RESULTS REACTION: MISTER GLOBAL 2018

The winner’s circle: 3rd runner-up South Africa (Dwayne Geldenhuis), 1st runner-up Egypt (Ahmed Lasheen), Mister Global 2018 USA (Dario Duque), 2nd runner-up Poland (Jakub Kucner), and 4th runner-up Thailand (Stiporn Moollisan)

Just when you thought this year’s Mister Global would run smoothly like in the previous four editions, there was a sudden spanner in the works as the original final competition was suddenly cancelled, and moved the finals the following afternoon.  To a certain extent, the change in venue was beneficial as instead of an impersonal and threadbare (albeit high-tech) venue, they shifted to a venue with a permanently installed Thai structural backdrop, which helps provide a Thai cultural flavor which has been a hallmark of previous editions.  But there were obvious cutbacks in the production, like no interval production numbers (there were dancers previously hired originally but they are gone in the finals that were actually held) and having to hire director Xion Lim as one of the co-hosts–the latter a big blessing in disguise as Xion proved to be a fluid, fluent host.  The abrupt cut from a Top 16 to a Top 5 was another signal of an inevitable scale-down when such last minute changes takes place.

Beside the streamlined and threadbare format, one production aspect I have a beef with one brief moment of the swimsuit segment–at the opening portion there was a moment that the contestants sway and gyrate–considering this is in Southeast Asia, it evokes the vibe of go-go boys and strippers in a cheap honky-tonk bar, which is beneath the caliber of these 38 candidates.  These guys deserve better.

I only got 9 out of 16 correct, but all those who made it were within my radar–with 32 of the 38 contestants of world-class quality, it’s inevitable that differing tastes will result in a different but still highly satisfying mix of finalists.

A couple of guys that were only in my “Striking Distance” list were Albania (David Qenanaj) and Hong Kong (Vincent Lau).  I thought they were not standing out that much, but in hindsight, I underestimated them.  First, Albania’s body was undeniably and enviably buffed, that any reservations about his subdued personality (and that he defied the directive of wearing the white regulation swimsuits and opted to wear his black swimsuit instead) are overlooked.  In the case of Hong Kong, he does have a charm and smile that shone brightly.

Worthy underrated contenders: Albania (David Qenanaj) and Hong Kong (Vincent Lau)

I may have placed these two in my “Bubbling Under” list, but I’m pleased that both Dominican Republic (Frainy Figueroa) and Puerto Rico (Engel Garcia) made the cut.  And knowing that the eventual winner is of Cuban descent, it’s nice to know that the three traditional tight Caribbean caballeros amigos were very successful in this pageant.

Latin Caribbean power: Dominican Republic (Frainy Figueroa) and Puerto RIco (Engel Garcia)

A guy who went very, very far that I also severely underestimated was the eventual first runner-up, Egypt (Ahmed Lasheen).  I should’ve gotten a hint that he got a lot of solo shots and multiple soundbites on the pageant activity videos were a precursor to his status as a favorite.  Yes, his facial features are not necessarily my cup of tea, but he is good-looking and he also possesses that imposing height (I think only Spain is taller than him) and his appreciative and gracious personality (his soundbites tend to be of being grateful for being there and expressing appreciation on the sights and places he has been) won over many people.  He was in my “Bubbling Under” list but I should’ve taken him way more seriously…

A couple of well-regarded pageant veterans who failed to make the cut got the consolation of earning special awards.  Afghanistan (Hamid Noor) earned the Mister Congeniality prize, while Switzerland (Betim Morina) garnered Mister Photogenic.

Mister Congeniality Afghanistan (Hamid Noor) and Mister Photogenic Switzerland (Betim Morina)

Most pageant fans and pundits felt that Denmark (Marcus Rosenberg Jørgensen) should’ve been a shoo-in in the Top 16, but he ended up with only a consolation prize as possessing the Most Charming Smile.  It’s not that evident in his official portrait shots, but we get to see those gleamy white chompers in many other occasions that ti’s a very fitting award.  Now, why was that not enough for him to make the overall Top 16, I wonder?

Most Charming Smile: Denmark (Marcus Rosenberg Jorgensen)

For most fans, the winner of the Lucas Malvacini award would be Mexico (Antonio Merchant).  But I have a feeling the judges and insiders felt other Latinos like the aforementioned DR and PR had more spark than he did.

Lucas Malvacini Award (Popular Choice): Mexico (Antonio Merchant)

But my personal choice as winner of the Lucas Malvacini Award is Spain (Fabian Perez).  I thought he has the perfect looks to be a front-runner–lack of solo shots and a subdued presence should’ve given me a hint that he’s not that highly favored by the insiders and judges.

