SINGAPORE – Zach Haiz. He’s the sort we expect from a typical representative from this country–attractive-enough face with a superbly buffed physique. The question is, does he have enough charisma to make the Top 16?
SOUTH AFRICA – Heinrich Gabler. He’s beefy and good looking but he sometimes register as a tad rough and most of the time Rosko & Company like their guys smooth and finessed. Still don’t count him out of making the Top 16.
SPAIN – Yeray Hidalgo. Many Filipino pageant fans and pundits are buzzing about this handsome Spaniard and rating him as one of those most likely to make the Final Five. I have to agree he exudes a lot of charisma and he reminds me a lot of television personality and celebrity activist Iliac Diaz, so it’s baffling why the sponsors aren’t noticing him? Is it because of the presence of PAKISTAN, who has a similar jawline like his? But the prejudging round turned out to be a highlight for him as I sense a luminescence about him that made me believe he shone during the prejudging round while PAKISTAN just didn’t. If he maintains this radiant charisma during the finals he might knock one of the perceived favorites out of the Final Five–wonder who could that be?
Even as I really like this guy, I still wonder what if
Enrique Cavill, er, I mean, Daniel Torres*2 competed here instead? He seems to actually be more the Manhunt type with his off-the-charts sex appeal. But then again, we might be getting a similar scenario with the presence of GREECE–he might accidentally cancel out a bit of GREECE’s Superman appeal. Still, it’s nice to imagine a showdown between these Supermen, right?
*2 Veteran of Mister International 2016/17 (Top 9) and Mister World 2019 (Spainhour-Ajdani awardee)
SRI LANKA – Sajith Perera. I have a feeling he’s actually the tallest contestant of this batch, and his lean and trim frame can give him serious inroads into the Top 16.
SWEDEN – Elvir Aljicevic. Here’s another charismatic boyish cutie, one who I can get behind with, and who looks like a shoo-in to the Top 16, with a possible play for the Final Five.
SWITZERLAND – David Keller. His pre-arrival physique portrait made me think he could probably make a play for the Final Five, but as he arrived in Manila, he turned out to be a letdown–yes, he’s buffed and some may consider him cute, but he just looked washed out. There is a difference between being luminescent like SPAIN and being pale and pasty like this guy.
THAILAND – Sittipong Imsatian. He exudes this nice Asian charisma that he looks like he has an inside track to the Top 16.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Reon Elder. This dark-complexioned fellow may not fit my notion of handsomeness, but he has charisma and seems a bright, outgoing personality. He particularly made a big splash in national costume, as his is a carnival costume with stilts that for me is the clear standout. Could his personality parlay him a slot in the Top 16?
TURKEY – Yekta Baki. He and GREECE could pass off as relatives albeit this guy is a tad subdued that he is no threat of stealing GREECE’s thunder. Still, he’s competing at a very high level that he could be a Top 16 possibility.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Mohammad Tamseer. He is attractive and buffed, but well, overshadowed by a bevy of lookers this year.
UNITED KINGDOM – Ben Spong. See BELGIUM, but this time a tad underrated.
VIETNAM – Phạm Đình Lĩnh. There are some buzzing he could be a possible usurper to the current two-way battle for the title. Yes, this country has been shining in the male pageant arena as of late, but as much as I can concede he has what it takes to belong in the Final Five, I wouldn’t mind having, say, SPAIN, swap places with him.
It turns out this year’s batch is so competitive that the weakest links I actually rated an otherwise respectable “VERY STRONG”, which in other years would indicate finishing in the mid-pack, not at the bottom. Though I cannot say it is as magnificent as the 2012 edition, I have to say it is a sterling batch that comes close, and yes, these guys deliver some steam heat especially in that swimsuit-and-sneakers event. Now, let me trot out my leaderboard:
TOP CONTENDERS: BRAZIL, GREECE, NETHERLANDS, PHILIPPINES, VIETNAM
SHOO-INS: CZECH REPUBLIC, PARAGUAY, SWEDEN
LIKELIEST: AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, BULGARIA, FERNANDO DE NORONHA, INDIA, INDONESIA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, POLAND, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, THAILAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, TURKEY, UNITED KINGDOM
EXCELLENT: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GUAM, MEXICO, MOROCCO, NEPAL, PAKISTAN, PERU, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
VERY STRONG: KOREA, SWITZERLAND
With all 36 contestants accounted for, here comes my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP FIVE: BRAZIL, GREECE, NETHERLANDS, PHILIPPINES, VIETNAM
TOP 15: AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, BULGARIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, INDIA, INDONESIA, PARAGUAY, SPAIN, SWEDEN, THAILAND, UNITED KINGDOM
BUBBLING UNDER: FERNANDO DE NORONHA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, POLAND, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA, SRI LANKA, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, TURKEY
STRIKING DISTANCE: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GUAM, MEXICO, MOROCCO, NEPAL, PAKISTAN, PERU, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
With the “Classic Handsome” look back in vogue, it’s a battle between two chiseled stunners from BRAZIL and GREECE. There might be some usurpers who could pull off a surprise, like the very motivated and driven NETHERLANDS, but so far it looks like these two guys are far ahead of the rest of the pack.