MISS EARTH 2019 AT THE HOMESTRETCH: FIRE GROUP (PART 2)

NEPAL – Riya Basnet.  She reminds me a bit of Miss Universe 1994 from India, Sushmita Sen.  She looks like she’ll have a fast-track ticket to the semifinals thanks to her Eco-Beauty video, which garnered a host of raves.  But would she have enough charisma to advance to the further rounds?  It’s possible…

NETHERLANDS – Nikki Prein.  She has one of the prettiest faces in this year’s batch.  But I have a feeling she’ll be dinged in “Figure & Form” as she’s on the voluptuous side, and I’m not certain if this pageant is as open-minded about thicker body types unlike Miss World and Miss Universe are lately.

NIGERIA – Modupe Susan Garland.  She’s garnering strong compliments for her good looks and solid communication skills, but we all know one African is oveshadowing them all.

POLAND – Krystyna Sokołowska.  She made a splash in the Intelligence round by reporting she actually single-handedly secured a patch of forest land to protect it.  I’m not that into her looks unlike many previous contenders from her country, but I still find her great looking and still worthy of advancing to the semifinals.

RUSSIA – Anna Baksheeva.  She’s a gorgeous babe amidst a bevy of stunning Eastern EUropean babes.  Considering most of the attention is affixed towards BELARUS and UKRAINE, would thee be enough room in the semifinals for this lady?

SIERRA LEONE – N’jainatu Sesay.  Africa has fielded quality delegates to this pageant over several editions, and this lady is no exception.  But even with so many strong contenders, only limited room is available, and one slot seems secure for a splashy African.

SINGAPORE – Gerlyn Cheah.  She’s generally a solid, worthwhile contender.  An underrated gem.

SOUTH AFRICA – Nazia Wadee.  She’s of Indian descent and she made the biggest splash in the Intelligence round.  She could make a play in the semifinals, alongside NEPAL and INDIA.

SOUTH SUDAN – Asara Bullen Panchol.  See SIERRA LEONE.

SPAIN – Sonia Hernández Romeo.  She exudes a lot of charisma all throughout her stay, and she proved to be an engaging convesationalist in the Intelligence round.  Some are pegging her as having a play for an element, but I have a feeling there are other ladies who are firecely scrambling for those honors.

THAILAND – Teeyapar Sretsirisuvarna.  I’m not into her facial features, but we know she passes muster in figure, and most especially in intelligence, as she made a splash dressed up in a blue terno-style dress made of recycled plastic.  With that splashy interview, she can make a play for a Karen Ibasco-style victory.

US VIRGIN ISLANDS – Talisha White.  We found this year’s Lizzo of this batch with this lady.  Though she’s obviously a longshot to make the semifinals, we have to salute her for embracing her curves and making a great impression in the Intelligence round.

VENEZUELA – Michell Castellanos.  She’s outgoing and exudes oodles of charisma.  I can’t picture a Top Eight without her, with her making a possible play for one of the elements.

ZIMBABWE – Monalisa Chiredzero.  She’s the last to arrive, but I think she’s another fierce African contender.  Wonder if there would be enough room to include her…

COMING UP:  WATER GROUP (from AUSTRIA to LIBERIA)

MISS EARTH 2019 AT THE HOMESTRETCH: FIRE GROUP (PART 1)

In its 19-year history, Miss Earth has weathered its share of controversies that many international pageant fans and pundits decided to discredit and dismiss this institution.  Since 2012, there is that attempted videotaped vote-buying (which did not materialize), reports of sexual favors from sponsors.  But we have to hand it to this pageant and its cause–it continues to shoulder on and attract 80+ delegates from its fifth year onwards,   Other rising major pageants struggle to even maintain a roster in the 70s level.

This year’s pageant is actually very exciting this year.  We are treated to a bevy of stunning lookers from Eastern Europe, then some overachievers like a medical doctor is competing, and there is the splashy African who generated viral buzz by embracing our culture and speaking our language.  With such an exciting, colorful batch like this one, it saddens me that the Miss Earth Facebook page scaled down its coverage–unlike in the previous editions, you can count on them to deliver comprehensive photos of the key judging events, but that didn’t materialize this year (except for videos).  I have to rely on photos from other pageant sits, and they fall disappointingly short of compreshensive as I woudl have wanted.

Needless to say, I’ll frame my review in terms of the groups the 95 delegates were assigned in and make my assessments from there.  Let’s start with the FIRE group, starting with…

ARGENTINA – Florencia Barretto Fessler.  SHe exudes a lot of charisma and was solid in interview, so she could make a play for the semifinals.

ARMENIA – Rippi Sargsyan.  She’s pretty with an alabaster complexion prized in these sores.  A worthwhile contender.  Wonder if her counterpart competing at Miss Grand International is related to her (her sister, perhaps)?

AUSTRALIA – Susana Downes.  Most are not really buzzing about her, that the main thing going for her is her half-Filipina heritage.  Still, this country is recently faring really well here, so she might still have a play for the semifinals.

BOLIVIA – Fernanda Pereira.  This lady, to her credit, is polished, but there are fiercer contenders out there.

CANADA – Mattea Henderson..  She’s one of the sensations in the intelligence round with her strong advocacy and gift of gab.  But many are on the fence about her charisma, if she passed muster in the other two rounds.

