RESULTS REACTION: MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2018

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.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

 

MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

SPAIN – Patricia Lopez Verdes.  She’s like a prettier version of the reigning Miss Grand International.  I would consider her a Top 20 possibility.

SRI LANKA – Pawani Vitthanage.  She’s surprisingly extremely polished and elegant, and looking her best with her hair pulled back.  She can easily join front-runner INDIA in the Top 20.

SURINAME – Safina Barsatie.  She’s not as pretty as NEW ZEALAND and SOUTH AFRICA, but she delivers a surprisingly polished performance all throughout the she belongs in the “underrated gems” list.

SWEDEN – Hanna-Louise Haag Tuvér.  She was a refreshing treat when she competed at Miss World last year and made the Top 40, but little did we know how she can turn her charisma up until she set foot in these shores, as she emerges as one of the most stunning faces in this year’s competition.  I’m surprised when they declared her vital statistics as possiessing of a 29-inch bust line, which might indicate she is the winner of the “Flapper” award for this batch.  I’m rooting for her to go Top 10 and beyond–her face, for me, is too gorgeous to be overlooked.

TAIWAN – Tania Tan Yi Rong.  Like GUADELOUPE, God bless her for her mere presence here–her best strategy is to enjoy this as a lovely Myanmar holiday.  Also I think we need to shave off 7 cms from her declared 1.67m stature–she registers more of a height 1.60 or even below.

TANZANIA – Queen Mugesi Ainory Gesase.  Amongst the black African contingent, for me she has the most gorgeous face and I’m rooting for her to be the black African most likely to make the cut.  Her gorgeousness, dignified bearing, and charisma are too good to be overlooked.

TATARSTAN – Zulfiya Sharafeeva.  She’s a great example of Eurasian beauty as typically found in her land, an autonomous republic within Russia.

THAILAND – Namoey Chanaphan.  She ticks all the boxes, with a combination of good looks, polished presence, movie star charisma, and a thus far impeccably flawless presentation.  I don’t know if she has what it takes to beat INDIA, but she seems a shoo-in for a runner-up finish.

UKRAINE –  Yana Laurinaichute.  She has a “Snow White” gorgeousness, with “hair black as ebony, skin white as snow and lips red as blood”.  That, along with a polished presence, gives her an inside track to the Top 20.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Paola Melissa Cossyleon.  She makes a distinctively hip presence with her brunette shoulder-length bob.  She is a solid contender throughout but will that be enough for her to make the final cut?

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Morgan Evans.  She may not be classically pretty but she has a sleekly slim figure that Nawat prizes and a polished presence all throughout.  She can indeed be a Top 20 possibility but with Dominican Republic seemingly a lock for the black Caribbean contingent, will there still be room for her?

VENEZUELA – Biliannis Alvarez.  Like INDIA and THAILAND, she’s a complete package who never made a misstep thus far.  She also probably has a sympathy factor going for her with the dire situation her nation is undergoing right now, and no doubt there will be something she’ll be saying about it.  She was first touted as a possible front-runner to beat but as the days go on all buzz seems directed towards INDIA’s way.  Still, a possible win remains in play.

VIETNAM – Bui Phuong Nga.  She fits the “Slender Asian” bill and she exudes a charisma that I like and found her facial features pleasant.  I would rather see her make the cut over CAMBODIA and INDONESIA, who are getting heavier buzz so far.

WALES – Lauren Parkinson.  It’s weird why I think she’s one of the short Welsh girls we see in international pageants lately as it turns out she’s 1.72m (5’8″ tall) and is the tallest amongst the British girls in this year’s pageant.  She’s not as polished as multiple contenders out there but she is doing her very best and delivered a creditable performance.

ZAMBIA – Isabel Chikos.  Though I tend to favor TANZANIA as the African most likely, sne could also be in contention of making the cut, as she’s also undeniably polished and has enough attractiveness to make a great impression.  Plus, there is the fact she has excellent singing chops as sown on the farewell party, singing Jessie J‘s “Price Tag” (featuring B.o.B.) and Rihanna‘s “Umbrella” with brio.

Now that all 75 contestants are accounted for, here’s how my leaderboard stacks up:

TOP CONTENDERS:  INDIA, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

SHOO-INS:  BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, MEXICO, PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, SWEDEN

LIKELIEST:  ALBANIA, AUSTRALIA, CAPE VERDE, CHINA, COLOMBIA, COOK ISLANDS, CUBA, JAPAN, NEPAL, NEW ZEALAND, PERU, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, TANZANIA, UKRAINE, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, VIETNAM, ZAMBIA

POPULAR VOTE FACTOR:  CAMBODIA, INDONESIA

HOST FACTOR:  MYANMAR

EXCELLENT:  ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, DENMARK, ECUADOR, ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, KAZAKHSTAN, KOREA, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, SIERRA LEONE, SURINAME, TATARSTAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

VERY STRONG:  CHILE, EL SALVADOR, ESTONIA, FINLAND, GERMANY, HAITI, HONG KONG, LEBANON, MACAU, NORWAY, PANAMA, WALES

STRONG: BELGIUM, GHANA, JAMAICA, KOSOVO, LAOS, MALAYSIA, MONGOLIA, SCOTLAND,

VERY GOOD:  BULGARIA, MOLDOVA,

GOOD:  COSTA RICA

FAIR:  GUADELOUPE, TAIWAN

Now, here’s my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  INDIA, PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

TOP 10:  BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, MEXICO, SWEDEN

TOP 20:  CAMBODIA, CUBA, INDONESIA, JAPAN, MYANMAR, PERU, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, TANZANIA, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:   ALBANIA, AUSTRALIA, CAPE VERDE, CHINA, COLOMBIA, COOK ISLANDS, NEPAL, NEW ZEALAND, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, UKRAINE, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS,  ZAMBIA

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, DENMARK, ECUADOR, ENGLAND, ETHIOPIA, KAZAKHSTAN, KOREA, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, SIERRA LEONE, SURINAME, TATARSTAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

I’m pleased with the general high quality of this year’s batch, with so many worthy contenders to choose from.  On top of that, we are treated to at least four or five stunning faces that are too gorgeous to overlook.  Nawat doesn’t always reward gorgeous faces–will he make an exception this time?  And is there anyone ready to stop INDIA (Meenakshi Chaudhary)’s path to victory?  Let’s see how it unfolds tonight.  Good luck to all the ladies!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

How well will these gorgeous faces fare? Czech Republic, Paraguay, Russia, and Sweden
Who will win? Thailand, India, or Venezuela?

MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2018: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

NEPAL – Urussa Joshi.  I have to compliment this year’s South Asian contingent as they are bringing it this year with fierce performances like the big front-runner INDIA.  This lady also delivered a performance worthy of belonging in the Top 20, but the question is will there be enoug room for her to make it?

NETHERLANDS – Kimberley Xhofleer.  I think she’s a great looking girl, but her styling with emphasis on her long flowing brunette locks made her register as too pageant-patty for comfort.  She should’ve taken chances with her styling, like the look she sported during the preliminary interview.  She has so much potential that hasn’t been realized yet.

NEW ZEALAND – Hayley Robinson.  I think she is an underrated gem who could pull off a sleeper surprise.  I found no fault with her performance and she seems to be competing at a high level so she could be a refreshing Top 20 possibility.

NORWAY – Maria Kassandra Barbantonis.  She has a gorgeous face, a trim-enough figure, and registers really well on photos.  But if you watch her move, you will see one major demerit–her catwalk style I would describe as the “IDGAF Walk”.  She moves as if she just simply wants to go from point A to point B and get it over with, and her hip poses seem to be more of an obligation.  It does register as she’s not really into this kind of thing, but I’m also mesmerized by that type of attitude, too.  Yes, her walk and the attitude it emanates will not win over the judges, but there is a side of me that wants to say bravo to her for walking that way.

PANAMA – Gabriela Mornhinweg.  The ladies representing countries beginning with the letter “P” are already renowned lately for being extraordinarily fierce, and this edition is no exception.  Yes, she’s not conventionally pretty but she does deliver flair and panache in her presentation.  But I have a feeling this year, she’s relatively the weakest link in this contingent.

PARAGUAY – Clara Sosa.  I find her face mesmerizingly breathtakingly gorgeous that I’m surprised she’s not that heavily buzzed about as a Top Five shoo-in.  There are people saying she has great interview skills, and she delivered a flawless presentation all throughout so far, so what gives?  I think she’s a possible usurper to INDIA’s win, if you ask me.

PERU – Andrea Moberg.  She’s actually a great follow-up to the reigning Miss Grand International Maria Jose Lora but with a more competitive group this year filled with stunning faces, I think her making the Top 20 is achievement enough.

PHILIPPINES – Eva Psychee Patalinjug.  When she earned this title at Binibining Pilipinas, I was excited and expecting her to deliver a Nicole Cordoves-caliber performance in this pageant.  But now that she’s in Myanmar, I have to be blunt and say that I’m slightly disappointed with her performance so far.  It may not be her fault though as she is obviously giving her all.  I think the issue is that we are greeted with a bevy of stunning faces this year that made Eva’s prospects with her less-classically-beautiful face dim somewhat.  Then came the evening gown trip that is going viral right now–it’s almost reminiscent of Miriam Quiambao‘s pratfall at Miss Universe 19 years ago.  But I’m very confident that Eva aced the interview department and she can use that incident as fodder for her onstage interview later on.  I’m rooting for her to finish in the Top FIve, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a major challenge to do that this year.  Hope Nawat doesn’t penalize her for the fall.

POLAND – Malwina Ratajczak.  This lady always has a good looks to be in serious contention for the Top 20, and se decided to go for a slow build strategy, shining brightest towards the pageant homestretch as she looked impeccable in the preliminary competition.  But then again, this contingent is extremely fierce and it’s far from assured that there is room for her in the Top 20.

PORTUGAL – Priscila Alves.  Traditionally this country is the weakest link in the “P” contingent but this lady is generally polished and near-faultless all throughout.  Yes, she’s overshadowed by more charismatic contenders, but she could pull off a sleeper surprise.

PUERTO RICO –  Nicole Marie Colon Rivera.  There are pageant fans and pundits hyping her as a Top 10 shoo-in or even make a possible play for the Top Five.  She does have te stage chops and flair but facewise, my eyes are drawn more towards MEXICO, PARAGUAY, and VENEZUELA.  Still, I agree she’s a strong contender and a Top 20 shoo-in.

RUSSIA –  Talia Aibedullina.  She has a serenely beautiful and stunning face and an impeccably graceful presence that I can forget she comes from a country whose politics and policies I totally abhor and detest.  Nawat rarely rewards stunning faces like hers but come one, that kind of face and presence are just too good to resist.

SCOTLAND – Olivia McPike.  She’s attractive, and she has a fighting spirit that could make one overlook her 1.67m height (5’5 1/2″), relatively short in today’s pageant standards.

SIERRA LEONE – Fanta Kabia.  This market doesn’t quite appreciate her brand of beauty but she’s undeniably polished and putting up a good fight.

SOUTH AFRICA – Misha Christie.  I don’t hear pageant fans and pundits buzzing about her but I think she’s another one of those underrated gems like NEW ZEALAND.  I couldn’t find any fault with her performance, so perhaps she could be another one of those sleeper surprises.

COMING UP:  SPAIN to ZAMBIA plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST