MISS UNIVERSE 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 6)

MONGOLIA – Dolgion Delgerjav.  This country has been making waves in other pageants that it’s a bit of a shock that this is the very first time this country is joining this pageant.  Too bad the debut is not that auspicious as she’s more of a middling contender, and we’ve seen some stars seeing action in, say Miss World, Miss Earth, and Miss International.  Still, she’s attractive enough but not making much impact.

MYANMAR – Hnin Thway Yu Aung.  She’s not conventionally pretty but her polish and solid stage chops are undeniable.

NAMIBIA – Selma Kamanya.  She is competing on a Top 20-worthy standard, but this region is already crowded with so many gems that it’s hard to determine if there will be enough room for her.

NEPAL – Manita Devkota.  She has a classic Indian prettiness about her and great stage polish.  Though many fans and pundits are raving about INDIA’s preliminary competition performance, it is possible that this well-spoken and educated lady could block her spot.

NETHERLANDS – Rahima Dirkse.  Her name seems to indicate she might have Indian/Arab/Turkish roots in her mother’s side.  She looks great onstage, but her up-close interview reveals she may have a distracting feature–eyebags.  Stage make-up camouflage this, though, but most likely the interview round she would be wearing light make-up and those eyebags will be in full effect.

NEW ZEALAND – Estelle Curd.  In relation to a bevy of pretty faces, her face is one of the plainer ones.  She has an edge in the interview department though, and you know interview weighs very heavy in this competition these days.

NICARAGUA – Adriana Panlagua.  Her facial features have an angularity about them but she has the experience (winner of Miss Teen International seven years ago) and polish to distract people from that angularity momentarily and be in consideration for the Top 20.

NIGERIA – Aramide Lopez.  This statuesque (6’1″) as many pageant fans and pundits a-buzzing that she can be the second Nigerian to make the cut in this pageant after eventual Miss World 2001 Agbani Darego.  It is highly conceivable this would happen, but nothing is set in stone especially with a stellar batch like this one.

NORWAY – Susanne Guttorm.  She has a tale of a Sami heritage, but otherwise, she’s one of the plainest contestants in this year’s pageant.

PANAMA – Rosa Montezuma.  She’s reportedly of indigenous heritage (most probably Inca?) and she’s actually great looking with strong stage chops.  Countries whose names begin with the letter “P” are notoriously a brutal group full of fierce top-notch contenders and this year is no exception with a lady like this.  She can be a sleeper possibility for the finals..

PARAGUAY – Belen Alderete.  She has an advocacy for lupus awareness since it affected a member of her family.  This blonde would otherwise be in serious contention for the Top 20 in other years but tis year she is one of the weaker links of the “P” contingent.

PERU – Romina Lozano.  See BOLIVIA, albeit with features that are a tad more angular.

COMING UP:  PHILIPPIINES to SWEDEN

MISS UNIVERSE 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 5)

JAPAN – Yuumi Kato.  Though she has an interesting anti-bullying story, she is competing at a P.A.T.I.S. level, making her the weakest link of an otherwise sterling year for this country.

KAZAKHSTAN – Sabina Azimbayeva.  She’s competing at a high level but there are extremely limited slots for the Asian/Pacific/African contingent.  She’s a worthwhile contender.

KENYA – Wabaiya Kariuki.  Her short Afro haircut makes her stand out and with a dose of SDE, she could be in serious contention for the Top 20.  So many riches from this part of the world, so little room for them to advance.

KOREA – Jihyun Baek.  She has great looks and has charisma to make a major positive impression.  Still, it’s uncertain how well she would’ve fared with the selection committee in terms of interview as she doesn’t speak English.

KOSOVO – Zana Berisha.  She’s attractive and slightly on the thicker side for pageant standards.  In other years she would be considered a worthwhile contender but with this batch she’s one of the weaker performers.

KYRGYZSTAN – Begimay Karybekova.  It’s nice to see a country debuting like this one.  Now, she has a pretty face and a flair for the dramatic.  Some might find her slender frame uncomfortably skinny but still, it’s a welcome debut for this country.

