Daily Archives: February 13, 2017

11TH MISTER INTERNATIONAL: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

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PARAGUAY – Jose Lucas Barros Lima.  He’s good looking and beefy, but he hasn’t quite garnered much buzz.  I consider him a worthwhile contender.

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PHILIPPINES – Miguel Guia.  Unlike his previous two predecessors, he has a strong command of English.  He also possesses a handsome, swarthy appeal, and looks great in fashionable clothes.  However many are criticizing about the lack of definition of his physique–he could be potentially this year’s equivalent of Siera Bearchell, demonstrating that physique definition is not a prerequisite for fitness.  But the difference is, Siera possesses eloquence that helped her turn a “disadvantage” into an “advantage”, and as well-spoken as Miguel is, I doubt he possesses Siera’s eloquence.  At this point his best prospects for making the final cut is to win the popular vote.

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POLAND – Jan Dratwicki.  He seems a stronger communicator than Rafal Jonkisz, and he has that boyish European handsome appeal plus a buffed bod (and a Dino Nicolina  runner-up from his swimsuit pics).  It seems he could be the top Eastern European of this batch.

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PUERTO RICO – Francisco Vergara.  He pales compared to his predecessor, Mister World 2016 1st runner-up Fernando Alvarez, but his swarthy appeal and rippled physique cannot be underestimated.  He looks bound for an inside track for the finals.

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RUSSIA – Emil Faizulin.  At 28 years old, he’s one of the more “mature” contestants in this group, and he also registers as such.  He does have a handsomeness, though, unlike that notorious 2012 representative from Australia (*shudder*).

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SINGAPORE – Sebastian Foo.  I think it’s a given that any Singaporean contestant in any male international pageant is guaranteed to have a supremely buffed physique like this guy.  The only problem is the charisma factor is touch-and-go–sometimes the guy has it, like, say, Manhunt International 2012 4th runner-up Jason Chee, or like this guy, doesn’t.

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SPAIN – Daniel Torres.  He’s a replacement for another Daniel, surnamed Rodriguez, who made headlines for being an out homosexual.  It’s such a missed opportunity for this pageant to make a diversity statement (a la Denmark’s now legendary Sy Lee at Manhunt 2016 though it looks like Daniel Rodriguez is not flamboyantly effete like Sy is) as the original winner chose to opt out of competing here.  Some might be dismissive of this guy’s prospects of winning as a result, but looking at all the pictures, he oozes abundant charisma and sex appeal in all of them, and he exudes a friendly outgoing personality.  Arguably, he also has the best physique out of everyone, too–is that an eight-pack?  His 6’1″ stature could also allow him to hold his own against the Ultimate Beefcake Behemoth that is Mister Lebanon.  Many pundits are hyping Italy as the main obstacle of his roommate’s path to the title, but I think this guy is the bigger threat to Paul Iskandar’s presumptive victory.  If Alan Sim and company find Lebanon too intimidating, he could be a highly appealing choice as a winner.

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The original Spanish rep, Daniel Rodriguez

P.S. From his appearance at the Haeyu launch, it looks like he shaved off his facial hair–he might be strategizing that this is the way he can stand out against a band of scruffy men.  It unlocks a different kind of handsomeness and he looks smashing, though I marginally prefer his original look.  He also looks like the sort whose five-o-clock shadow comes in at noon, so it’s conceivable we’ll see him with facial hair again during the finals.  Let’s see if his strategy pays off.

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New look at the Haeyu launch gala.

SRI LANKA – Daniel Rene DeZilva Wijawardena.  By default he’s the darkest-complexioned candidate in this year’s pageant–and he’s lighter skinned than most of his compatriots who saw action in this pageant.  He’s also a high quality contender with a doe-eyed handsomeness and strong communication skills.  It is conceivable he can overtake India and be the Southern-Asian-most-likely to make the final cut here.

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THAILAND – Kittikun Tansuhat.  Many pageant fans and pundits groused at his Mister Photogenic award at the preliminary competition, complaining he lacked the charisma to be worthy of that award.  Compared to the formidable East Asian contingent, plus India and Sri Lanka, and his peers from Southeast Asia, he doesn’t quite stand out especially if he combed his hair down to a bowl cut.  He does look better when he combed his hair up, though.  But his chances of making the cut would probably be because of host country factor–but then again, back in 2011, this country didn’t advance and it was held there.

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U S A – Anthony Perez.  He’s arguably the best looking representative from this powerful nation in recent years.  That being said, he is overshadowed by sterling contenders out there and reports of him being ill during the preliminary interviews does not bode well for his prospects.

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VENEZUELA – Walfred Crespo.  He’s the classic swarthy Latino, and he oozes a lot of appeal that is worthy of his country’s banner.  He looks like he has an inside track to the finals but it’s pretty crowded competing for a few slots.

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VIETNAM – Nguyen Tien Dat.  Arguably he’s the strongest bet amongst the Southeast Asian contingent this year.  He has that cuteness and boyish appeal that can go far in this competition.  It’s not common that this country takes the lead over the pageant-power-triumvirate of Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines.

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With all 35 contestants accounted for, allow me to trot out my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  ITALY, LEBANON, SPAIN

SHOO-INs:  HONG KONG, JAPAN, POLAND

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, GUAM, INDIA, KOREA, LATVIA, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, PUERTO RICO, SRI LANKA, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM

TRADITIONAL FACTOR:  INDONESIA, THAILAND

POPULAR VOTE FACTOR:  PHILIPPINES

EXCELLENT:  BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, CHINA, EL SALVADOR, PARAGUAY

VERY STRONG:  CANADA, RUSSIA, SINGAPORE, U S A

STRONG:  CAMBODIA, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, MYANMAR

It looks like this pageant will follow Miss Universe’s lead and do a 9-6-3 format.  I’m not sure if the initial cut would still be a Top 15/16 (with popular vote) or will they also imitate a Top 12.  I’ll presume a Top 16 so here is my “fearful” forecast:

FINAL THREE:  HONG KONG, LEBANON, SPAIN

TOP SIX:  ITALY, JAPAN, POLAND

TOP NINE:  KOREA, NETHERLANDS, VIETNAM

TOP 15:  AUSTRALIA, GUAM, INDIA, LATVIA, PUERTO RICO, SRI LANKA

POPULAR VOTE:  PHILIPPINES

BUBBLING UNDER:  BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, MEXICO, VENEZUELA

STRIKING DISTANCE:  BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, CHINA, EL SALVADOR, INDONESIA, PARAGUAY, THAILAND

It’s interesting that this year, the region making the biggest splash is the Mediterranean, with three of the hottest hunks looking the most winnable.  It is also interesting to see if there is room for  traditional Southeast Asian powerhouses to make inroads, especially with the onslaught of East Asians like Hong Kong and Japan.   Can Hong Kong use his charm to break down the powerhosue Mediterranean trio?  Let’s see how it all unfolds tonight.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

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The YUUUUUUGE favorites to win: Italy, Lebanon, and Spain.

11TH MISTER INTERNATIONAL: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

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INDIA – Mudit Malhotra.  I’m very much pleased that this time India fielded a guy with Bollywood-level charisma.  He has a rugged handsomeness and buffed physique to be a front-running contender.  However as the week wore on, I have a feeling that he sometimes register as a tad too rough (the same argument that could be said about Czech Republic) that I wonder how well Alan Sim and company respond to that.  I’m still keeping my faith and hope he makes the final cut and maybe even all the way to the Top Six..

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INDONESIA – Richard Lim.  Traditionally this country is a powerhouse in this pageant, with consistent placements throughout this pageant’s history (missing the cut only twice thus far) and having achieved three runner-up finishes thus far.  It’s not certain if this guy can sustain that streak as even if he has a defined physique, he doesn’t quite exude the charisma of his East Asian counterparts like Hong Kong and Japan.  He might end up one of this country’s rare blips in an otherwise sterling run.

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ITALY – Vinicio Modolo.  There are pageant fans and pundits salivating over this guy and he’s deemed one of the big front-runners.  Yes, his handsomeness is off-the-charts, and his lean physique sinewy and defined.  But I sense a bit of rawness that I’m not betting on him winning the whole thing.  But he is likely to place high, and probably going to be pulled up by his roommate (more on him later).

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JAPAN – Masaya Yamagishi.  He is making a big splash with his come-hither sex appeal, from his steamy appearance in the swimsuit video to his skimpily short yukata with mock fundoshi.  While Brazil’s steaminess can be overwhelming, his sensuality is of a refined, subtle kind that he could be the second-strongest Asian besides Hong Kong this year.

