NETHERLANDS – Kelly van den Dungen.  She’s a gorgeous lady who seems to tick all the boxes.  She looks like she has an inside track for the Top 20 with possible traction to advance further to the Top 10 and even Top Five.

NEW ZEALAND – Meghan Kenney.  Anyone who watched the stand-alone swimsuit competition would notice this lady’s vital statistics include a 29-inch waistline.  Yes, it is reflected that she does look thicker than many beauty queens, but I have to hand it to her–she actually looks fit and healthy, and all that heft seems to be evenly distributed and she actually looks good.  But even though she won’t be receiving Nawat’s blessings, we need to salute her for showcasing that fitness can come in a larger size (much better than Canada’s Siera Bearchell was able to demonstrate back at Miss Universe).  She embodies the empowering message delivered by another Meghan, Meghan Trainor, in her mega-smash “All About That Bass”.

NICARAGUA – Martha Soledad Meza.  This slender, fair-complexioned, raven-tressed Latina is part of the P.A.T.I.S. crew alongside DENMARK and LEBANON.

NIGERIA – Princess Omowunmi Agunbiade.  She possesses a wide, bright smile that is often framed by a dark-red-shade of lipstick.  She’s the last to arrive in the competition, missing out on the National Costume parade.  She had a mishap in the evening gown round of the preliminary competition as her train got caught between the two microphone stands after introducing herself, requiring a stagehand to extricate her from her predicament.

NORTHERN IRELAND – Chloe Louise Davies.  She’s a comely, slender blonde, arguably the prettiest from the British Isles contingent.  Not sure if she delivered enough to make the Top 20 but she’s a worthwhile contender.

PANAMA – Andrea Torres.  She’s a bit on the thick side, though in real-world standards she would be classified as very fit.  She’s also a tad raw onstage, as she had obvious difficulty navigating through with her flouncy white evening gown.  She’s arguably the weakest link of the normally formidable “P” group.

PARAGUAY – Lia Duarte Ashmore.  I find her features a tad angular but she has been receiving heavy buzz and is touted as one of the favorites for the Top FIve.  She has a lean model’s frame, and she does deliver the goods on stage.  She’s not my personal choice for the Top Five, but I would not be that surprised if she made it.

PERU – Maria Jose Lora.  SInce the early goings of this pageant, she is touted as the favorite to win it all.  And everything seems to point to that inevitable victory as she seems to be running on all cylinders whenever she appears, and this is especially most evident in the preliminary competition, particularly as she showcased va-va-voom sexiness in her nude sheath gown and in swimsuit.  She’s also a strong communicator, so it’s inconceivable to imagine any scenario without her in the Top FIve at the very least.  She will vindicate her predecessor (another big favorite to win) Priscila Howard‘s shut out in the Top FIve round last year.

PHILIPPINES – Elizabeth Durado Clenci.  What is clear is that she’s one of the most stylish candidates in the year’s pageant.  Of course she also has superb stage chops and an excellent command of English (since she’s half-Australian).  But equalling or exceeding Nicole Cordoves’s 1st runner-up finish last year?  That’s a bit of a challenge as it looks like it’s Peru’s to lose.  Not to mention, arguably garnering heavier buzz were her Southeast Asian counterparts from similarly pageant-ga-ga countries of Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.  A Top Five finish is still an achievable goal–let’s see if all things will fall in her favor.

PORTUGAL – Diana Sofia Santos.  Traditionally this country would be the weakest link in the formidable “P-Group”, and albeit she’s a tad unpolished, she at least has redeemable good looks.

PUERTO RICO – Brenda Azaria Jiménez.  I don’t really find her conventionally pretty, but this Miss Universe veteran (she competed in Manila earlier this year) has the drive and polish to create a strong impression.  Sympathy for the havoc wrought by Hurricane Maria may also work in her favor and help her land in the Top FIve.

RUSSIA – Svetlana Khokhlova.  This slender blonde seems to have made serious inroads into the Top 20 with her parlaying her enviable model’s frame with strong stage presence.

SCOTLAND – Amy Meisak.  This blonde is attractive but didn’t quite make an impact.  She’s similarly in the P.A.T.I.S. crew like DENMARK, LEBANON, and NICARAGUA.

SERBIA – Maja Smiljković.  She has a pretty face, but it’s overwhelmed by her huge mass of wavy curls, not to mention styling issues and a heftier-than-current-pageant-standards figure.

SIERRA LEONE – Nyallay Sia.  She looks best if she ties her hair (or weave) back instead off letting it messily go all over her.  I find her good looking with a trim figure and good stage presence.  However, creating a sheer red lace overlay over a white animal-print cocktail dress does not make an evening gown.

SLOVAKIA – Klaudia Kurucz.  Heavier attention seems to be towards her Czech counterpart but this brunette held her own and made a strong impression with her pretty face and trim figure.



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