Lucas Malvacini Award (My Chocie): Spain (Fabian Perez)

The organizers of Mister Global promised a complete statement on what actually transpired that caused the cancellation of the original finals.  Though the contest was saved in the end with the choice of a worthy winner with USA (Dario Duque), that incident took a big hit on this pageant’s reputation–we hope they would take action to prevent the repeat of such an incident again.  There is a side of me that wants to write a full-fledged review or a tribute to all 38 contestants but as you’ll all find out when I post a long belated tribute to a departed celebrity, there is no guarantee I’ll have the energy to do it.  Anyway, congratulations to all the winners, and I hope the pageant organization takes a deep look and take actions to avoid such incident and help preserve its status as one of the premiere male international pageants.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Congratulations to the new Mister Global, USA (Dario Duque)!

MISTER GLOBAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

PORTUGAL – Fernando Nieves.  He’s cute and rippled but there are other contenders making a stronger impact.

PUERTO RICO – Engel Garcia Colon.  He’s kinda in-between the boyish and the manly, but since he’s clean-shaven he could fit in the boyish Latino group that I’m seeing as a trend in this pageant.

SINGAPORE – Dhillon Poh.  If you see this country in a male pageant, one guarantee is that the representative will have an enviably buffed physique, and as expected this guy continues to fulfill that tradition.  Sure his face is not as handsome as his fellow competitors, but he has strong appeal and is actually very attractive.

SOUTH AFRICA – Dwayne Geldenhuis.  This guy already has a 2nd runner-up finish at the 12th Mister International under his belt, and with his complete package of looks, charisma, and personality, he can be an usurper to the title that seems to be currently a three-way race between BRAZIL, KOREA, and U S A.  His predecessor made a big splash last year landing 1st runner-up==can he overcome the current trio of front-runners and duplicate or even exceed that showing?

SPAIN – Fabian Perez.  He is not as buzzed about as the three big front-runners so far, but he has an enviably lean buffed physique and a breathtakingly handsome face.  He could be another possible usurper.

SRI LANKA – Sachin Witharana.  He has a lean, buffed, slender physique and an attractive swarthiness going for him.  But he doesn’t qute have the polish and charisma that, say, AFGHANISTAN or PAKISTAN have to make serious impact.

SWITZERLAND – Betim Morina.  From the charming boy back at Mister World 2016, he generates more charisma now that he can play with the big shots in this group.  He can make serious inroads in the Top 16.

THAILAND – Staporn Moollisan.  Yes, he may not be as handsome as, say, PHILIPPINES, but he looks like a complete package who, like SOUTH AFRICA, can usurp the big front-runners of this competition–yes he can give the charismatic KOREA a major run for his money.  He created a wow impression in the talent competition with his kickboxing routine.

TIBET – Nyima.  Notice why China*5 is nowhere to be found in this year’s contest?  It’s because of the presence of this disputed entity.  And this guy (who interestingly goes by a single moniker, a la Cher or Madonna) is making such a splash that some are buzzing he can make the final cut.  For me, he is in the same boat as SINGAPORE, as he has an enviable physique and though not conventionally handsome, possesses strong appeal.  Let’s see how well this buzz will pan out…

*5 Besides the political issue, the designated representative for this contest opted to compete at this year’s Man of the World instead–he made Top 10.

U S A – Dario Duque.  Many pageant fans’ breaths are taken away at the sight of this guy, as he is a complete package of buffed physique, undeniable handsomeness, and abundant charisma.  His name sounds Hispanic, and if you watch his introduction video, you do notice he speaks with a Latin American accent, even if he pronounces his last name like how a WASP-y American would do (sounds exactly like “Duke”).  Besides his inherent qualities, him winning this contest could serve as a stinging rebuke at the policies of his country’s present administration, especially with policies targeting against people of his heritage.

VENEZUELA – Christian Nunes.  He has these classically boyish Latino features that for me he’s the strongest of this year’s boyish Latino contingent.  It’s strange why he didn’t advance at last year’s Men Universe Model in the Dominican Republic?

VIETNAM – Mac Trung Kien.  He has a trim, lean (albeit not defined) physique and appealing boyish features going for him.  Thai people tend to favor making the country advance and I have a feeling this will be no exception.

Now that all 38 contestants are accounted for, as is customary I shall now trot out my leaderboard, as follows:

TOP CONTENDERS:  BRAZIL, KOREA, U S A

SHOO-INS:  DENMARK, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SWITZERLAND, THAILAND, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM

LIKELIEST:  AFGHANISTAN, CZECH REPUBLIC, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, GERMANY, GUAM, NETHERLANDS, PAKISTAN, PERU, PUERTO RICO,

PHYSIQUE FACTOR:  SINGAPORE, TIBET

EXCELLENT:  ALBANIA, CHILE, HONG KONG, INDIA, NEPAL, PORTUGAL

VERY STRONG:  CAMBODIA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, SRI LANKA