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This is how his costume looks from the front. (Image courtesy of Drew Francisco for Missosology)

KOREA – Gooyoung Jung.  He has good looks and a fit physique, and I feel his semifinal slot is secured as I feel his national director still holds significant sway in Alan Sim’s organization.  But going as far as his surprising-and-controversial predecessor is far from assured as attention is gravitated towards Hong Kong and Japan.

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LATVIA – Matiss Pastars.  He garnered heavy compliments for his statuesque frame, handsomeness, and buffed physique.  He can make serious inroads into the finals, but attention seems to be more focused on Poland at this point.

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LEBANON – Paul Iskandar.  You wouldn’t miss him in a crowd, as he stands at a huge 6’6″ with a beefy muscular frame.  But not only is he YUUUUUUUUGE (as Donald Trump would put it) in stature and physique, he is also YUUUUUUUUUUGE in… handsomeness and charisma *3  His face has this dreaminess that makes girls (and others) swoon.  He won a special award for “Mister Personality” after the preliminary evening wear competition, but on video, he doesn’t seem as outgoing as I typically expect from guys from his nation.  But perhaps off-camera and behind-the-scenes he sparkles.  He’s my favorite to win, and he can bring forth his country’s record third victory in this pageant.

*3 What do you think I’m going to say, you expect me to go into Jonas Sulzbach territory, huh?  I can’t confirm that as I feel only the webmaster of a popular-yet-controversial pageant website and his companions covering this pageant would know that for sure.

P.S.  His roommate is Mister Italy.  Many fans and pundits are hyping them to be the last two standing.

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Here is a scale indicator of his size compared to everyone else.
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Italy helping fix his roommate’s banner

MALAYSIA – Voon Khong Lew.  His main redeeming factors are communication skills and toned physique.  Otherwise he doesn’t make serious inroads into the finals.

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MEXICO – Manoly Diaz.  He has a swarthy appeal, and in early photos he stood out, but buzz faded a bit as the week wore on.  His pre-arrival photo submission may indicate he could be in contention for the Dino Nicolina award, but quickly Brazil stepped in and wrested it away from him.  Still he’s very much in contention.

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Dino Nicolina candidate, pre-arrival

MYANMAR – Kyi Phyu Aung.  Myanmar language lesson–“ky” sounds like “ch”.  So his first name is pronounced “Chee”.  In real-world terms, he can be considered appealing, but in stratified pageant standards, he stuck out like street boy who stumbled upon this pageant and gave it a go.

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NEPAL – Rokesh Thandukar.  See MYANMAR.  Thank goodness he trimmed off that late-19th century handlebar mustache and joined the ranks of the 21st.  He was reportedly announced as winner of Best National Costume.  It’s well deserved, though it’s interesting that it’s a costume that covers his face…

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Nepal and his handlebar mustache.

NETHERLANDS – Chris Veltkamp.  He could be his country’s best bet for making a breakthrough.  He possesses the handsomeness, personality, and physique to make serious inroads, and if it weren’t for the presence of that unstoppable giant Mister Lebanon, his 6’3″ stature is impressive.  I’m rooting for him to succeed.

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COMING UP:  PARAGUAY to VIETNAM plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST

11TH MISTER INTERNATIONAL: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

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The 11th Mister International was initially intended to be staged in Thailand in mid-November 2016.  However on 13 October, the beloved king Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away and brought the entire nation into a mourning period that staging this pageant didn’t feel appropriate for that time.  So it was rescheduled for February 2017, which paralleled what happened two editions ago.  However, unlike the chaotic 9th edition, which not only rescheduled the date twice it even changed the finals date by one day while the pageant activities were underway, the rescheduled dates in this edition are being firmly followed, with a tight and productive seven-day schedule leading to a pre-Valentine’s Day finale.

There was a mild attrition this year as there are 35 contestants from last year’s 36.  Conspicuously absent are countries that fielded semifinalists and finalists lass year like Panama, Sweden, and the country of the reigning Mister International, Switzerland.  There are no contestants of African descent in this year’s batch, too*1.  There is a debate if this year’s batch improved upon last year’s batch–last year featured a host of at least 10 stellar standouts but also had its share of dud-dy dudes.  This year, there are fewer stellar standouts but most of the pack are well-regarded strong contenders and the dud-dy dudes seem fewer.  But one thing is clearer–they amped up the steam factor this year with those near-revealing white Raenrra swimwear.  If last year’s batch were guys you want to marry, this year’s batch feature guys you want to be ravished by.

*1 Originally Switzerland is supposed to field Yann Aka but somehow his participation fell through for unknown reasons (scheduling conflicts, lack of proper arrangements, or personal issues, perhaps?).  He would’ve been the sole black male contestant if he made it.

AUSTRALIA – James Carne.  The key issue that I noticed about him is his height, but otherwise he exudes an outgoing personality and his handsomeness and buffness are undeniable.  But then again, there usually is a handsome short guy who makes the cut, and this guy could fit the bill as this year’s “little-cutie-that-could”.

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BELGIUM – Mitchell Spruyt.  He’s handsome with a lean physique.  However, he’s overshadowed by the rest of the pack and his physique seemed to lack tone and definition.

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BOLIVIA – Alex Limpias.  Physically he’s a major improvement from the previous year’s representative, though perhaps his predecessor had stronger communication skills (though this guy is a good-enough communicator in his native language).  There are Latino contenders that seem to be overshadowing him but he’s a worthwhile contender.

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BRAZIL – Ivo Cavalcanti.  On his own, he is great looking with oodles of sex appeal, though his predecessor, 1st runner-up Anderson Tomazini, was way more charismatic and handsomer.  I wonder how well Alan SIm and his organization would appreciate his upfront sensuality–would this quality allow him to make the final cut?  Anyway, from more candid swimsuit pics, I would hand him the Dino Nicolina award*2  I wonder if he’s a grower because, well if he is, we are talking about something incredible like Mister World 2010 semifinalist Jonas Sulzbach.  Another piquant note–he could be considered the guy responsible for shuttling Kim Ross Delos Santos‘ Bb. Pilipinas dreams (she was considered an erstwhile frontrunner along with Maxine Medina and Kylie Versoza) as a leaked test shot featuring him and Kim led to her disqualification.

*2 Dino Nicolina was Manhunt Curacao back in 2000 who placed 4th runner-up.  He’s well known for how he bulges prominently in his Speedos.

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Dino Nicolina awardee

CAMBODIA – Yoeung Samneang.  To his credit, he’s more polished than his predecessor, and he has an enviably buffed physique.  He’s also arguably the shortest guy in this year’s competition, so though he is commendable, it’s an uphill battle for him to make inroads.  Anyway, I’m glad he ditched his peroxided hair from his submission photo and reverted back to his natural hair color.

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CANADA – Chris Snyder.  He’s a tall boyish cutie, but perhaps too boyish for this pageant.

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CHINA – Shihao Qu.  He’s actually a solid contender, but it seems attention is focused towards Hong Kong.  Not sure if there are enough slots for him to make the final cut as his charisma is a tad muted.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Josef Kurka.  He’s a beefy, burly “daddy” type, though he’s only a mere 25 years old.  I dig him a lot, but does Alan Sim & Co. appreciate his “rougher” type?

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EL SALVADOR – Robin Balses.  He has a passing resemblance to Mister World 2012 Francisco Escobar of Colombia, but his charisma is a tad muted that attention is diverted towards other Latino standouts.  Still, he could pull off a sleeper surprise and make the final cut.

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Mister World 2012 Francisco Escobar

GUAM – John Kanemoto.  He grew back his facial hair after his Manhunt International stint.  Though it’s not 100% assured, he may make serious inroads to the finals as besides his lean, sinewy physique and Asian handsomeness he also has good communication skills.

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HONG KONG – Kyle Lee.  It’s easy to remember his name as all you need to think of is the Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue (yes, I’m squarely in the Minogue camp in the copyright battle between Miss Minogue and Kardashian-related Miss Jenner).  He has that boyish cutie appeal that could make serious inroads, and I have a feeling he had charmed the hell out of Alan Sim and other judges as he does have a bright, outgoing personality and superb communication skills.  He could make it all the way to the Final Three, and is arguably the strongest Asian in this year’s batch.

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COMING UP:  INDIA to NETHERLANDS

Swimwear and National Costume images courtesy of Klickbox Photography, Streetwear images courtesy of Oat Nutphon, and Evening Wear images courtesy of Drew Francisco for Missosology unless otherwise indicated.