LAOS – On-anong Homsombath.  In a region full of stunners, she has one of the plainer faces in te bunch, that even if she has solid stage chops she is nowhere in contention for the Top 20.

LEBANON – Maya Reaidy.  She has a classic beauty that has a passing resemblance to Father of the Bride actress Kimberly Williams, and she made a great impression in the preliminary competition.  Her up-close video also shows she has strong communication skills, so she could conceivably win over the selection committee and be the first semifinalist from this country since 1973.

MALAYSIA – Jane Teoh.  She’s cute and polished, but well, she’s more a P.A.T.I.S. level contender.

MALTA – Francesca Mifsud.  She’s actually a significant step in the right direction for this country, and is performing at a high level.  She can be a sleeper surprise for the Top 20.

MAURITIUS – Varsha Ragoobarsing.  I think her choice of gown made her look a tad bigger than she was and didn’t quite flatter her. Another member of the P.A.T.I.S. crew.

MEXICO – Andrea Toscano.  You never discount this country, and this country will always be one of those in contention for the Top 20 and beyond.  She was one of the evening gown highlights with her dramatic lacy red number.  There are some pundits hyping her for a Final Five finish, but well, the competition is a tad too cutthroat to assure that.  But I think she’s a Top 20 shoo-in with a play for the Top 10 and beyond.

COMING UP:  MONGOLIA to PERU

MISS UNIVERSE 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

GUAM -Athena Su McNinch.  Her Chinese / American Irish blend is intriguing and she’s a good communicator but otherwise she’s more a P.A.T.I.S. level contender.

GUATEMALA – Mariana Garcia.  Her facial features are a tad too angular that for many pageant fans and pundits overrides her strengths.

HAITI – Samantha Colas.  To be blunt, she’s the plainest delegate fielded by this country in recent years.  Still her story as a survivor of the 2011 earthquake may win some points with the selection committee.

HONDURAS – Vanessa Villars.  She beat CANADA in last year’s Miss International and made the Top 15.  She delivered a Top 20-caliber performance, but with so many strong performers this year, her making the cut was far from assured (while CANADA sparkled and is on the road to vindication).

HUNGARY -Enikő Kecskès.  Her surname is a tongue-twister waiting to happen–it’s pronounced “ketch-kesh”.  There are some fans and pundits who feel her figure is a tad too skeletal for comfort, and may be seen as unhealthy.

ICELAND – Katrín Lea Elenudóttir.  She’s actually born in Russia with the name Ekaterina Skorobogatova.  She and her mother moved to Iceland when she was eight, and as her mother married an Icelandic man, she adopted an Icelandic name and is by all account very much raised Icelandic.  It’s a nice contrast of ice and fire, as she embodies ice in a blue swimsuit and then delivered some heat in her fiery red evening gown.  She could also be a sleeper surprise for the Top 20.

INDIA – Nehal Chudasama.  Many raved about her preliminary competition performance that she is figuring in many pageant pundits’ top 20 lists.  This country has an uneven run over the past two decades but se could possibly be one of those bright lights.

INDONESIA – Sonia Fergina Citra.  She’s cute, but she doesn’t quite have the charisma of her two predecessors.  Still, she’s undeniably polished, and she may have an edge with her great communication skills to win over the selection committee.

IRELAND -Grainne Gallanagh.  Her given name rhymes with “Kanye”, as in the superstar rapper.  This blonde seems to ave the polish on top of her gab that she seems to have an inside track to the Top 20.

ISRAEL – Nikol Reznikov.  Her highlight was in the evening gown round as she bucked tradition by sporting a chic white pantsuit.  Unlike what happened to, say Japan 2005, this is a fashion risk that paid off wonderfully.  Otherwise, there might be some misgivings about her figure and her facial features may be deemed a tad angular.

ITALY – Erica de Matteis.  She’s cute but less polished than most of the contenders so as likeable as she may be she is not in serious contention for the Top 20.

JAMAICA – Emily Sara-Claire Maddison.  She facially resembles Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (think the mocha-complexioned version with less jiggly boobs) but with a fiercer contingent from her part of the world, she might be crowded out of the Top 20.

COMING UP:  JAPAN to MEXICO