RESULTS REACTION: MISS WORLD 2018

The thing about Miss World is that with the current system, you now know half of the Top 30 in advance.  But this year and last year, they decided to guarantee slots for all Top Five Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) finalists–potentially that would’ve been 19 slots out of 30, but with NEPAL (Shrinkhala Katiwada) already securing a slot via Multimedia and MEXICO (Vanessa Ponce) via the Head-to-Head challenge, that at least opened up 13 slots from the judges’ interviews.

Of the 13 remaining slots that I had to forecast, admittedly I was rather off as I only got six.  And though most are within my radar, there is one who turned out to be a big surprise for me…MARTINIQUE (Larissa Segarel).  I actually put her in my bottom six, even if she has good looks as I was not impressed at all with her during the Head-to-Head challenge.  But I think something changed between the Head-to-Head challenge and the judges’ interview–first, she decided to make herself over and sport an Afro bob (not sure if that is her natural hair or if it’s a wig–I presume the former) and that made her create a more striking presence that somehow won over the insiders interviewing her.  They were so impressed that she eventually ended up going as far as the Top 12.

I only put BARBADOS (Ashley Lashley) in my Striking Distance list because I found her stated ambition to become the UN Secretary General to be too ambitious and far-fetched and I wonder if she thought things through regarding exactly what it takes to achieve that position.  But then again, anything is possible and if she has the drive, determination and political savvy, she might be able to achieve it several decades from now.  Still, I think she edged out other Caribbean ladies mainly by the catchiness of her name.

BELARUS (Maria Vasilevich) was in my radar as she was indeed a strong communicator with a refreshing vibe and that helped her ultimately edge the big European favorite, FRANCE (Maeva Coucke).  Meanwhile I probably way underrated SCOTLAND (Linzi McLelland) and NORTHERN IRELAND (Katharine Walker) as I put them both in my Striking Distance list–I simply underestimated their strengths.

BELGIUM (Angeline Flor Pua) was also in my Bubbling Under list, so I’m not that surprised she made it and found her a refreshing choice.  For us Filipino fans, she’s also a consolation as at least there is still a Filipina present in the Top 30, albeit not carrying the Philippine sash and has a speaking pattern that is very Belgian and not Filipino.

NIGERIA (Anita Ukah) may have features that may register as angular but she’s undoubtedly very striking and that may help her impress the insider panel in the interview round.

I was under the impression BRAZIL (Jessica Carvalho) would be a shoo-in but somehow the insiders are not as impressed with her than the others mentioned above, and she didn’t win any challenges to secure her slot–she probably fell short by just a bit. I thought KOREA (Bo Ah Cho) would have an edge with her Top Five placement in Top Model and her distinctive chic techie girl persona would also give her a heads up with the insiders, but well, she also fell a tad short. I was similarly impressed with PUERTO RICO (Dayanara Martinez) during the Head-to-Head challenge plus that high ranking in the Sanya Tourism activity that I thought she might also have an edge, but again, like KOREA and BRAZIL, just fell a tad short.

Post the Top Model Top 32 shortlist and the first-round win in the Head-to-Head challenge, there were signs that PHILIPPINES (Katarina Rodriguez) is not really impressing the Miss World insiders that winning that head-to-head second round with VENEZUELA (Veruska Ljubisavljević) would’ve been crucial in securing our streak.  Unfortunately that fell through and our prospects were in jeopardy from then on.  I’ll discuss this more in my full contestant review for this pageant.  Many Filipino pageant fans would declare Katarina the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant, but there are three bigger candidates I have in mind for that title.

I thought based from the head-to-head challenge ENGLAND (Alisha Cowie) would’ve tugged at the insiders’ heartstrings but turns out two other representatives from her nation impressed the insiders more, and since the Sanya Tourism Promotional Video award has no bearing like with the other challenge events, she is the technical winner of the Holly Carpenter award.  Since I thought she would go far, she’s my 2nd runner-up for the Ruth Ocumarez award.  Meanwhile, KENYA (Finali Galanya)‘s strong communication skills and strong showings in Multimedia (3rd place) and BWAP (Top 12) should’ve presumably secured her a Top 30 slot, but again with such limited slots she fell a tad short.

Though in my “Fearful” Forecast, I only pegged TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (Ysabel Bisnath) in my Top 15 and ranked ENGLAND and KENYA higher than her, retroactively I realized she probably has more compelling qualities to go far over those two, so I decided to declare her the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award.  It was by bad stroke of luck she missed securing a Top 30 slot via the 2nd round of the Head-to-Head challenge because she was pitted against the powerhouse favorite MEXICO (Vanessa Ponce) and her BWAP project was good enough for a Top 12 shortlist so it’s a headscratcher why the insiders preferred other Caribbean ladies over her, as with her overachieving background she should’ve been one who can shake up the apple cart and come close to challenging the eventual winner for the crown.  For many, it’s an outrage she’s shut out of the Top 30.

