The subtitle to my review of Miss World Philippines 2019 alludes to the fact that the two key frontrunners bear the same name as members of the group Destiny’s Child*1, albeit spelled slightly differently, and a reference that it seems it is destiny that the lady who ultimately got the plum prize seems “destined” to win it for so many factors.  The Smart Araneta Coliseum is this year’s venue for this pageant–this is slightly unexpected as the venue is THE bailiwick of the rival national pageant, Binibining Pilipinas.  I suppose with another party hovering about the possession of the Miss Universe franchise, the Aranetas opted to be open to cooperate with their perceived rivals instead of flat-out refusing them.  How did the show turn out?

*1 The two non-Beyonce members of the final lineup, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

With the 40 candidates in shimmering silver minidresses, they danced to a relentlessly peppy opening number.  And it’s not just any modern club-banger, but bless my Eurovision-loving heart it turned out to be “La La Love” by Ivi Adamou, which was a fan favorite when it competed for Cyprus in 2012.  Wonder what made the musical director choose this seven-year-old song instead of any other more modern numbers?  Whatever the case, I loved it.

Two Miss World Philippines titleholders from 2017 were on-hand to host:  Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 winner Winwyn Marquez and Miss World Philippines 2017 Laura Lehmann.  Each were paired with a male co-host, GMA talents EA Guzman and Victor Basa respectively.  There is nothing to fault about Winwyn and EA’s spiels and hosting, but there is nothing much to write about them either.  Meanwhile Victor oozes a lot of charisma in his hosting and Laura Lehmann is just sensational, especially when she conducted the interview rounds as she showcased a sharp presence of mind while maintaining an engaging charm.

Unlike Binibining Pilipinas, which chose to whittle down its 40 candidates to a Top 25 for the past for the past three years, the organization still kept the older format of having all 40 candidates parade in swimsuit and evening gown.  The swimsuit segment featured a medley of two songs all fused to a thumping dance mix provided by DJ Aron–the first half featured his remix of Sia’s “Bird Set Free” while the second half featured his remix of Ariana Grande‘s “7 Rings“.  The first half of candidates wore pink one-piece swimsuits while the second half wore blue swimsuits of the same style from chief sponsor Bench.

The evening gown competition, meanwhile, featured instrumental versions of hit songs–I have a hard time figuring out the tunes, but I know the third group of ten paraded their gowns to Ariana Grande’s smash “Thank U Next“. and after all paraded in their designer gowns, an instrumental version of Panic! at the Disco‘s “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” then played.

After the parades, the girls were serenaded by six rising matinee idols from GMA’s talent pool, dubbed the GLU Boys, singing the Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello hit “Señorita“.  For me this was the low point of the program as it’s obvious the guys were lip-synching and their recorded rendition of the song was just limp and lifeless.  I think GMA is banking on the collective cuteness of these boys to make it work but I’m not sure any potential fangirls will swoon to this thing–most likely they’ll just snore.

I only selected a Top 16 in my “Fearful” Forecast, without realizing they’re actually going for a Top 20 which then expanded to a Top 22.  All the ladies who made the Top 22 were in my radar, and are expected choices.  I did peg one candidate to make the Top 16 so by default she wins the RUTH OCUMAREZ AWARD and she is:

CANDIDATE NO. 33 – Justiene Ortega.  I thought she might have great prospects thanks to her Top Model shortlist, but upon further review, I understand why she missed the cut–her features sometimes register as too angular for comfort, and this is evident in her finals night performance (even if this may not hold much weight in the selection).  I think she missed the cut by little, as collectively this group of ladies are great communicators and this is no exception.