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