11TH MISTER INTERNATIONAL: TRIUMPH OF THE ULTIMATE BEEFCAKE BEHEMOTH (PART 1)

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After the grand (albeit imperfect) presentation of the 10th Mister International in Manila at the end of November 2015, the expectations for the staging of the 11th edition naturally was scaled down a bit, especially since it endured a postponement due to the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  Hence the stage setup is spare with a stark black backdrop with singular video screen, a singular five -step platform, and a slightly elongated catwalk.  It’s generally spare to the point that it could be considered threadbare.  It’s actually a sleek look, but the budgetary constraints are obvious.  Clearly this pageant could no way yet answer the gauntlet thrown by the grander production delivered by Mister Supranational last December.

One element they got right was to not subject the contestants to cheesy pageant choreography for the opening unlike that cringeworthy costume dance during the last edition.  However, since the opening video did hot show the 35 contestants speaking to the camera, this would have been the perfect opportunity to add live introduction of the contestants in their costumes, but they chose to keep it spare and simply let them parade in their national costumes with voiceover country introduction and that’s it.  It resulted in a low-energy, even turgid opening sequence.

After an interlude featuring a Muay Thai demonstration (a welcome element showcasing the host country’s culture), the 35 contestants changed from their national costumes to model fashions from the brand Getz Emperor.  It looks like it’s a mix of streetwear and loungewear.  The obviously Oriental prints and embroidery on the robes and jackets do spark interest, but in my opinion it clearly pales behind the utterly elegant Francis Libiran formal wear fashion show in the previous edition.

I’ll be discussing the rest of the pageant proceedings and competition format as I discuss the Top 16.  The event was hosted by Filipino Ryan Tercero who was also the host of the last edition in Manila, this time accompanied by Miss Supranational 2010 4th runner-up Maythavee Burapasing.  Although some observers may find Ryan’s fey bombastic style a tad grating, he is a poised, competent host.  Now, many pageant fans also found Maythavee’s speaking voice irritating, but the thing is, she can’t help it–remember her first language is Thai, and Thai is a tonal language that makes speakers sound nasal (think Fran Drescher nasal, not French nasal).  You can’t force her to modulate her voice when her primary language is set up the way it is.  Otherwise she’s an okay host.  One thing that is highly welcome is that they don’t constantly read out the sponsors’ names throughout the show–the video screen does all the acknowledgements for them in between sequences, as it should be.

Before I discuss the Top 16, I will discuss two guys who missed the final cut but garnered special awards.

MISTER PHOTOGENIC:  PUERTO RICO – Francisco Vergara.  He’s a highly regarded contender who at least was granted a consolation by winning this award.  His Oriental eyes with his swarthy Latino features, along with his buffed body, do register very well on camera.

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BEST IN NATIONAL COSTUME:  NEPAL – Rokesh Tandukar.  It was already previously announced prior to the finals that he won this award, and it’s a nice touch that during the announcement of the special awards he got a special spotlight as he showcased his costume depicting a devil god.  As previously mentioned, his costume featured a mask, so it’s a rare national costume where we don’t see the wearer’s face.

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Now, let’s discuss the competition format.  Though Mister International copied the format directly from Miss Universe, good thing they still stuck with a Top 16 instead of Miss Universe’s Top 13.  So there are more quarter-finalists to appreciate.  I would also note that there was only one interview round in the Top Six–unlike in the recently concluded 65th edition, there are no live chit-chat when the Top 16 were called out–just like in Miss Universe 2015, though, instead of chit-chat we see video interviews for each of them.  The guys then changed into black Raenrra swimwear for the swimsuit competition.  I have to note just like in Miss Universe before the Top 16 shows up, the non-finalists would march onstage before the Top 16 would do their parade–but in this instance, each non-finalist actually got an individual moment in the spotlight as they actually came in one-by-one instead of en masse as practiced in Miss Universe.  It’s almost as if each of the non-finalists still got their individual moments in the spotlight as if they made the cut, too.  All of them walked to a remixed version of Bon Jovi’s 2000 hit “It’s My Life”.

PHILIPPINES – Miguel Guia.  It looks like he put in some last-minute sit-ups and some additional workouts to add definition to his frame.  Still, because he made it due to popular vote, if it weren’t for it we won’t have a presence in this group and obviously his physique is still the weakest of the Top 16.  The Thais and Vietnamese apparently felt there is no need to rally their bets for the online votes as they are more confident of making the cut in this arena.  At least he was able to salvage our campaign in this pageant and sustain a four-year-streak.

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MEXICO – Manoly Diaz.  His good looks, buffed physique, and outgoing personality are worthy of belonging here, though compared to other Latinos out there, he faded a bit.  After not advancing to the Top Nine, he was conspicuously absent in the non-Top-Nine formal wear march–it was reported after not making the cut he left the venue to catch his flight back to Mexico.  Why did he do that?  I speculate it wasn’t because he was upset by the results as by all accounts these 35 contestants developed a brotherly camaraderie–I think it was because of his (or his director’s) lack of awareness of how timezones work, he scheduled his return flight too early (like thinking that leaving at midnight or dawn on February 14 Bangkok time is the same as midnight or dawn February 14 Mexico time–he should’ve booked a February 14 flight later in the evening or an early morning February 15 flight).

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AUSTRALIA – James Carne.  As expected there is a slot open for the “little-cutie-that-could” and that went to this guy.  He does have handsomeness, charisma, and a buffed physique to belong here.  He also earned a Mister Congeniality award.  Hope this country continues to field contestants of this standard unlike the debacles of 2012 and 2013.

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SRI LANKA – Daniel Rene Dezilva Wijewardena.  This guy has a bright sparkle and strong communication skills to accompany his boyish good looks and buffed physique.  He was awarded by Oxin Entertainment (the team that filmed those well-produced videos for this pageant) as Mister Telegenic.

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BRAZIL – Ivo Cavalcanti.  Admittedly I only placed him on my “Bubbling Under” list but it turns out Alan Sim and company have a stronger preference for the masculine, beefy types like this one, and so, they advanced in lieu of, say, Hong Kong (Kyle Lee) or Guam (John Kanemoto).  He probably only missed the cut by a few slivers, along with…

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VENEZUELA – Walfred Crespo.  See BRAZIL.  He does radiate a gregarious smile.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Josef Kurka.  See BRAZIL and VENEZUELA.  With his badass tattoos, he exudes a the most testosterone of this aforementioned trio.

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COMING UP:  THE TOP NINE

Images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide and Drew Francisco for Missosology unless otherwise indicated.

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