I’m generally pleased with the results, especially the choice for the ultimate winner. Though the buzzed-about favorites made the cut, there was room for some surprises. I got 11 of the Top 16 correct, six of the Top Nine, three of the Top Six, and one of the Final Three, but that one was the one that counted the most–the winner.
Of the guys I didn’t get, four were in my Bubbling Under list, so I deem them worthy enough. The one in my Striking Distance list was the host candidate, Thailand (Kittikun Tansuhat). I don’t find him charismatic enough, but with this year’s mix of judges consisting predominantly of Thai and Vietnamese personalities, you understand why he ended up faring as high as he did. Still I grouse that he took over one of the Top Six slots at the expense of one of my top favorites–more on that in my full-fledged review.
Now, let’s go to the Lucas Malvacini awardees. The fifth guy I thought would go far, I presumed was because I thought the prominent national director still held major influence like he did last year–Korea (Gooyoung Jung). Though he has merits, I’m glad influence-peddling is generally not as prominent (except for the host country). In fourth place is Guam (John Kanemoto)–he was not able to equal his placement in Manhunt International as despite having strong communication skills, they don’t dig him that much as they did in Manhunt.
Taking the bronze for the Lucas Malvacini award is Puerto Rico (Francisco Vergara). I thought his lean, rippled, sinewy physique and his Oriental eyes would give him an edge, but apparently he fell a tad short. A big shocker for me is the exclusion of Hong Kong (Kyle Lee) who takes silver, but in hindsight, perhaps his excellent communication skills and buffed-enough physique are not really enough for him to stand out and he may register as a tad effete to the judges’ tastes, and they prefer their contestants to be more virile. I pegged him as a possible upset Top Three choice, but that didn’t pan out.
Though I didn’t predict him to rank as high as Hong Kong, the winner of the Lucas Malvacini award is the handsome Poland (Jan Dratwicki). Lots of pageant fans and pundits (including myself) saw him as a shoo-in for the very least, as his communication skills are an improvement over his predecessor. Perhaps his interview skills are simply not good enough, but there are conspiracy theorists who noted there might be another factor at play–Alan Sim may have been livid that Poland created Mister Supranational that it stole this pageant’s thunder and prestige, and as Mister Polski (the national pageant for Poland), Jan is guaranteed to see action there later this year. Hope Alan Sim’s ire dissipates next year and let merit prevail.
It’s nice to salute that Netherlands has its breakthrough with Chris Veltkamp. This strapping 6’3″ gentleman won a lot of fans and the quality of his answer in the Top Six question-and-answer round was something pageant fans and pundits would debate that he deserves to advance to the Final Three instead of one of the actual finalists. Again, I’ll discuss more about that issue in my full-fledged review.
The two runners-up (Japan’s Masaya Yamagishi and Italy’s Vinicio Modelo) were heavily buzzed about favorites to begin with, so even if I only pegged them in my Top Six, I’m definitely fine with them earning their runner-up honors. Of course, I’m mighty happy that the Ultimate Beefcake Behemoth that is Lebanon (Paul Iskandar) won it all and brought forth his country’s third Mister International victory. Congratulations for a well-earned deserving victory!
All images courtesy of Jory RIvera for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.