MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2017: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

 

NETHERLANDS – Rodrigo Mallee.  The special award accorded to him, Best Stage TV Movie Model, is a very apt award as he has aspirations for an entertainment career.  Too bad we could only see him in regulation Ricky Abad swimwear, as I miss seeing him in skimpy Speedos in his stint at last year’s Mister Supranational.  Anyway, he has a good shot of making the semifinals.

NEW ZEALAND – Said Constantine.  For those who like the mature, beefy bodybuilder types, this is your guy.  Too bad his type is not that appreciated in this contest–with a glaring exception for the guy representing Mongolia back in 2011.

PHILIPPINES – Daniel Azurin.  Many pageant fans and pundits rejoiced when it was announced that renowned queen-maker Jonas Gaffud now holds the Philippine franchise for this pageant.  Many are salivating at the prospect that we can repeat June Macasaet‘s victory very soon with him at the helm.  But what about his choice for this year’s pageant, does he meet that lofty standard?  To be blunt, he falls short, but he has undeniable merits that would at least allow us to secure a semfinalist finish.  His face is what I would describe as native-handsome, but so far he doesn’t quite generate much charisma with it.  His buffed body, though, tells a different story,  as it is roaring loudly.  Swimwear sponsor Ricky Abad decided to go the patriotic route and give him the Ricky Abad sponsor’s award.

POLAND – Piotr Zyjewski.  He’s classically handsome and has a defined physique, albeit on the lean side.  He won a 2nd runner-up prize from Gentle People Thailand, a pageant organizer.  I’m bullish of his prospects for a semifinalist finish.

PUERTO RICO – Jose Valdes.  He’s the sole black representative in this year’s pageant, and he’s likely to go far as he has the charisma, buffed physique and sex appeal prized in this pageant.  He garnered a special award for Gold Haute Couture, and based on the awarding there was a modeling picture of him as part of the prize.

SINGAPORE – Muhammad Hassanal Bin Ruslan.  He’s the last to arrive in Thailand.  He has a superbly buffed physique and a native Malay appeal similar to PHILIPPINES.  Now it would pose an interesting question–if there isn’t room for both Philippines and Singapore to make the cut, which would they prioritize, a handsomer face, or a beefier buffed physique?  Anyway e won a sponsor’s prize from Gentle People Thailand, 1st runner-up honors for their special award.

SOUTH AFRICA – Dylan van Niekerk.  His geeky face does have its cute appeal, but his best ticket to make inroads is his buffed physique.  Would his physique be enough to make the judges forget is Howdy Doody face?

SRI LANKA – Mohamed Wazeem Cammar.  He does ooze with sex appeal and he loves teasingly pulling down his RIcky Abad swimming trunks to reveal a bit more skin.  He’s not conventionally handsome, but he looks like he has an inside track to the semifinals.  He won a special award from sponsor Siam House Village.

Flashing more flesh (photo courtesy of Gentle People Thailand)

SWEDEN – Pedram Tahmi-Masoleh.  Based from his name I think he’s actually of Persian descent, which explains his swarthy appeal.  Global Beauties reportedly polled five former female beauty queens, and they felt this guy is the most appealing of the bunch, and hence he’s granted a Global Beauties special award.  He does seem to have an inside track to make the final cut.  I wonder why he missed the national costume photo shoot?  Was his luggage containing a replica of the Swedish soccer team uniform missing during that shoot that it only became available for the pre-judging round?

THAILAND – Kongnat Choeisuwan.  There are some casual photos where his charisma seems turned off, but when it’s on, he sparkles.  It is highly possible he’ll get a ticket to the Top Five.  There is also this interesting swimsuit photo shot by Gentle People Thailand, as in that shot, he seems to be aiming for the Dino Nicolina Award.  He won a special award for Best Performance–don’t know what merits that award, but his prospects of making the Top Five seems more assured as the previous winner of this award was Angola’s Mauricio Eusebio, who eventually ended up 3rd runner-up.

Aiming for the Dino Nicolina award? (Image courtesy of Gentle People Thailand)

TURKEY – Uygar Taze.  He’s another relative latecomer with SINGAPORE.  He possesses a scruffy handsomeness that may have garnered him that Best Prince special award (a weird award I know–is this for regal bearing?).  If they think his slender frame is buffed enough, he can make the final cut.

VIETNAM – Truong Ngoc Tinh.  I don’t find him handsome, but the Thais find him so appealing he got a special award for Face of the Year.  I probably would’ve given that award to Lebanon or even Nepal, but well, the Thais are entitled to their own opinion.  He does have a buffed physique so combined with Thai favoritism he might be setting his sights for the Top FIve.

