After the resounding success of last year’s edition, the Miss World Philippines Organization ramped up the quest to the next level by expanding the candidates roster to 40 and providing stronger media coverage of the events. It seems they are throwing a gauntlet to the well-established Bb. Pilipinas Charties, Inc., that it can deliver a pageant of their caliber, with this year’s eclectic bevy of candidates. How do they measure up? Like in my Bb. Pilipinas homestretch reviews, I’ll place ratings for their prospects in thetitles at stake, W – World, RH – Reina Hispanoamericana, EI – Eco International, and M – Multinational.
CANDIDATE 1 – Erica Larkins. She has an appealing girl-next-door inegenue appeal about her. Though yes, her 5’2″ height may make pageant fans and pundits concerned about her pageant-worthiness, but well, Miss World is actually open to ladies of all shapes and sizes, and one must also note that many of our biggest stars, both in local showbiz and abroad, are closer to her stature and statuesque stars are actually more of a rarity. Still, considering she hasn’t made the shortlist of any challenge event, is her mere participation an achievement in itself? W – 8, RH – 7.5, EI – 7.5, M – 8.
CANDIDATE 2 – Jigg Kirsty Ang. What I notice most about her is her slender frame. She has a lvoely face, but that frame and the small proportions of her shulders and limbs might put her at a disadvantage in this milieu. Still, she made a great impression in her green gown during gala night, albeit not enough to make the Top Modle shortlist. W – 7, RH – 7, EI – 7, M – 7.5
CANDIDATE 3 – Barmae Chua. In contrast to the previous candidate, now she’s more on the voluptuous side. She has a pretty face, but is that going to be enough to make inroads into the semifinals? W – 7.5, RH – 7, EI – 7, M – 7.5.
CANDIDATE 4 – Inna Penales. She has a trim, athletic frame that helped her get shortlisted in Sports. She also has an advocacy for victims of sexual harassment, as her profile on Rappler talks about an incident when she was molested while commuting in a jeep. W – 7.5, RH – 7.5, EI – 7.5, M – 8.
CANDIDATE 5 – Kim de Guzman. She has a fair Oriental look that does have its appeal and she is one of the stronger semifinalist possibilities out there, making the shortlists in Sports and Top Model. W – 8, RH – 7, EI – 8, M – 8.
CANDIDATE 6 – Marie Danica Reynes. Her features may be too exotic for most Filipinos’ tastes, but she has a sexy figure that she actually showcased with aplomb when she performed her talent during Gala Night, singing Andra Day‘s “Rise Up” clad in a sheer embroidered low-cut dress. Her vocals proved to be very strong and impactful that makes one forgive that there were a few bum notes in her performance that night. That quibble aside, her talent performance was of a high caliber. W – 8, RH – 7, EI – 8, M – 8.
CANDIDATE 7 – Angeline Mae Santos. Her background in Engineering may give her an edge in interview. She’s shortlisted in Talent, as it seems she’s also a theatre geek. Her talent performance was to enact a musical scene from the Hugh Jackman move The Greatest Showman, singing “A Million Dreams” while dancing with a partner simultaneously. It’s an ambitious number, but among the Talent finalists she turned in the weakest performance as she went off-key too often that she couldn’t be credited for the degree of difficulty of her talent. W – 8, RH – 7.5, EI – 8, M – 8.5.
CANDIDATE 8 – Pauline Deveraturda. I like her dusky, exotic looks (as she’s of Aeta descent) and she seems to have a nice model’s frame and has good stage presence–she probably fell short being shortlisted in Top Model by very little. I’m rooting for her to make the cut. W – 8.5, RH – 8, EI – 7.5, M – 7.5.
CANDIDATE 9 – Arienne Calingo. She previously was 1st runner-up two years ago behind Catriona Gray. So with four titles up at stake she has a stronger chance of clinching one of them. But, then again, she has not figured in any challenge event, so could her mission end up a fizzle? Well, it’s still possible she’ll pull off a Sophia Señoron-style trajectory, with some fan support giving her an edge in Multimedia and perhaps that even if the three plummier titles are a lock for thre front-running contenders, she can get by with the Multinational title. W – 8.5, RH – 8, EI -8.5, M – 9.
CANDIDATE 10 – Paulina Cabayo. She has a great girl-next-door vibe and has a bright presence. She also made an impact in Talent with her ballet performance, as her dancing was graceful and impeccable. My only quibble about the performance that might cost her the Talent win was the choice of songs for her routine–it’s a medley featuring Kenny G‘s rendition of “Moon River” and “I Would Never Say I’m In Love“, a song from the Disney animated film Hercules sung by the hero’s love interest, Megara. The two songs don’t quite segue that well to my ears and that slightly distracted from an otherwise wonderful performance. W – 9, RH – 8.5, EI – 9, M – 9.
COMING UP: CANDIDATES 11 to 20