I was expecting that the inaugural edition of the Mister Supranational pageant would be a spectacle modeled after Miss Supranational, and indeed the “Supranational” DNA was clearly in evidence in this production, and as a spectacle it delivered. But little did I know that they also borrowed one element from another major pageant, and that made the disparate pre-pageant activities relevant and impactful in the selection of the Top 20 (initially I thought these activities would have little to no consequence). More on that when I discuss the Top 20. I would also like to note that they also borrowed a feature from another pageant–the 1990s editions of Manhunt International, which featured an all-female judging panel for finals night.
Miss New York USA 2010 Davina Reeves was again on-hand to host this pageant (which came a day after Miss Supranational) and she was accompanied by a different male co-host: Polish radio DJ Kamil Baleja. There was a female backstrage correspondent, Miss Supranational 2015 Top 10 finalist from Australia Chris Fischer. All were strong and kept the show moving well.
Mister World’s approach to make their pageant approachable to a broader audience is by diminishing the “pageant” aspect of it all, emphasizing on the grueling athletic challenge events. This pageant, I’m so happy to report, was able to embrace pageantry and kept it appropriately masculine at the same time. I guess we have Poland’s “traditional” (some might read “homophobic”) values to partly thank for that, Though I heard of stories of lingering bad blood by some of the contestants, we also have to begrudgingly appreciate the choreography delivered by Tomasz Baranski for showcasing grace without diminishing masculinity–Mister World and the Asia-based major male pageants could learn a lot from what was shown here, though hopefully they don’t copy Tomek’s reportedly tyrannical disposition.
Just like its distaff counterpart, part of the fun of watching this pageant is the background music accompanying each sequence–they feature upbeat international pop/dance hits covered by local artists. For the opening number, the 36 contestants were in denim outfits proudly parading their flags (and draping them around themselves) to the strains of The Script’s “Hall of Fame” (featuring will.i.am).
Then, the contestants were presented individually but this was a full production number, as they are each accompanied by a female model (or two, in some cases) clad in Victoria’s Secret-inspired fashions, and the guys showcased their fleet footwork with the girls. The first group danced to Maroon 5 (featuring Christina Aguilera)‘s mega-smash “Moves Like Jagger“ while the second group grooved to “Sweet Lovin'” by Sigala.
The swimwear sequence again presented the contestants in two groups. To make things family-friendly, they were all in board shorts. Now the music here is a bit more esoteric as they are lesser known European club bangers. The first group paraded to “Feel” by Turkish DJ Mahmut Orhan featuring Sena Sener that is reportedly a big smash across Eastern Europe, and the second group strutted to the strains of “Badaboum“ by Belgian group Hooverphonic.
The next sequence was labeled a “Talent Show” but it’s more an energetic dance fitness sequence with the guys in streetwear showcasing either their athleticism or their dance moves. It has an urban/street motif, and is set to “Bad Man” by Pitbull (featuring Robin Thicke, Joe Perry and Travis Barker).
Just when I thought that they would call out the Top 20 at that point, there was another sequence, this time a group boxing-style workout sequence where the 36 contestants followed a sexy female instructor through a series of fitness moves while clad in flag-themed boxing (not to be confused with boxer) shorts. This was set to a medley starting with Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” (setting up the boxing theme) then followed by Eric Prydz’s “Call on Me” and Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” to underscore the “sexy workout” theme.
The top 20 announcement featured a nice, innovative touch especially since it followed the boxing fitness sequence–two or four contestants are asked to step forward, with one or a pair asked to go to Davina’s left side and the other to the right. Then the contestant or pair of contestants who would advance was then announced and Davina would raise the winning contestants’ arms like a boxing referee. There was a slight awkward moment when France and Malta were supposed to be one pair on one side and Suriname and Sri Lanka the other pair==France and Malta went on far opposite sides instead–so as France and Malta were announced as semifinalists, Davina was forced to raise Sri Lanka’s arm as he’s close beside her–this quartet was the only group that was pasaway (broke protocol).
Before I discuss the Top 20, let’s talk about the the guys who missed the cut. I’ll first give my personal Lucas Malvacini award, and that dubious distinction goes to United States (Walker Barnes). I thought his cuteness would be catnip for the judges, but it turns out he ended up among the bottom 11. I also bet on some black Africans making the cut but it seems the preliminary judges are just not into their exoticism unlike on the distaff side.
Now, let’s discuss the guys bubbling under the Top 25 starting with:
25TH PLACE: NETHERLANDS – Rudy Mallee. I will always remember him for his skimpy Speedos. I’m glad he got a bit of notice and avoided being relegated to the dreaded “Bottom 11”.
24TH PLACE: SRI LANKA – Shan Fernando. I thought Asha Bhat holds significant sway, but it seems she’s overruled when it comes to this guy that he couldn’t make the Top 20. Still making it this far in a pretty solid, competitive batch is nothing to frown upon.
23RD PLACE: ARGENTINA – Matt Ferrario. Height was indeed his disadvantage, but he registered well enough because of his handsomeness.
22ND PLACE: TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – AJ (Adam Josef). For many observers this might be their choice for the Lucas Malvacini, mainly on the basis of his Polish connection. But in a certain way, I’m glad merit prevailed as his facial features are not what many people would deem as handsome. At least he can console himself with the consolation that he came close, and he got some significant airtime as after the Top 20 announcement, Davina interviewed him as a representative of the non-finalists and he was a great, gracious spokesman.
21ST PLACE: EGYPT – Mohamed Medhat. I was doubtful of his prospects in my Homestretch review because in the preliminary swimsuit, fashion wear, and formal wear pictures he seemed to fizzle, but I saw some videos where he exuded a playful, goofy personality and there are some casual shots that showcase the same. He probably did not score that high in those preliminary rounds but rallied when it came to interview. It can be argued that his rightful place in the Top 20 was taken away by one of the “wildcard” winners, but more on that later.
COMING UP: THE TOP 20