MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2016: A REVIEW (PART 1)

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Like in previous editions, the organizers of the Miss Supranational pageant delivered a flashy, highly choreographed stage show on a relatively grand stage.  In general it is upbeat, entertaining and watchable.  As is typical with what I observed with Continental European pageants, the hosting style tends to be a bit loosey-goosey.  Still, Miss New York USA 2010 Davina Reeves and Belorussian presenter Ivan Padrez (he was one of the presenters when Mutya Datul won in 2013) were both solid in their hosting.

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Hosts Davina Reeves (L) and Ivan Padrez (R) interviewing the outgoing Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman

Part of what makes the Miss Supranational presentations fun is to listen to the cover versions of the latest pop/dance hits as covered by Polish/Belorussian artists–sure some might cringe at the obvious diction issues and occasional slurring and mispronunciations, but well, this is understandable as rights to play the originals are extremely costly.  Just try to fantasize listening to the original recordings on top of what was actually being played.  For the opening national costume sequence, they covered Justin Timberlake‘s summer hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling“.  Now the way the Polish singer sang the opening line was laughable–he sang “I have a feeling/ Inside my balls…” which leads to unintended naughtiness–the actual lyrics are “I have a feeling/ inside my bones…”  After the introduction of the hosts and a brief interview with the outgoing Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman, the 71 contestants were then individually introduced in three batches in strict alphabetical order (NOTE: in previous editions, they were divided by continents).  The playlist for this sequence are as follows:  “Do It Right” by Martin Solveig featuring Tkay Maidza, “Cake by the Oceanby the Joe Jonas-led DNCE, and “My Way” by Calvin Harris.

This is then followed by the swimsuit sequence.  This time, they are presented in two groups, the first group clad in black-and-white swimsuits of varying designs and the second group were in a variety of pastel colored swimwear.  The first group strutted to the strains of “Ground Level” by Auer featuring Natalia Nykiel, while the second group danced to “Peanut Butter Jelly” by Galantis.

Then there is the evening gown sequence where the 71 contestants paraded in the gowns of their own choosing.  This time instead of canned music, they were serenaded live by veteran Polish singer Andrzej Czernewsky to two 1960s chestnuts, “What a Wonderful World” originated by Louis Armstrong and “Crying Time” originally by Buck Owens.

I’ll discuss the Top 25 and Top 10 musical sequences in the next section, but for now, let’s talk about notable non-finalists.

First, I’ll discuss my choices for the Ruth Ocumarez award.  Bronze medal for me goes to Ecuador (María Isabel Piñeyro).  She was considered an early favorite among pageant fans and pundits but reported behavioral issues prevented her from making the cut (or even figuring in the top half of the group).

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Ruth Ocumarez Bronze Medal: Ecuador

Tied for the Silver medal for the Ruth Ocumarez Award are Colombia (Lorena de Lima) and Sweden (Moa Johandersson).  Many pageant fans and pundits expected them to make serious inroads to the Top 25, but somehow they also didn’t win favor with the judges–did they flub their interviews?

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Ruth Ocumarez Silver Medal (tie): Colombia
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Ruth Ocumarez Silver Medal (tie):  Sweden

For me, the gold medalist for the Ruth Ocumarez Award is Turkey (Damla Figan).  I was enthralled with her photographs that I thought she was a front-runner, but it turns out when you look closer and watch her move onstage, she fizzles–for instance in her relatively simple national costume, I caught her tripping on her simple dress.  And in less formal photos, it turns out she’s not as strong as I thought she could be.

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Ruth Ocumarez Gold Medal:  Turkey

Post-pageant the World Beauty Organization disclosed not only the full rankings of the Top 25 but who bubbled under, so let’s pay tribute to them starting with:

35TH PLACE (TIE): SOUTH AFRICA – Talitha Bothma.  I expected her to rank higher, but at least she’s cited as a bubbling under choice.

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35TH PLACE (TIE): KOREA – Lee Dasol.  I didn’t regard her highly, but it seems she fared well enough with the judges that she outperformed the likes of Turkey, Ecuador, Colombia, and some others to make the top half of the group.

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34TH PLACE: SWITZERLAND – Nadine Oberson.  She’s also another surprise as I found her raw–well perhaps she charmed the judges well enough in the interview that she ranked better than expected.

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33RD PLACE:  COSTA RICA – Karla Paola Chacon.  Well, she’s polished enough to rank respectably, so no problems seeing her here.

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32ND PLACE:  TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Lia Djemila Ross.  I think the judges appreciated her buffed figure (which she showcases very well in skimpy costumes and swimsuit) probably made her rank better than most would expect.

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31ST PLACE: BOLIVIA – Yesenia Barrientos.  She was a solid performer that it is expected she’ll rank this well.

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30TH PLACE:  UNITED STATES – Alexis Sherrill.  Some might expect her to rank higher, but perhaps the judges don’t really dig her less-than-conventional beauty that much which is why this is as far as she can get.

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29TH PLACE: GERMANY – Anja-Vanessa Peter.  Many observers have said this half-Filipina’s ace is her interview/communication skills, and this is how she edged out the likes of South Africa and the United States.

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28TH PLACE:  THAILAND – Chatchadaporn “Aoii” Kimakorn.  She’s also a major candidate for the Ruth Ocumarez.  I considered her a shoo-in for the Top 25 and even Top Ten, but it seems the judges didn’t dig her that much and preferred the likes of Myanmar and Vietnam instead.

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27TH PLACE:  CANADA – Hanna Begovic.  I think she shares the same qualities with Germany, that is why she unexpectedly ranked this high.

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26TH PLACE:  PERU – Silvana Vásquez.  She’s actually an experienced contestant who saw action in Miss Earth 2010, among others.  They probabbly just couldn’t find room for her as they preferred a few others above her.

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COMING UP:  THE TOP 25

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