Visiting Mandalay.

INDIA – Dharasing Kurana.  He does have a swarthy charisma to make a play for the Top 16, but for me, it’s not a sure thing he can sustain last year’s strong finish.

INDONESIA – Alvalina Kasenda.  He has an Asian boy-next-door charisma about him to accompany his superbly chiseled body.  He can make his nation recover from last year’s rare non-semifinalist placement.

JAPAN – Taizen Matsuura.  Though I’m on the fence regarding his facial handsomeness, he does have a super buffed bod and polish to make the cut, though he doesn’t quite have Masaya Yamagishi‘s sex appeal and charisma to equal his first runner-up showing.

KOREA – Seunghwan Lee.  Many people are buzzing about him being the favorite to win and I can see why–this guy possesses the charisma of a K-Pop or K-Drama idol, and he has an enviably beefy buffed bod to boot.  Especially with a racial slur incident directed at him by Mexico and Dominican Republic, there is a sympathy factor at play here too.

LEBANON – Michael Khouri.  He is of the same high caliber as his stellar predecessors ahead of him.  He offers a less swarthy version of Lebanese handsomeness.  Though I don’t think he’ll duplicate his predecessor’s win, he looks like a lock for the Top Five.

I have to note that the reigning winner, Paul Iskandar, will not make it to hand over his title to his successor, as there were issues with scheduling and visa arrangements.

MALTA – Malcolm Camilleri.  He has swarthy smoldering features and a rippled bodybuilder’s bod.  So it’s a tad jarring to hear his light voice, and compound the fact that this pageant rarely goes for bodybuilder types, I’m not bullish on his prospects making the Top 16.  Insiders do report he has a very pleasant personality, which some observers would say cannot be said about…

MEXICO – Armando Osuna.  He actually has the looks and the bod to be a shoo-in for the Top 16 and beyond.  But an incident during the swimsuit shoot may have put a spanner in the works, as he (and instigated Dominican Republic to do the same) stretched his eyelids to approximate the look of Asian people, like the way the Spanish basketball team did prior to flying to the Beijing Olympics ten years ago.  There were also other reports of “politically incorrect” behavior from him that perhaps his chances of making te cut may have dimmed, unless he can demonstrate that he doesn’t mean any offense with his gestures.

MYANMAR – John Ko Ko.  For me, the host contestant falls short on the charisma department, but there might be a slot assured for him for the mere fact his country’s hosting.

NEPAL – Sajid Alam.  See BOLIVIA, albeit he didn’t see action in any international pageant prior to this.

NETHERLANDS – Jeremy Lensink.  Like most Dutch men, he’s tall, but he’s unlikely to duplicate his predecessor’s Top Six finish last year as he doesn’t quite have the handsomeness or charisma.  It is interesting though that he looks kinda Asian–does he have an Indonesian mother, perhaps?

NICARAGUA – Elvis Murillo.  This country is rarely buzzed about in pageants, but this year it can pull off a sleeper success with this swarthily sexy fellow.

PANAMA – Husam Ahmad.  He can be classified as handsome, but he seems less polished than the ferocious Latino contenders in this year’s group–for instance, his national costume is basically his country’s football uniform.  Some fans may also find his tattoos a tad off-putting, but well, we have to face it that the majority of millennials would have some kind of skin art on their bodies.

All images courtesy of Drew Francisco and Ameer Gamama for Missosology.



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