To make up for the breakdown announcement of the Top 16 for each of the three prejudging criteria, this year’s Miss Earth integrate the announcement of the initial two cuts with the respective competition. So, the Top 16 announcement also serves as an evening gown competition–it seems in this portion, the ladies wear their “secondary” evening gowns as there is another evening gown portion that will follow for the Top Eight. They were called out in two installments, the first one set to an instrumental versions of Camila Cabello‘s “Havana” and the second to the bass-thumping instrumental groove of Charlie Puth‘s “Attention”
It dawned on me that even if it wasn’t publicly announced (though there were some murmurings), there was a regional allocation system employed in selecting the Top 16. They chose the top two overall performers for the following regions: Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia/Oceania, North America (including Central America and the Caribbean), and South America, and then the four best overall performers regardless of region. It does result in a satisfyingly diverse mix like this group.
CAMEROON – Angele Kossinda. Though there is fierce competition for the second-place African slot, in the end this lady earned that slot. Her inclusion is refreshingly welcomed.
ANGOLA – Ermelinda De Matos. She has consistently garnered buzz among pageant fans, so her placement in the Top 16 is somewhat expected. The thing that is unexpected is that the judges’ biases seemed to still be firmly in place as she didn’t figure in the Top 16 in any of the prejudging categories, making it solely because she’s the top performing African. There’s still a long way to go for the Filipinos to open their eyes and appreciate black beauty.
GUATEMALA – Maria José Castañeda. She figured in the Top 16 solely based on interview, but she has an attractiveness and a trim-enough figure that even if she didn’t figure in the Top 16 in the other two looks-oriented categories, her scores offset Costa Rica’s weak form and figure score to be the second best performing North American to make the cut.
UNITED STATES – Andreia Gibau. Many pageant fans and pundits thought she would’ve fared better than she actually did. Interestingly, se only figured in the Top 16 in one category, interview. But no doubt even if she bubbled under in the form & figure and face & poise categories, she performed well enough to be the top performing North American and secure her slot here.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – Lela Karagić. Miss Earth traditionally loves this country, and it showed with her Top 16 showings in Face & Poise and Form & Figure. Yes, her interview was one of the weakest, but apparently it’s not so low that she would be shut out of the Top 16, unlike what happened to Costa Rica with her voluptuous figure. The debate would rage whether you can tolerate Costa Rica’s voluptuousness, or this lady’s weak communication skills. Which would you prefer?
TONGA – Diamond Langi. She shone in Interview and Face & Poise, and she makes a refreshing inclusion to this group. As such she made a big breakthrough for her country in a major international pageant.
VIETNAM – Le Thi Ha Thu. Like USA, many expect her to do better than she actually did, figuring in the Top 16 in only one category, Figure & Form. Good thing even if she fell short in the other two, her overall scores are high enough for her to make the Top 16. She did make a striking persence in her blue ballgown when she was called out to the Top 16, but the judges didn’t seem to be that into her, she she didn’t advance further.
SWITZERLAND – Sarah Laura Peyrel. Interesting she was one of the five ladies who made the cut in all three prejudging categories. Theoretically this should have made her a shoo-in to the Top Eight, equalling the showings of her 2007-2008 predecessors. But the finals night judges didn’t feel a spark from her, apparently, hence she was shut out from advancing and some more “sparkly” Europeans made it over her. She probably fell short by very little.
All of the Top 16 were present in the swimsuit round clad in one-piece two-colored Ricky Abad swimsuits, set to J. Balvin & Willy William (featuring Beyonce)’s international smash “Mi Gente“. But the judges didn’t evaluate all 16 in this round, as after the initial parade, they then called out the Top Eight and it was only these eight that were scored in this round–just like in the Top 16 callout, their abbreviated catwalk when called out served as their full catwalk performance.
COMING UP: THE TOP EIGHT