SWITZERLAND – Jastina Doreen Riederer. It’s nice to see the official Miss Switzerland winner back to this pageant, and she is delivering a worthwhile, creditable performance.
THAILAND – Sophida Kanchanarin. She’s not conventionally pretty, but she has stage polish and she has strong English-speaking skills–and many times an English-speaking Thai would make the cut. In the previous two occasions this country hosted this pageant, the host delegate misses the cut. Many are buzzing an exception will be made here.
TURKEY – Tara De Vries. Her surname is Dutch–she got to represent this country thanks to her Turkish mother. As such her communication skills are leaps and bounds superior to a typical representative from tis country. She has a bubbly charm and a human interest story about a brother with a rare disease, but it is far from certain that she will make the cut.
UKRAINE – Karyna Zhosan. This blonde has a good charitable advocacy and strong, matter-of-fact English speaking skills. She delivered a polished performance in the preliminary competition so she could be a possible Top 20 contender.
URUGUAY – Sofia Marrero. She is an otherwise solid, polished contender with facial features that are a tad angular.
U S A – Sarah Rose Summers. She’s a perky, bubbly blonde who seems a shoo-in for the Top 10 until that controversy arose around a filmed covnersation between her, AUSTRALIA and COLOMBIA. It’s still uncertain if there will be a fallout from that incident but at least she and the other ladies from that video are making amends to the offended parties.
U S VIRGIN ISLANDS – Aniska Tonge. See BELIZE, but at least she saw action at Miss World 2014 and Miss America 2013.*1
*1 Yes, Miss America now made territories like this one and Puerto Rico eligible for that pageant.
VENEZUELA – Sthefany Gutierrez. Despite the current crisis this country is enduring, you can never discount this pageant powerhouse, and this brunette with the waist-length tresses seems a shoo-in for the Top Ten.
VIETNAM – H’Hen Niê. She was one of the subjects of that controversial conversation because of her lack of facility with English. But it takes no translator to appreciate the charisma she possiesses especially with her hip, distinctive haircut. She epitomizes How Do I Look host Jeannie Mai’s now (in)famous comment, “Yellow is the color of joy,” as she’s a vision in canary yellow in both the swimsuit and evening gown rounds.
ZAMBIA – Melba Shakabozha. Lumping up Asia and Africa together is just brutal, as this year both continents have astounding contenders. This lady makes a distinctive presence with her up-do, generating a dignified presence. Her communication skills is also strong, but a tad short of qualifying for SDE.
With all 94 accounted for, let me trot out my Leaderboard:
TOP CONTENDERS: PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, SOUTH AFRICA
POSSIBLE USURPERS: CANADA, COLOMBIA, SPAIN
SHOO-INS: ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, IRELAND, MEXICO, U S A, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM
LIKELIEST: ALBANIA, ANGOLA, AUSTRALIA, BARBADOS, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CAMBODIA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, CHILE, CHINA, CURACAO, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, GHANA, GREAT BRITAIN, GREECE, HONDURAS, ICELAND, INDIA, INDONESIA, JAMAICA, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, LEBANON, MALTA, NAMIBIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NICARAGUA, NIGERIA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, POLAND, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SRI LANKA, SWITZERLAND, THAILAND, TURKEY, UKRAINE, ZAMBIA
INTELLIGENCE FACTOR: NEW ZEALAND,
EXCELLENT: ARGENTINA, ARMENIA, ARUBA, BULGARIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, EGYPT, GERMANY, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, KYRGYZSTAN, MALAYSIA, MAURITIUS, MYANMAR, PORTUGAL, SAINT LUCIA, SINGAPORE, SWEDEN, URUGUAY,
VERY STRONG: CROATIA, FINLAND, GEORGIA, GUAM, GUATEMALA, KOSOVO, MONGOLIA,
STRONG: BAHAMAS, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, HAITI, LAOS, NORWAY, U S VIRGIN ISLANDS,
VERY GOOD: BELIZE
Now, my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP THREE: PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, SOUTH AFRICA
FINAL FIVE: CANADA, COLOMBIA
TOP 10: ECUADOR, MEXICO, SPAIN, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM
TOP 20: BELGIUM, CURACAO, EL SALVADOR, GREAT BRITAIN, IRELAND, LEBANON, NEPAL, NIGERIA, UKRAINE, U S A
BUBBLING UNDER: ALBANIA, ANGOLA, AUSTRALIA, BARBADOS, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CAMBODIA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, CHILE, CHINA, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, GHANA, GREECE, HONDURAS, ICELAND, INDIA, INDONESIA, JAMAICA, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, MALTA, NAMIBIA, NETHERLANDS, NICARAGUA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, POLAND, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SRI LANKA, SWITZERLAND, THAILAND, TURKEY, ZAMBIA
STRIKING DISTANCE: ARGENTINA, ARMENIA, ARUBA, BULGARIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, EGYPT, GERMANY, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, KYRGYZSTAN, MALAYSIA, MAURITIUS, MYANMAR, NEW ZEALAND, PORTUGAL, SAINT LUCIA, SINGAPORE, SWEDEN, URUGUAY
This is looking like a pageant will never soon forget, with the promise of an epic showdown amongst three powerhouses. Will the PHILIPPINES‘ dream of a fourth Miss Universe be realized with the nearly unstoppable Catriona Gray, or will we again face heartbreak under the hands of PUERTO RICO’s stunning and charming Kiara Ortega, or can SOUTH AFRICA pull-off the rare back-to-back win with the overachieving Tamaryn Green? I’m extremely excited at the scenarios that may unfold. Best of luck to all the ladies!