With all 37 contestants accounted for, as is customary I shall trot out my Leaderboard, as follows:

TOP CONTENDERS:  GREECE, LEBANON, THAILAND

SHOO-INS:  COSTA RICA, NEPAL, VIETNAM

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, FERNANDO DE NORONHA, GUAM, HONG KONG, INDONESIA, NETHERLANDS, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SINGAPORE, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN, TURKEY

EXCELLENT:  BULGARIA, EGYPT, KOREA, MACAU, MACEDONIA, MONGOLIA, SOUTH AFRICA

VERY STRONG:  CHINA, FRANCE, INDIA, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, NEW ZEALAND

STRONG:  CHINESE-TAIPEI, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GERMANY, LAOS,

And now, my “Fearful” Forecast:

WINNER:  LEBANON

TOP FIVE:  COSTA RICA, GREECE, THAILAND, VIETNAM

TOP 15:  AUSTRALIA, FERNANDO DE NORONHA, HONG KONG, INDONESIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN

BUBBLING UNDER:  BRAZIL, GUAM, SINGAPORE, TURKEY

STRIKING DISTANCE:  BULGARIA, EGYPT, KOREA, MACAU, MACEDONIA, MONGOLIA, SOUTH AFRICA.

I think it’s almost a lock for LEBANON to win this pageant, though there is a 5-10% chance that THAILAND may pull off an upset.  Let’s see how this all unfolds tonight.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2017: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

GUAM – Samuel Hashimoto.  Wonder what does a Best Charm award mean, exactly?  Anyway it’s interesting that based on his name he shares the same Japanese heritage as his successful predecessor, Jon Kanemoto.  He may make the final cut with his Asian boyish features, but I still think his predecessor was better.

HONG KONG – Zhang Jian.  Another baffling special award is Best Masculine Charm won by this guy.  Yes, he is masculine and appealing (the best from the Mainland Chinese trio) and he has the best prospects of advancing to the semifinals, though I don’t think he’ll duplicate Ba Te Er‘s 1st runner-up showing last year.

INDIA – Madhusudhan R.  I wonder if for religious purposes he is insistent of keeping his full beard.  I appreciate his swarthy beefy appeal, but I’m not sure Alex Liu and the Thais share that opinion and are not yet ready for his sort to make inroads.

INDONESIA – Andry Permadi.  He knows how to strike fierce poses in his national costume, and though I find his face a bit too Asian boy-next-door, I think he has a strong chance of making the final cut.

KOREA – Kim SeongMin.  He’s one of the tallest contestants is this pageant, towering over many of these guys.  Will his height be enough to appeal to the judges?  He does have polish, but is his lean, sinewy frame a bit too skinny for their tastes?

LAOS – Chantahore Vilaysarn.  Not only is this country debuting in the female pageant realm, they are also dipping their toes in this arena with this guy.  Sponsor Loo Chang Huat liked him enough to grant him 2nd runner-up honors for the Loo Chang Huat Model award.  I think he should treat this as te highlight of his stint here.

LEBANON – Gaetan Osman.  This country has already made a huge splash in other major international pageants, but has not really made as strong an impact in this pageant, although four semifinalist finishes are nothing to sneeze at and it can be argued its previous entry, Bilal Zaweel, was its best showing yet (unofficially 6th place, I’ve heard).  Between Bilal and this guy, I would still find Bilal more (ravishingly) desirable, but I think this is this country’s best shot for finally winning this contest.  He may have come in with a mustache in the early parts of the competition, but shaving it reveals that classic handsomeness that Alex Liu and company prizes.  He looks great either way.  He got a special award called The One Award–I wonder if this is foreshadowing his eventual win in this contest?

MACAU – Tan Shuai.  There might be Chinese people who would find him appealing.  Anyway, he garnered an award for Best Image Representative–perhaps they feel he can be a good product endorser, somehow.

F.Y.R. MACEDONIA – Vladimir Dimitrievski.  He’s boyishly handsome, but his less-than-toned slender frame is not something that this pageant values.

MALAYSIA – Gan Kai Han.  He has a nice smile, but his main selling point is basically his beefy, rippled bod.  Would that be enough for him to make the cut?

MONGOLIA – Battur Batbaatar.  I find his long forelocks a bit edgy, but I’m not sure if that would be enough for him to make the final cut.  I don’t understand how he got the Best Sunshine Smile special award as I don’t quite see anything sunshine-y about his photos–perhaps he’s a perky chipper fellow behind-the-scenes?

MYANMAR – Kaung Khant Thu.  See INDONESIA, albeit not as handsome but sharing a similar appeal.