DENMARK – Sara Langtved.  This blonde is good looking but perhaps she’s projecting a bit too pageant-patty for comfort.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Yasmín Evangelista.  In, say, Miss World or Miss Universe, she’ll be making a bigger splash and make a play amongst the likeliest to make it.  But here, I’m not sure how our predominantly Filipino judges would appreciate her sort of looks.  I like what I’m seeing, and I think she is strong in the Intelligence round, but it depends how open the judges were about her type of features–hopefully the big buzz over a splashy African may rub off on her and help her make the cut.

GERMANY – Kristyna Losova.  This redhead is generally solid.

HONDURAS – Rita Velasquez.  See BOLIVIA, with plainer features.

HUNGARY – Tünde Blága.  She’s attractive but not generating charisma or buzz.

KAZAKHSTAN – Altynay Assenova.  She’s a more-than-worthwhile Asian contender, but may not make as much impact as other Asians out there.

KOREA – Woo Hee-jun.  She has K-pop charisma about her, and that could be her ticket for making the final cut.

MALAYSIA – Nur Haziya Fatin.  She’s attractive but an also-ran in this strong batch.

MONGOLIA – Azzaya Tsogt-Ochir.  This country has been fielding strong charismatic contenders like this lady, and though it’s very competitive this year, it’s still possible there could be room for her.

MONTENEGRO – Nikoleta Rakočević.  She’s generally plain, so it’s unlikely she’s making major inroads and unlikely to duplicate the semifinal finisher predecessor.

COMING UP:  NEPAL to ZIMBABWE

MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2019: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

PHILIPPINES – Samantha Ashley Lo.  Her journey from Manila (or Cebu) to Caracas turned out to be an odyssey worthy of a full-length novel, with a controversy involving a fake passport, and friction between her and the national pageant (and also her training camp).  I will not discuss further about the implications of that odyssey at this point as that story is still continuing to unfold, but at least now that she’s in Caracas, she is bound to vindicate the non-placement of her predecessor.  Nawat likes controversy and she delivered oodles of that.  I can envision her making the Top 10, with some speculating she could win it all for the controversy factor.  Let’s see how this drama resolves…

POLAND – Patrycja Wożniak.  She is undeniably great looking and could make a play for the Top 20.

PORTUGAL – Laura Cunha Gameiro.  The “P” contingent is generally really fierce but this lady is the unfortunate exception, as not only is she not as polished, she is “voluptuous” and you know how Nawat frowns at that.

PUERTO RICO – Hazel Ortiz.  Here is another fierce Latina who could conceivably made a play for th FInal FIve.  She has charisma in spades.

REUNION ISLAND –  Laëtitia Hoareau-Boyer.  See PORTUGAL.

ROMANIA – Ramona Vătămanu.  SHe’s an angular, less polished Eastern European who is unlikely to make serious inroads.

RUSSIA – Kamilla Khusainova.  SHe’s a great looker who looks like to have an inside track to the Top 20.

SOUTH AFRICA – Belinde Schreude.  There are only two representatives from Africa in this pageant this year, and so far the buzz is this the one more likely to advance from her continent.  I actually prefer her over the heavily buzzed about AUSTRALIA.

SPAIN – Ainara de Santamaría.  She’s undeniably gorgeous, but would that be enough for her to make the cut?

SWEDEN – Clara Wahlqvist.  She’s solid, but other blondes like AUSTRALIA and SOUTH AFRICA are making more impact.

THAILAND – Arayha Suparurk.  Well, we have to hand it to her she physically fits what Nawat tends to be after, and with that, it is likely she’ll make the Final Five.

UKRAINE – Viktoriya Myronova.  See POLAND and RUSSIA.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Emily Irene Delgado.  Her features are not my cup of tea, but I can understand how many may regard her as good looking and I won’t object her inclusion in the Top 20.

VENEZUELA – Valentina Figuera.  The host contestant is of the same lofty standard as most representatives from her country in other international pageants.  It looks like she’s a shoo-in in the Final Five.

VIETNAM – Nguyễn Hà Kiều Loan.  She’s a polished contender who can make a play for the Top 20.

With all 60 contestants accounted for, here is my Leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  PANAMA, PUERTO RICO, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

SHOO-INS:  AUSTRALIA, BELARUS, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, INDIA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, MEXICO, PARAGUAY, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH AFRICA,

LIKELIEST:  BOLIVIA, CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, JAPAN, NETHERLANDS, NIGERIA, POLAND, RUSSIA, SPAIN, UKRAINE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VIETNAM

POPULAR VOTE FACTOR:  MYANMAR

EXCELLENT: BASHKORTOSTAN, CUBA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, ITALY, NEPAL, NICARAGUA,

VERY STRONG:  ALBANIA, ARMENIA, EGYPT, GERMANY, GUADELOUPE, LEBANON, MACAU, SWEDEN

STRONG:  CURACAO, FRANCE, HAITI, IRELAND,

VERY GOOD:  BULGARIA, ESTONIA, LATVIA, ROMANIA

GOOD:  MAURITIUS, PORTUGAL, REUNION,

Here is my “Fearful” Forecast:

FINAL FIVE:  BRAZIL, PANAMA, PUERTO RICO, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

TOP 10:  BELARUS, MALAYSIA, MEXICO, PERU, PHILIPPINES

TOP 20:  AUSTRALIA, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, INDIA, INDONESIA, PARAGUAY, RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

BUBBLING UNDER:  CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, JAPAN, NETHERLANDS, NIGERIA, POLAND,  SPAIN, UKRAINE, VIETNAM

STRIKING DISTANCE:  BASHKORTOSTAN, CUBA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, ITALY, MYANMAR, NEPAL, NICARAGUA,

Let’s see wat further drama would Nawat pull out as the finals roll in.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH