MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

NEPAL – Dhruba Budhatoki.  His thick mane of hair is key to him standing with the other buffed conttenders out there.  It is possible he can vindicate the unjust shut-out of his predecessor, Samim Khan.

NEP

NETHERLANDS – Luca Derim.  Like BELGIUM, he’s also a buffed boyish charmer who can make major inroads into the final, possibly even making a major play for the Top Five and taking BELGIUM’s slot.

NED

PAKISTAN – Atif Nazir.  We normally don’t expect much from representatives from this country, but this cuties is putting up a better-than-expected fight.  I do slightly object with the slightly lighter tint of his hair–I think he would look way better if his hair color is jet black.

PAK

PHILIPPINES – Jeff Langan.  He possesses many of the winning features that made June Macasaet win Manhunt Internatonal 2012, so many are betting he can bring our second win.  But besides arriving a day late and missing out on several crucial photo ops, I also have reservations on his choice to let his hair down instead of combing his hair up, as he stands out if he didn’t let his hair cover his forehead.  I’m still holdng on to faith that he will deliver when it counts as he;s got what it takes to win it all.

PHI

POLAND – Patryk Tomaszewski.  I’m glad he decided o keep himself hirsute and unshaven as he looks great this way.  And I believe with his outgoing charm and charisma, he’s a shoo-in for the semifinals, with a possible play to make it to the Final Five.

POL

PUERTO RICO – Karlwiz Gutierrez.  It’s surprising there are a dearth of Latinos this year.  This guy is holding up the Latino fort and is a great embodiment of that heritage.  He gott some solo moments like Mister Spain and seems to be making a great impression.  On his own he registers like a tall man even if he’s not as tall as, say, SPAIN…

PUR

SOUTH AFRICA – Mawande Qeqe.  Name note:  his surname has click sounds–the “q”  is the sound of someone popping a bottle cap–listen to the Miriam Makeba classic “The Click Song (Qongqothwane)” to understand how it sounds.  He totally missed out of the preliminary judging, arriving in Gold Coast after that event.  As such he’s the sole black and African person competing in this pageant.  Will the judges reward him with a semifinal slot for that detail alone?  I’m rooting for black guys to succeed in this realm but I’m not that bullish on his prospects.

RSA

SPAIN – Vicent Llorach.  This red-haired boyish cutie is the tallest of this year’s batch, and arguably the most rippled bod amongst them all.  In my reckoning it seems to be pointing towards a victory for this guy, but I will never discount the likes of CHINA, PUERTO RICO and the PHILIPPINES as they can easily wrest the title away from him.

ESP

SWEDEN – Mattias Coleman.  He has a beefy appeal and that long hair that he typically ties in a bun (except on the Ricky Abad swimwear shoot where while still pulling his hair back he let his long hair flow down.  If there will be room in the semifinals for a long-haired dude, this is the guy most likely to take that slot.

SWE

THAILAND – Rattanan Sukubol.  It’s unusual to see this country field a guy with long hair.  I don’t find his look appealing, but for hosse female judges who dig androgyny, he can garner some points and make inroads.  Anyway, I find his Western-looking costume intriguing–is he channeling the era of King Chulalongkorn when he implemented Western-style reforms to this kingdom?

THA

U A E – Yoken Gurung.  I’m wonder what his ethnicity is, as clearly he’s not an Arab citizen but one of the numerous expat residents (because like many Gulf countries, expats outnumber natives)–I speculate either Indian or Indonesian.  He has a good beefy frame, but hindering him from making a major splash is that he registers as “mature”.

UAE

U K – Jack Heslewood.  He has a boyishly cute appeal and sparkle that he might have an inside track to making the semifinals.

GBR

U S A – Karl Muddu.  He seems to be of Indian descent.  I actually find his swarthy features highly appealing and I think he is another possibility to make the semifinals.  If it weren’t for SOUTH AFRICA’s late arrival, he and JAPAN would be the brownest contestants in this batch.

USA

VIETNAM – Mai Tuấn Anh.  There are some aspects of his features that register as androgynous, to the point that in some photos he looks like Alan Sim, the Singaporean founder of Mister International.  Otherwise, he’s a solid follow-up to last year’s winner, Trương Ngọc Tình

VIE

Now that all 28 candidates are accounted for, let me trot outmy leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  CHINA, PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN,

SHOO-IN:  AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, INDONESIA, NETHERLANDS, POLAND

LIKELIEST:  BRAZIL, GUAM, JAPAN, LEBANON, MYANMAR, NEPAL, SWEDEN, U K, U S A, VIETNAM

EXCELLENT:  HONG KONG, PAKISTAN

VERY STRONG: SOUTH AFRICA, U A E

STRONG:  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, KOREA, MONGOLIA

VERY GOOD:  FRANCE, THAILAND

Now, here is my “Fearful” Forecast, asssuming 12 semifinal spots are up for grabs (since the turnout is less 1han 30)::

TOP FIVE:  BELGIUM, CHINA, PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN

TOP 16:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, GUAM, INDONESIA, LEBANON, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, POLAND, U K, USA, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:  JAPAN, MYANMAR, SWEDEN

STRIKING DISTANCE:  HONG KONG, PAKISTAN

It looks like this year’s Manhunt International is a four-way battle among CHINA (Ryan Xi), PHILIPPINES (Jeff Langan), PUERTO RICO ( Karlwiz Gutierrez) and SPAIN (Vicent Llorach).  I hope in a year or ttwo this long-time institution would rise back in presiige and prominence.  Best of luck to all the contestants!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Final Four
The winner is likely among these four guys: PHILIPPINES (Jeff Langan), CHINA (Ryan Xi), PUERTO RICO (Karlwiz Gutierrez) or SPAIN (Vicent Llorach)

 

MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

With the passing of founder Alex Liu last January, the normally auspicious occasion of a 25th anniversary turned into more of a moment of rebuilding, with Australian Rosko Dickerson solely at the helm.  Part of the rebuilding is to commemorate the anniversary at the venue where it all began, in Gold Coast, Australia.  Also, only 28* candidates are present in this edition, the lowest turnout since the inaugural editions of 1993 and 1994 (which attracted 24).  Despite concerns about the low contestant turnout, at the very least the organizers packed the already abbreviated one-week schedule with a whole lot of thrilling activities that seems to make a genuinely fun experience for the candidates.

* The preliminary judging round only featured 27 contestants.  SOUTH AFRICA was a late arrival and missed that crucial round.

Now, as much as I understand the need to keep control of the coverage hence the limited amount of photos, you wish they have properly identified solo portraits available earlier instead of the eve of the final competition (where they posted the national costume pics on their Instagram account).  Group shots are too unwieldy to keep track of how wech candidate is doing.  Now, sure we have a dearth in quantity this year, so how do they stack up?  Well definitely not in the smae level of 2010 and 2012, but lots of worthwhile guys to know (albeit frustrating because of limited coverage).  Without further ado, let’s start with…

AUSTRALIA – Dale Maher.  He’s not classically handsome, but as the host candidate he will likely have an advantage and may secure a semifinal slot (most likely a Top 12 slot though I have not heard any confirmation of how the cuts will be made).  He hinted he has Aboriginal heritage, and albeit he’s of mixed race he’s proving to be a great ambassador for these people.

AUS

BELGIUM – Mohamed Mahouk.  He has that come-hither boyish handsomeness that made him one of the early front-runners, but buzz is fading a tad bit as he set foot in Australia.  Still, I foresee him still making a play for the Final Five.

BEL

BRAZIL – Jonatas Zanette.  Like BELGIUM, he possessed boyish appeal, too.  He has an inside rack to the semifinals, but I don’t foresee him in the higher echelons and make a play for the Final Five.

BRA

CHINA – Chong-Geng “Ryan” Xi.  I discovered he’s an engineering student at the University of Cambridge in the UK, and it seems thorughout his stay he exuded a lot of personality and made an impression with his tall height and overall charisma.  He could be a possible front-runner for the title, but there are at least three handsome-and-buffed contenders also closing in towards that goal…

CHN

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Roosevelt Casado.  You never know how the insiders feel abou representatives from this country.  I tend to not really put reps from this country in high regard but like in the case of 2011 and last year, they would somehow fare well.  But to be honest, I think as much as they do like bodybuilder types sometimes, there are worthier choices than this guy this year.

DOM

FRANCE – Jan Peleman.  This pale and slim guy is notable for his blond pompadour.  In my opinion he’s a cellar dweller but sometimes the people judging this pageant might be in a quirky and may favor him because he looks so…different.

FRA

GUAM – Joshua Soto.  He might be one of the shorter contestants, but his enviably beefy physique and fiercely native Filipino-Chamorro features gave him a solo shot promoting one of the sponsor’s products, Skin O2 sunscreen.  I have a feeling he’s one of the shoo-ins to the semifinals.

GUM

HONG KONG – Chengze Li.  If this were held in China, he would’ve had a stronger change of advancing.  But as it is, though he has a height advantage, otherwise his charisma was overshadowed by CHINA.

HKG

INDONESIA – Ahsan Hariri.  Many pageant fans and pundits would not find him classically handsome, but I do find his very masculine features highly appealing and he also possesses an enviably buffed physique.  I see him as a shoo-in.  I also have to note during the National Costume preliminary judging he caused significant delays as the size of his costume required to be mounted by two additional individuals before he got ready to strut his costume around.  Would this result in a back-to-back win for the National Costume award?

INA

JAPAN – Yusuke Fujita.  First, I’m so glad he reverted back to his natural hair color, and it compliments his dusky complexion (I wonder if he’s from Okinawa or other parts of the Ryukyu islands as this is typical of people from that part of Japan, I’ve heard).  Like INDONESIA, I find his masculine features and lean, sinewy physique highly appealing.  It’s conceivable he can duplicate his Mister Global 2016 feat, where he made Top 16.  Without the late arrival of SOUTH AFRICA, it could be argued he could’ve been the darkest complexioned contestant in this batch–a quality you rarely associate with the Japanese.

JPN

KOREA – Yoojun Jong.  If the judges are full of swooning K-pop and J-pop fangirls, he might make serious inroads into the finals.  Otherwise, he doesn’t seem that appealing.

KOR

LEBANON – Patrick Dahrieh.  There are pageant fans and pundits who would rate him as a possible front-runner, but I was disappointed with his performance in the preliminary judging–he registers as a tad shorter than his peers and albeit he has good physique, it’s not as tight as the others.  He could be a possible contender for the Lucas Malvacini award, but I’m still rooting for him to make the cut–his handsomeness is just too undeniable to ignore.

LIB

MONGOLIA – Zanabazar Dagvanamdat.  Yes, he’s fit and buffed, but his facial features are just too plain.  Just enjoying what Gold Coast has to offer is his best strategy to make the most of his stay.

MGL

MYANMAR – Wanna Aye Kyaw.  I think he is a possibility for the semifinals, as he does make a very positive impression and has a good balance of looks and physique.

MYA

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