NEPAL – Samim Khan.  Though I have issues with his costume, which I find looks very cheesy and homemade, I find him to be the handsomest among the guys from the Indian Subcontinent.  He also has a buffed physique too.  I was actually rating him as one of the front-runners, but buzz seems to be muted about him for some odd reason.  Even if he didn’t win any special award thus far, I’m rooting for him to go far.  He’s arguably the best representative this country has ever sent to any male international pageant.

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

MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2017: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

By staging a new edition after its revival last year, we can now declare Manhunt International is back for real.  Admittedly there are some slight worrying signs with an attrition from 43 to 37 contestants this year, a level that has not been seen since the 2000 edition, and the Thai organizers only scheduled a six-day itinerary of activities when most major pageants typically schedule a full week at the very least.  However, it turned out to be a well-stacked itinerary for that limited time, as there are some charity work and the contestants immersing in Thai culture on top of the photo shoots and competition matters.  And I have to thank Missosology and Drew Francisco for providing us with important coverage of this event (okay, yes, Global Beauties also has coverage but they came a bit later in the game).

Anyway, how do the 37 contestants stand compared to previous batches?  To be honest, they kinda pale behind the heady standards of 2012, but there are still worthwhile guys to appreciate, starting with…

AUSTRALIA – Zaine Pringle.  He has that classic blond boy looks that I know have many adherents, though I don’t really dig it that much.  He won this sponsor’s prize for Thai Catwalk Choice Award–if that award is what I think it is, he might have an inside track to the semifinals with that skill.

BRAZIL – Christian Fin.  He has a scruffy handsomeness that I like.  However he wasn’t awarded with any special award, so I wonder how would that bode for him making the cut?  I still am optimistic he’ll make it.

BULGARIA – Georgi Valkov.  He has a cute boyish vibe, although not in any way classically handsome.  He won a special award for “Best Vigor”.  Wonder what that award means–an energetic attitude across various events?

CHINA – Han Liang.  Yes, he has a buffed bod, but his face does not qualify as handsome.  But then again this pageant seems to be heavily beholden to this country so they might make room for him in the semifinals–oh, I hope not, for justice’s sake.

CHINESE TAIPEI – Shen Ying Bin.  In real-world terms he’s good-looking, though it seems he’s gunning for the male equivalent of Siera Bearchell or Migbelis Castellanos with his bulky frame.  One of the sponsors, Loo Chang Huat, decided to give him a first runner-up prize for the Loo Chang Huat Model award.  Again, I don’t really understand the significance of that award except perhaps it’s a sponsor’s whim (just like the other whimsical awards that were handed out as you read on).

COSTA RICA – Richard Coronado.  I find him one of the handsomest in this year’s contest.  However he looks awkward in most photographs, that I feel he doesn’t quite know how to properly model yet, so I can’t really rank him as one of the front-runners.  He got a special award as Best Sexy Model, so perhaps the Thai sponsors found him sexually appealing somehow.  But then I remember last year and recall that Denmark’s Sy Lee also garnered this distinction–read that as you may.  It seems the Thais have a 180-degree difference in notion of what is sexy compared to the Chinese last year, but then again, Sy Lee is like a special unicorn who you don’t regularly see in major male pageants.  Now the question is–was he able to polish up his act when it counted?  I’m hoping he’ll make the cut.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Mike Jacobi.  As much as finally Alex Liu is developing a tolerance for facial hair, I don’t think it spills over to long hair, and this guy’s plain features do not help matters.  Okay, let’s give him credit for his buffed bod, but so many others have this quality too.

EGYPT – Ammar Darweesh.  He’s an example of a boyishly cute Arab.  There are people who might find him appealing, but I feel he didn’t quite stand out to the Thais’ reckoning.

FERNANDO DE NORONHA – Diego Michel Jacome Bautista.  Many pageant observers and pundits feel he should be a lock for one of the semifinalist spots, but like Brazil he didn’t win a special award.   Still, I will not count him out and I feel he still has what it takes to make the cut.

FRANCE – Jocelyn Rigaux.  He’s boyishly handsome with a trim, slender frame.  I have a feeling that slender frame may be an obstacle to his prospects for making the semifinals.

GERMANY – Leotrim Gjugja.  Based on his name, he has Slavic roots.  He actually has potential, but he doesn’t know how to tap it yet and as a result he registers as raw and unpolished.

GREECE – Spyros Spinoulas.  He is of the classic Manhunt mold with a classic manly handsomeness and the chiseled bod of a Greek god.  But some might say perhaps this look is already dated, but I think this organization is still slightly resistant to change so he will have a ticket in the Top Five.

COMING UP:  GUAM to NEPAL