STRONG:  KAZAKHSTAN, MARTINIQUE

From the list above, this is my”Fearful” Forecast

FINAL FIVE:  BRAZIL, KOREA, SOUTH AFRICA, THAILAND, U S A

TOP TEN:  DENMARK, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, VENEZUELA

TOP 16:  CZECH REPUBLIC, NETHERLANDS, PAKISTAN, POLAND, SWITZERLAND, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:  AFGHANISTAN, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, GERMANY, GUAM, PERU, PUERTO RICO

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ALBANIA, CHILE, HONG KONG, INDIA, NEPAL, PORTUGAL, SINGAPORE, TIBET

I find this year’s pageant very exciting, though I may have reservations about the stage after seeing photos of the rehearsals–it looks like the exact same stage as the 11th Mister International back in February 2017.  I hope the production won’t be as threadbare as that production turned out to be–it would not be befitting the caliber of this year’s contestants–they are such a terrific group.  Anyway, best of luck to all of them tonight!.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

The three most likely to win: Brazil (Junior Garcia), Korea (Doohyun Kang), and USA (Dario Duque)
Possible usurpers: South Africa (Dwayne Geldenhuis) and Thailand (Stiporn Moollisan)

MISTER GLOBAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

INDIA – Dhwrwm Khungur Swargiary.  He doesn’t have that Bollywood look you tend to expect from guys from this country–in fact he even looks vaguely Chinese in my eyes, perhaps living in the northern, mountainous parts of this country.  I don’t see him making the cut, but he has good-enough looks and a rippled physique to keep up with the best of them.

INDONESIA – Muhammad Hafizh Ragah.  To his credit, he has a fit frame and is a polished presence.  But he has a plain face and his physique, albeit trim and fit, lacks definition.  I don’t expect him duplicating his predecessor’s surprising Top 10 finish.

KAZAKHSTAN – Bulat Muratbekov.  His physique possesses the least definition among this year’s contestants.  In real-world terms, this guy with attractive Eurasian features could be a catch, but in stratified pageant standards, he is not really up to the level of the rest of the group.  Glad that he’s sticking around, though, unlike what happened last year with the two guys who quit.

KOREA – Kang Doohyung.  This guy for me exudes classic K-drama charisma, and for me he displays the best physique amongst all the contestants in this year’s contest.  He could bring his country another male pageant win after the victory at the 12th Mister International last April.  Do we see a new male pageant powerhouse in the offing?

MALAYSIA – Izz Yusof.  See INDONESIA, but with a better physique.

MARTINIQUE – François Xavier Herard.  Technically he could’ve worn the banner of France as there is no one representing his mother country this year*4.  Though he seems to be outgoing, it’s obvious that he’s very raw, and his physique also reflects that–he joins KAZAKHSTAN as the least buffed of the group.  I wonder if he’ll end up with the Mr. Congeniality award?

*4  Martinique is an overseas department of France, equivalent to being a full-fledged state–think Hawaii in relation to the United States.  It makes me recall Manhunt International 2011 all over again.

MEXICO- Antonio Merchant.  There are people hyping him as one of the front-runners.  I do understand the justification and merits for that, but I don’t seem to respond that enthusiastically to his sort of looks.  I understand his appeal and I think he’ll go far, but he’s just not my type for some odd reason.

NEPAL – Prakash Shah.  He has swarthy good looks, but he doesn’t quite have the polish to have an inside track for the finals.  Still, I consider him a worthwhile contender.

NETHERLANDS – Roel van der Bas.  He’s not conventionally handsome, but I see some quirky appeal that he can make serious inroads into the finals.  He made a splash in talent with his flute playing.

PAKISTAN – Raffay Khan.  While his Mister Supranational colleagues AFGHANISTAN and GERMANY seemed to stay static or lose momentum, this guy seems to be upping his game and is in serious contention of making the Top 16 and probably even beyond.

PERU – Pedro Calderon Cosavalente.  Like CHILE and MEXICO, he’s one of the boyish Latinos in this year’s batch.  Like MEXICO, as much as I know there are merits to his appeal, I don’t quite respond to it for some odd reason.  Anyway, he made an impact in the Talent competition with his nod to Incan folklore playing an Andean pan flute.  Wonder if he played that classic “El condor pasa“?

PHILIPPINES – Kristian Nanadiego Sarmiento.  He has one of the handsomest faces in this year’s competition, with that radiant smile giving him oodles of charisma.  It helps overcome any potential objections over the fact his physique, albeit trim, is not as rippled as his fellow contestants.  Arguably he’s one of the best representatives we had fielded in any male international pageant.

POLAND -Jakub Kucner.  With his great manly looks and strong social media presence, I couldn’t conceive of a Top 16 without him.  He is one of the early favorites, but I don’t feel as strong of a buzz as others are saying.  But with this caliber of contenders anything is possible, and he might go very far after all.

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