COLOMBIA – Shirley Atehortúa. She’s a good looking lady with strong communication skills so she can make the cut in interview. But she also has an edge as her BWAP project helping victims displaced by the violence in her country made the Top 24.
COOK ISLANDS – Natalia Short. As winner of the Sports challenge (as part of the Red Team), she is guaranteed a spot in the Top 20. On top of that, she was among the 21 short-listed in talent with her native dance. Sure she made the cut in the “homely” fast-tracks but she does have the good looks to be worthy of belonging in this hallowed group anyway.
COSTA RICA – Jessica Melania González Monge. She’s attractive, but not enough to make a standout impression in a sea of 117 contenders. It’s going to be an uphill battle for her as she failed to figure in any challenge event.
COTE D’IVOIRE – Esther Emmanuelle Mémel. She’s an attractive lady, though her only “splash” thus far is her BWAP project, helping victims of Buruli Skin Ulcer disease. It’s quite a unique cause that can be unique enough to make her win.
CROATIA – Angelica Zacchigna. Her name is Italian as her area (Istria) was historically part of the Venetian Republic hundreds of years ago, along with a period between World Wars where this became part of Italy. She made a major splash in the “homely” challenges, making Top Ten in Talent with her singing (she performed Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”), and she’s second overall in Sports representing the White Team. In the 2011-2015 system, this would help her garner serious inroads into the Top 20 but we know the system seemed to change back to a previous format. At least she made a major mark with these commendable showings.
CURACAO – Sabrina Namias de Crasto. Considering there was a last-minute change in franchise holder and she was sent to this pageant on short notice, she makes a positive impression.
CYPRUS – Maria Morarou. She’s rather raw and her features angular, and she doesn’t quite make a splash in any of the challenge events, so she’s likely going to fare as an also-ran.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Natálie Kotková. Her face is the sort that may be extremely appealing to some, and bland to others. She figured so far in the “homely” challenge events as she made the Top 24 in Sports representing the White Team and among the 21 shortlisted for talent with her dance performance. A possible Top 20 contender.
D. R. CONGO – Andréa Moloto. There were pageant fans and pundits rating her as a major favorite prior to her US arrival, but buzz fizzled since then and the fact she didn’t figure in any challenge event is not helping matters.
DENMARK Helena Heuser. She made the Sports challenge as part of the Blue Team, and her BWAP project was among the 37 being deliberated upon by the approximately 21-person judging panel. She can be a worthwhile Top 20 choice.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramírez. She delivered on the hype and looks very poised to improve upon her Top Ten finish at Miss Universe 2013. She made the Top 24 in Sports as part of the White Team, and placed third in Top Model. She also seems to have a strong multimedia presence so that can help, along with the fact that her BWAP project developing a talent program for the youth was among the Top 24. She looks poised to make the Top Five.
ECUADOR – Mirka Paola Cabrera Mazzini. There are several angles where she resembles Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach but with a less aquiline nose. I have to salute her chutzpah for posing with three Miss World winners during the Designer Dress charity ball, that one casual observer would wonder if she was a former winner (no she isn’t). She was among the 21 shortlisted for talent with her singing skills.
EGYPT – Nadeen Osama El Sayed. All I’ll say is “angular and raw” and leave it at that.
EL SALVADOR – Ana Miriam Cortez Durán. She only primarily speaks in Spanish, but she is pretty and possesses spunk. Would that be enough for her to score high in interview?
ENGLAND – Elizabeth Grant. Between 2011-2014 this country has been doing very well and figuring in the Top Ten and beyond. Last year it missed the Top 20 and I have a feeling it might be the same scenario for this lady. She did figure in the Top 24 in Sports as part of the winning Red Team, but her best hops for a Top 20 finish may depend on how well she fared in interview.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA – Anunciación Onguene Esono. She’s atractive but has not figured in the challenge events so it’s an uphill battle for her to make the final cut.
FIJI – Pooja Priyanka. She’s smart, polished, and attractive, and bolstering her cause are her shortlist placings in Talent (Top 21) and BWAP project called Project Qelekero, helping victims of Cyclone WInston (Top 24). A Top 20 possibility.
FINLAND -Heta Sallinen. She’s a strong contender as she’s good looking and very articulate, a stronger bet than previous recent predecessors (who tend to figure in the bottom). I hope she fared well enough in interview to make the cut as otherwise she could be in contention for the Holly Carpenter award.
FRANCE – Morgane Edvige. Just like in 2014, this lady figured significantly in one challenge event: Top Model (she ended up in Top Five). But with her beauty and that elegant (yet exotic–she’s from the Caribbean island of Martinique) flair, she may make significant inroads in Interview and unlike what happened to her 2014 counterpart (who topped the interview but as challenge points came in was ousted of the Top 25–she eventually got her vindication by making the lofty, hyper-competitive Top Five in Miss Universe) she may secure her place this time.
GEORGIA – Viktoria Kocherovi. Her beauty is of a less conventional sort, and one might think her prospects are dim as she didn’t figure in the challenge events. But who knows as she might score high in interview like some of her predecessors?
COMING UP: GERMANY to JAPAN