PORTUGAL – Angelo Amaro. He straddles the divide between attractive and plain. In other words, unlikely to make a serious play for the Top 16.
PUERTO RICO – Edgar Irizarry. His formal wear portrait made me recall the cover of the late James Ingram‘s 1990s greatest hits album. Otherwise his features are, shall we say, an unconventional sort, and he’s not exuding much charisma at all.
SOUTH AFRICA – Marcus Max Karsten. This country has been doing really well in this pageant, as it had two consecutive runner-up finishes thus far. Though actually I find those two guys better than him, I think he is the country’s best bet to secure a win. He exudes a bright personality and has a bod that can hold its own with the rippled physiques of other guys out there. His interview skills might be the key that can help him clinch the win. By the way, he’s runner-up behind Fezile Mkhize, who made his country proud by becoming 1st runner-up at Mister World last month.
SPAIN – José Luis Navarro. He has a lean but defined physique, suitably tall height (but not the tallest unlike last year), and a classic boyish handsomeness. Most of the time that could be enough for this country to make serious inroads but last year, they missed the cut as the guy lacked that “spark”. It seems this time, they have a guy with “spark” as he’s lively in photos taken of him so he can be one of the frontrunners in this year’s pageant. Let’s see how this all pans out…
SRI LANKA – H. Maduranga Dilshan. He looks like PANAMA’s taller, leaner brother. There is a heavy buzz about him making the cut, and I wouldn’t be that surprised if that happens.
SWEDEN – Sebastian Jonsson. Like MALAYSIA, he exudes a mature vibe, but he possesses an appealing handsomeness to help offset those mature features. He is also as tall or almost as tall as CHINA, and that could be his ticket to make the Top 16.
SWITZERLAND – Kenan Murseli. Here is a more conventionally handsome fellow. Now, the question is, does he have enough “spark” to make an impression with the Thai judges? Remember those upset decisions last year… I also have a feeling he and NORTH CYPRUS are managed by the same director as his name sounds Turkish.
TAIWAN – Kevin Chang. He actually made a strong positive impression earlier this year when he competed at Mister International and he’s still making a great impression here, too. Will there be room in the Top 16 for him?
THAILAND – Jeerawat Vetsakol. Boy, Southeast Asia is loaded with boyish cuties this year, and the host contestant fits in that mold too. Though my favorite boyish cutie amongst them is my countryman, I have a feeling this guy will rank high in the finals.
TOGO – Kwassy Adjamah. Though he might be dinged for his lack of height and his “fabulousness”, this Mister Supranational 2018 veteran might indeed become the “black-man-most-likely” as he’s the one with the brightest spark amongst the black contestants–tis was the factor why he got the African continental title at Mister Supranational.
TUNISIA – Houssem Saïdi. There are people who find his beefy and swarthy features highly appealing and pegged him as a likely Top 16 possibility. Me, I’m not that bullish as I don’t see a spark in the way he projects.
U S A – Branden Cruz. Yes, he’s buffed and good-looking so on paper he’s a good follow-up to the reigning Mister Global, Dario Duque. But like his stint at last year’s Men Universe Model, he has an inconsistent spark. It’s still very likely he’ll make the cut, but no way he can pull off a back-to-back.
VIETNAM –Nguyễn Hùng Cường. Like HONG KONG and JAPAN, he may not be conventionally handsome, but he has a spark and charisma to make inroads into the Top 16.
With all 38 contestants all accounted for, let me trout out my personal leaderboard to share how I think they all stand:
TOP CONTENDERS: BRAZIL, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN
SHOO-INS: CHILE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, INDONESIA, KOREA, NORTH CYPRUS, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, THAILAND,
LIKELIEST: EGYPT, GUAM, HONG KONG, INDIA, JAPAN, MEXICO, PANAMA, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TAIWAN, U S A, VIETNAM
EXCELLENT: CUBA, MYANMAR, NIGERIA, TOGO, TUNISIA,
VERY STRONG: CHINA, CZECH REPUBLIC, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, PERU, PORTUGAL,
STRONG: HAITI, LAOS, PUERTO RICO
With my leaderboard in mind, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:
FINAL FIVE: BRAZIL, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, NORTH CYPRUS, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN
TOP 10: CHILE, INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, THAILAND
TOP 16: KOREA, MEXICO, SRI LANKA, SWITZERLAND, U S A, VIETNAM
BUBBLING UNDER: EGYPT, GUAM, HONG KONG, INDIA, JAPAN, SWEDEN, TAIWAN
STRIKING DISTANCE: CUBA, MYANMAR, NIGERIA, TOGO, TUNISIA
i have to respect the fact that this year’s batch featured consistently buffed and/or fit bodies–none of them could be considered “out-of-shape”, not even the thick PERU. Even if I peg the three likeliest to be BRAZIL (Gil Raupp), SOUTH AFRICA (Marcus Max Karsten), and SPAIN (Jose Luis Navarro), there actually is no runaway leader that I have observed, that upsets may indeed abound. Looking forward to see how this all unfolds. Good luck to these “inspiring gentlemen”!