I have mixed feelings with the Miss World Organization’s decision to revert back to the Continental format they implemented from 2005-2006.  Though it yielded some refreshing breakthroughs with the best finishes ever for BELARUS, UGANDA, and THAILAND (Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan), it also means to make way for the likes of BARBADOS and MARTINIQUE they would shut out a host of Asian standouts like CHINA (Mao Peirui), COOK ISLANDS (Reihana Koteka Wiki), INDIA (Anukreethy Vas), INDONESIA (Alya Nurshabrina) and JAPAN (Kanako Date).  To a certain extent, I can also speculate this system also prevented CHILE (Anahi Hormazabal) for the Americas and SOUTH AFRICA (Thulisa Keyi) from advancing further but then again, it might be the final night judges just took a liking for more refreshing choices like MAURITIUS (Murielle Ravina) and PANAMA (Solaris Barba) in their stead.

The winner from MEXICO (Vamessa Ponce) was a big favorite from the get-go so at least I can console myself that I got that right.  It’s also been long overdue for this country after some close calls last year, 2005, and most especially 2009.  Though most Filipinos would tend to tune out and feel this year’s results are disheartening, I think we should still keep the faith and with the right set of circumstances we still have the Miss World Organziation on notice.  Anyway, congratulations to the winner and may she have a fruitful reign.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

RESULTS REACTION: MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2018

I thought Miss Supranational would be tough to call but in terms of the Top 25, I got 21 correct.  But there a few twists amongst those I missed.  For instance, I pegged RUSSIA (Guzaliya Ismailova) in my bottom five, but the judges seem to take a liking to her and let her advance.  Her features are too angular for my taste, but well, somehow the Poles dug her–considering a similar result in the male counterpart, is it really a matter of taste, or is Poland, being one of those countires that elected a “populist” leader, is politically reverting back towards Russia, or could influence-peddling be at play?  I could only speculate…

Two ladies from Africa were in my “Striking Distance” list and I probably should’ve been a bit more bullish on their prospects:   MAURITIUS (Marie Anoushka Ahkeng) and NIGERIA (Daniella Orumwense) have merits, but I thought the ladies joining EQUATORIAL GUINEA (María Lucrecia Nve Maleva) would be KENYA (Ivy Marani) and RWANDA (Tina Pilot Tawase).  I suppose it’s a matter of the judges’ tastes that they prefer those two ladies.  MAURITIUS also ended up winning the Continental Queen title for Africa.

I still maintain that the likes of CANADA (Alyssa Boston), JAPAN (Yurika Nakamoto), and KOREA (Lee Eun-bi) are better than the three ladies I mentioned above, but well, we have to respect that the judges’ (and insiders) preferences will not always correspond with mine.

The clear winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant is PARAGUAY (Ana Paula Cespedes).  I think many were expecting her to rank high, but wonder if she rubbed any insider the wrong way that cost her a Top 25 slot?

I got seven of the Top 10, but only two of the Final Five.  The two ladies I got right, INDONESIA (Wilda Octaviana Situngkir) and MEXICO (Diana Romero), ended up taking the rear of the Final Five as 3rd and 4th runner-up respectively.  I did put eventual 2nd runner-up POLAND (Magdalena Bieńkowska) in my Top 10 and she was always poised to make the Final Five if somebody falls along the wayside, along with…

…the eventual Miss Supranational winner, PUERTO RICO (Valerie Vasquez).  But one I way underestimated was UNITED STATES (Katrina Jayne Dimaranan).  I underestimated how her outgoing personality and gift of gab can win over judges like the way she did at Binibining PIlipinas six years ago, and it seems the Poles love her exotic features.  Anyway, the final Q&A was the deciding factor that proved the most convincing argument why these two ladies deserved their Top Two placements.

I’m generally pleased with the results of this pageant and Valerie will be a great winner worthy of being the 10th anniversary milestone winner for this pageant.  Hope they continue with the generous multimedia sharing in future editions, that makes up for the embargo generated from the broadcast deals they have secured for various regions.  Hope broadcasters would air this pageant sooner from the actual event.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MISS UNIVERSE 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

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!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

The strongest from beginning to end: PUERTO RICO (Kiara Ortega), SOUTH AFRICA (Tamaryn Green), and PHILIPPINES (Catriona Gray).