With a quadruple whammy of pageants that went on this past week, I could not post results reactions for them in the usual time I used to post them (and I was not able to do a homestretch review for Manhunt International at that). At least now the dust has settled and the four big pageants concluded, I can now share my thoughts of the results of those four pageants, starting with Miss Grand International.
Admittedly, I was pretty off in my predictions: I only got 11 of the Top 20 (eventually 21 since the popular vote winner leapfrogged into the Top 10), four of the Top 10 and one of the final five. Still the ones I didn’t get were either in my “Bubbling Under” or “Striking Distance” lists so no outright headscratchers on the final roster.
It turns out three in my “Striking Distance” list, Jamaica (Dianne O. Brown), Macau (Hio Mao Chan) and Portugal (Ana Bomfim) deserve to be in higher regard and are worthy of belonging in the hallowed group. Though I would’ve preferred that Macau not advance further to the Top 10, but well, the taste of the pageant owner Nawat Itragrisil prevails.
There was one girl who made the cut by virtue of popular internet vote–Korea (Cho Yeseul). Though she’s good looking, many pageant fans and pundits may resent her presence in the Top 10 as she in a way she took away a slot that could’ve been meant for someone in the Top 20.
For me I resented Korea’s presence in the Top 10 (and to a lesser extent Macau) because one of the ladies who languished in the Top 20 was Venezuela (Debora Paola Medina). Onstage she had charisma and performed at a stratified (Top Three-worthy) level, but well, she was cut off at the swimsuit round and not given the opportunity to make a speech or parade in evening gown. But it seems that perhaps Nawat also rubbed her the wrong way as she posted negative things about this pageant afterwards on her social media account.
Now, who wins the Ruth Ocumarez Award for this pageant? There are a whole host of worthy contenders, but holding the “Royal Court” with the public are Brazil (Renata Sena), Ecuador (Carmen Veronica Iglesias Lopez), and Poland (Marta Redo). The public may choose South Sudan (Teresa Yuol) but in my reckoning I can see why she doesn’t garner favor especially since Nawat practically makes all the key decisions on who makes the cut–just like the Miss Iceland incident, it turns out he considers her body frame “fat”. For me, the girl who wins the Ruth Ocumarez Award is Colombia (Juliana Florez Herrera)--why did her gorgeousness fall short in Nawat’s reckoning, I wonder?
I’d like to salute two ladies who proved their worth in the Top Ten, delivering on charisma and putting on a great fight: Bahamas (Selvenique Wright) and Ukraine (Veronika Mykhailyshyn).
But there was one surprise in the offing as another favorite was shut out of the Final Five: Peru (Priscila Howard). Wonder why she fell short in Nawat’s reckoning? She seems to have it all…
Now, I’m fine with the Final Five, though I wish that any of them (with the exception of Thailand [Supaporn Malisorn], who I feel is the only one indispensable in this group) could be replaced by the likes of Peru and Venezuela, but they all have justifiable merits to belong there and gain favor with Nawat. I hate the politically-charged final question about choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to help further the “Stop the War” cause, but at least it does help drum up publicity for this pageant–just like all that tabloid-y publicity for Miss Universe during the Trump years. Which path to take, the “correct” one (Clinton) or the “difficult/incorrect” one (Trump)? Puerto RIco (Madison Anderson), Thailand, and Indonesia (Ariska Putri Pertiwi) chose the former, with Indonesia giving the most poised argument why she chose Hillary. United States of America (Michelle Leon) and the Philippines (Nicole Cordovez) took the more challenging choice and garnered audience boos in the process, though the Philippines managed to come up with a strong argument to support her contrary position.
The production of this pageant attempted to mimic Miss Universe 2015 on a lower budget, and despite cluttering up the backdrop with bright visual background effects, the copycat vibe was just too glaring that it made the pageant seem cheaper than it already is. Post-pageant, there are a significant amount of disgruntled directors and contestants expressing their displeasure at the conduct of this pageant, with allegations that the results are rigged for the Final Five and complain about Nawat’s almost total control in the decision-making. Those concerns could cause further attrition in future editions (unless Nawat can secure willing directors that can take their place–Miss Earth has a knack of managing a revolving door of directors over the years).
I have no regrets covering this pageant, as the winner is a credible choice (even if she’s not necessarily my cup of tea) and the hosting by Vietnam next year may help this pageant recover from its messy proceedings this year. But I’ll be observing the caliber of next year’s contestants and the coverage and production for next year to see how it all goes before I commit to another review. Anyway, congratulations to Southeast Asian trio of Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia taking the Top Three slots.