Though getting 15 of the eventual Top 21 (because of the popular vote–more on that later), the results of this year’s Miss Grand International was filled with socks and surprises. It resulted with me only getting five of the Top 10 and two of the Fival Five.
Though I did include Vietnam (Bùi Phương Nga) in my forecast, she basically made it by virtue of popular vote, which give her an automatic ticket to the Top 10. She squeaked past erstwhile leader Cambodia (Dy Molika) during te closing hours of voting–to be blunt, I’m glad VIetnam made the cut as she is Top 20-worthy to begin with.
I only placed Spain (Patricia Lopez) in my “Bubbling Under” list but I’m glad she made as far as the Top Ten. She does have great looks, and her passing resemblance to the outgoing Miss Grand International might have bolstered her cause.
I’m similarly satisfied and have no objections with the inclusion of Australia (Kimberly Gundani), New Zealand (Hayley Rose Robinson), and Sri Lanka (Pawani Vithanage). All three are polished contenders who carried themselves well so it’s not that surprising they made the cut.
I only placed Kazakhstan (Ayim Isengalieva) in my “Striking Distance” list but I also have no objections with her inclusion. I only underestimated her as I thought she would be drowned out being packed in a cluster of Asians within her alphabetical range. I’m glad she made a strong enough impression nevertheless.
Sure, she made the Top 10 in Miss Supranational last year, but I still maintain that Costa Rica (Nicole Montoya) is a headscratcher. Why in the hell did Nawat reward her overbaked, Dunavka Trifunovka-level presentation style? Her inclusion is even more galling when you consider who were shut out to make way for her…
For starters, the entire African continent was shutout, even with the strong caliber of Tanzania (Queen Mugesi) and Zambia (Isabel Chikoti). Just because the black race is represented with Australia and Dominican Republic (Mayte Brito) doesn’t excuse Nawat and company from overlooking worthy ladies from this contient.
Also outrageous were the omissions of Czech Republic (Kristýna Langová) and Philippines (Eva Psychee Patalinjug), who are 1st runner-up and winner respectively for the Ruth Ocumarez Award. Again, Nawat and company don’t put a premium on facial beauty that led to Kristyna’s omission. In the case of Eva’s omission, it probably boiled down to her getting penalized heavily for her evenign gown trip, though some observers also quibble about her less-than-standout styling all throughout. I’m sad Eva was shut out as I thought despite the imperfections she still had what it takes to secure a Top 20 spot.
Another shocking point of contention were two of the perceived front-runners shut-out of the Top FIve. Thailand (Namoey Chanaphan) was not even allowed to advance to the Top 10–galling considering the pageant’s head honcho Nawat is her countryman. At least Venezuela (Gilliannis ALvarez) got furter to the Top 10, but getting shut out of the winners’ circle is still galling for most pageant fans and pundits (including myself).
Okay, we have to concede that both Indonesia (Nadia Purwoko) and Puerto Rico (Nicole Marie Colón) are excellent speakers, and in some respect that quality alone might justify their runner-up placements (2nd and 3rd runners-up respectively). But many pageant fans and pundits still raise their objection over their high placements and many felt they don’t have enough charisma to outperform the two aforementioned front-runners. There is more ire targetted towards Indonesia as in the judging panel is her fashion designer/pageant coach and a former winner from her country, so many objected that there is inherent bias.
Pageant fans and pundits are not alone in believing India (Meenakshi Chaudhary) should have been the winner–apparently many of the fellow contestants shared the same sentiment, as shown in this picture of them huddling around her after the pageant.
There are conspiracy theorists who are spreading word that the fainting incident of Paraguay (Clara Sosa) was fake and staged to generate buzz for this pageant. I’d like to give Clara the benefit of the doubt here as she’s also articularte and gorgeous like Miss India, and I did believe she could usurp India’s almost iron-clad status as the one to beat. Still, how long will Nawat keep up with his Latin fixation? Though at least the choice of two gorgeous looking ladies as the Top Two is welcome, hope we get to see beauty prevail in future editions to come.