gown. I had a feeling of exhilaration and relief after the announcement as my worst-case fears were thankfully not realized. i’ll discuss more about my assessment of her performance in my full-fledged review. Until then, all I could say is congratulations, Kylie!
All images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide