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..
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
MALAYSIA – Voon Khong Lew. His main redeeming factors are communication skills and toned physique. Otherwise he doesn’t make serious inroads into the finals.
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.
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.
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…
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.
COMING UP: PARAGUAY to VIETNAM plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST