MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2019: A REVIEW (PART 1)

BLOGGER’S NOTE:  Admittedly this is more than one month delayed as due to several factors mostly work responsibilities, but I hope you, the reader, would still consider this a worthwhile read, alongside my articles for Mister Supranational, Miss Universe, and Miss World…

For those who have been watching multiple editions of the Miss Supranational pageant, most would find each edition essentially unchanged, as basically it follows mostly an established template, with flashy production numbers and a near endless succession of wardrobe changes for the contestants.  There are some fans and pundits who would thinking sticking the same structure year-in and year-out results to turgid ennui as years wore on–think most editions of the Miss International pageant prior to Kylie Versoza‘s win–but well that doesn’t mean that there are some subtle developments afoot.  Up to 2015, interview skills are not really placed at a premium–just as long as you can string a sentence together, you’ll do fine.  But 2016 onwards, they added a structured final Q&A round, and this year especially with their series of SupraChats, you sense that there is now more an emphasis on a contestant’s cerebral comprehension and communications ability than ever before.  There is a risk that if we continue to head towards that direction, this pageant would lose its unique branding, but at this point there is still that “flavor” still worth reckoning.  Like the fun to be had listening to the Polish cover versions of current pop hits during the competition segments, and yes, Polish musicians (sometimes including Eurovision stars) performing onstage.

On a fiery LED backdrop, the show opened with a few seconds of the strains of the now-iconic Wonder Woman movie instrumental theme song by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, with sexy backup dancers anticipating the arrival of the featured musical artist, who happens to be Polish star Doda.   She sang a medley of En Vogue‘s “Free Your Mind” and Lesley Gore‘s “You Don’t Own Me“.  I have to commend Doda’s energetic take on the En Vogue classic, though there are obvious diction issues and well, altering the “straight hair” line to “blonde hair” doesn’t quite make sense.  Yes, seguing those two very stylistically disparate songs also is not smooth, but still, she was very successful tackling the Lesley Gore classic.

After the opening number we were introduced to the hosts, who are Polish YouTuber/celebrity chef Damian Kordas and model/presenter Anita Nneka Jones.  They are generally adequate hosts, not that exciting and makes me miss previous presenter Davina Reeves-Ciara and wonder why she wasn’t here–well, turns out she’s focusing her energies the following night…  Anyway, they efficiently followed with the national costume parade/introduction of the 77 contestants, featuring taped vocal introductions and set to instrumental versions of “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland, “Perfect Strangers” by Jonas Blue featuring JP Cooper, and “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne.

The next competition sequence was a cocktail wear segment with the contestants wearing dresses designed by Renee, dancing to a cover version of “Giant” by Calvin Harris & Rag N’ Bone Man.  After this sequence they called out the first 12 of the Top 25 finalists.  Why the split?  Well, if you recall previous Miss Supranational editions, they still want to feature all contestants parading in swimsuits so they split the quarterfinal announcements so they can have that segment.

For the swimsuit segment, the 12 previously announced semifinalists and the rest of the competition paraded in yellow-and-black zig-zag striped (mostly) two-piece swimsuits, as “This is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris & Rihanna and “Señorita” by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello blared behind them.  And then they announced the remaining semifinalists.

Before I discuss the other sequences further, I have to note I got 18 of the Top 25 correct.  Five of those I betted on didn’t even make the official Top 30 list.  I suppose in a very competitive group like this year’s batch was, ECUADOR (María Fernanda Yépez), ROMANIA (Alexandra Stroe) and RWANDA (Shanitah Umunyana) probably got some credit but just not enough to make even the Top 30.

But for me the most shocking exclusions were for BELARUS (Karolina Borisevich) and most especially AUSTRALIA (Alexandra Wallace).  I thought both have the sparkle to make more serious inroads to the Top 25, as they seem to have all the bases covered, but it’s shocking they are not even listed in the Top 30.  Wonder what happened here?  My only speculation is that they did something that rubbed the judges or organizers the wrong way, hence they were penalized and shut out of the Top 30.  It’s sad for me to see them become the 1st runner-up and winner of the Ruth Ocumarez Award, respectively.

Ruth Ocumarez Awardees: 1st runner-up BELARUS and winner AUSTRALIA

Post-pageant, there was one who had the consolation of winning the Congeniality award, and she is SCOTLAND (Aimee McGarvie).

 

Now, let’s discuss the five ladies who just bubbled under the Top 25, starting with:

30TH PLACE:  SRI LANKAWasana Gunasekarai.  As I sensed, the judges in this pageant are in an exotic mood, which contributes to this showing.

29TH PLACE:  BRAZIL – Fernanda Maria do Carmo.  Considering she was making a standout impression throughout the pageant activities, it’s a little shocking that she didn’t fare as well as most expected.  She would’ve been my third place winner for the Ruth Ocumarez award, but perhaps this rank could be treated as a consolation.

28TH PLACE: BELGIUM – Camilia Martinez.  I would’ve ranked the likes of AUSTRALIA and BELARUS over her, but I suppose besides a taste towards the exotic, the powers-that-be decided to reward her for her role as translator during the SupraChats and possibly other activities.

27TH PLACE:  JAMAICA – Kimberly Dawkins.  I suppose the judges simply preferred another Caribbean delegate that they just couldn’t find room for her.  So, like BRAZIL, that she made Top 30 is a consolation.

26TH PLACE:  CANADA – Gloren Guelos.  I wouldn’t expect her to fare this high, but well, the judges have tastes favoring exotic types like her, and she does have good interview skills that probably helped her bubble under the Top 25.

COMING UP:  THE TOP 25

MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2019: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

SLOVAKIA – Natália Hrušovská.  Wonder why this redhead doesn’t have an introduction video?  I think she did okay in the Supra-Chat, but she’s not generating as much buzz as  her Central European counterparts from POLAND and CZECH REPUBLIC.  In another year she’d be a Top 25 shoo-in.

SOUTH AFRICA – Leyla van Greuning.  This is one of the rare occasions that this long-established pageant powerhouse is overshadowed by a lesser country–this time NAMIBIA is getting all the heavy buzz while this otherwise strong and polished blonde 

SPAIN – Aitana Jiménez.  She’s great-looking ans speaks well, and many are buzzing she has an inside track to the Top 25.  I agree wtih them.

SRI LANKA – Wasana Gunasekarai.  This dusky looker is generally polished onstage.  Sometimes the Poles gravitate towards the exotic, and with the right mix of judges, she can cast her spell and make the Top 25.

SURINAME – Sri-Dewi Martomamat.  See SRI LANKA, with stronger communication skills and plainer, yet more exotic, features.

THAILAND – Anntonia Porsild.  Many have observed her resemblance to Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup.  But I also observe at some angles she also resembles Miss World 2013 Megan Young.  Add to that, during the Preliminary Evening Gown Competition, even if the red gown has an obvious simpler off-the-rack design, it’s clear with her styling that she’s channeling Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.  Oh, and did I mention that she is one of the best cfommunicators in this batch?  Many are buzzing excitedly that she can be the one to win the crown this year, which is perfect as a couple of the prizes are residencies in a couple of apartments in her country.  Perhaps what might prevent her from winning the crown outright was perhaps to not amke it a appear that with the two Thai residences as part of this year’s prize package, it would not sound good to award it to the sponsor’s country.  But I think those objections would be minimized as she has all that it takes to win it all–with PERU being the one perceived to be in her way.

Left: Miss World 2013 Megan Young; RIght: Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – Yia-Loren Gomez.    Her blue peacok-styled carnival costume was also a major sight to behold that undoubtedly it’s shortlisted.  She’s also strong in all fronts so she could also be a Top 25 sleeper possibility.

TURKEY – Büşra Turan.  She’s a solid communicator based on Supra-Chats, but in terms of stage skills, she’s obviously raw.  She is pretty, though.

UKRAINE – Olena Liashuk.  I hate the way she looked during Supra-Chat, but onstage, she knows how to put on the right make-up to make a great impression.  Still, I don’t foresee her making the cut, especially over her superior Eastern and Central European counterparts.

UNITED STATES – Regina Gray.  She is a superb communicator based on her Supra-Chat, and she made me recall erstwhile pageant ost (and former Miss New York USA) Davina Reeves.  Her gift-of-gab earned her a wildcard slot and it is likely she’ll win one of the four Supra-Chat slots in the Top 25.  LIke IRELAND and SINGAPORE, I would welcome her presence in this Top 25 roster.

Erstwhile Supranational host Davina Reeves

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Destani Jefferson.  She’s an attractive, well-spoken contender.  Though I observe based on the muscularity of her frame, she seems more suited to competing in those fitness pageants than in a more conventional pageant like this one.  Still, we should learn to appreciate bodies in all shapes and sizes.

VENEZUELA – Gabriela Isabel de la Cruz.  She has undeniable charisma and although her English is thickly accented,s she made a great impression during Supra-Chat.  She looks poised to make a serious play for the Top Five with the possibility of being a crown usurper from the perceived front-runners PERU and THAILAND.  She got Top Three sowing for Miss Elegance, along with …

VIETNAM – Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Châu.  She could make a possible play for the Top Five, too, as she’s also a stage dynamo.  She can crib from Miss International 2019 Sireethorn Leearamwat of Thailand and charm the judges even with her limited English skills.

WALES – Emily Ryan.  She’s the rawest of the blonde British Isle ladies–her best qualities are her pretty face and solid speaking skills.

ZAMBIA – Mercy Mukwiza.  She’s solid and nothing to fault about her performance, though other Africans are making a stronger impression.

After all 77 contestants are accounted for, here’s how my leaderboard looks like:

TOP CONTENDERS:  PERU, THAILAND

POSSIBLE USURPERS:  COLOMBIA, NETHERLANDS, VENEZUELA

SHOO-INS:  AUSTRALIA, BELARUS, BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, ICELAND, INDIA, MEXICO, NAMIBIA, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, ROMANIA, VIETNAM

LIKELIEST:  BOLIVIA, CAMEROON, CHILE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, GUATEMALA, INDONESIA, IRELAND, JAMAICA, JAPAN, KOREA, MACAU, PARAGUAY, PUERTO RICO, RUSSIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SINGAPORE, SLOVAKIA, SPAIN, TRINIDAD & tOBAGO, UNITED STATES,

EXOTIC FACTOR:  BARBADOS, CANADA, SRI LANKA, SURINAME

EXCELLENT:  ARGENTINA, COSTA RICA, ENGLAND, FINLAND, HONDURAS, KENYA, MALTA, MAURITIUS, NEPAL, PANAMA, PORTUGAL, SOUTH AFRICA, UKRAINE, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, ZAMBIA

VERY STRONG:  ALBANIA, LAOS, MYANMAR, SCOTLAND,

STRONG:  BELGIUM, FRANCE, LITHUANIA, NEW ZEALAND, NIGERIA, NORTHERN IRELAND,

VERY GOOD: COTE D’IVOIRE, CROATIA, HAITI, TURKEY, WALES

GOOD:  GERMANY, HUNGARY

Now, my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  COLOMBIA, NETHERLANDS, PERU, THAILAND, VENEZUELA

TOP 10:  AUSTRALIA, ICELAND, NAMIBIA, PHILIPPINES, VIETNAM

TOP 25:  BELARUS, BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, INDIA, INDONESIA, IRELAND, JAMAICA, MEXICO, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, ROMANIA, RWANDA, SINGAPORE, UNITED STATES

BUBBLING UNDER:  BOLIVIA, CAMEROON, CHILE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC,EQUATORIAL GUINEA, GUATEMALA, JAPAN, KOREA, MACAU, PARAGUAY, RUSSIA, SIERRA LEONE, SLOVAKIA, SPAIN, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ARGENTINA, BARBADOS, CANADA, COSTA RICA, ENGLAND, FINLAND, HONDURAS, KENYA, MALTA, MAURITIUS, NEPAL, PANAMA, PORTUGAL, SOUTH AFRICA, SRI LANKA, SURINAME, UKRAINE, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, ZAMBIA

I’m mightily pleased at the high quality of this year’s delegates, as reflected that almost 60 are who I deemed very worthy of making a play for the Top 25.  Though it seems to be more of a tug-of-war between PERU and THAILAND, upsets might be also in store.  Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds tonight.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

 

 

 

MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2019: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

NEW ZEALAND – Eva Louise Wilson.  I find her one of the plainest faces in this year’s comeptition but she’s a good ccommunicator and has a slim figure to her credit.

NIGERIA – Oluchi Kalu.  She could be deemed attractive enough but not quite a black or African standout.

NORTHERN IRELAND – Nicholle Hembra.  See NEW ZEALAND, with a slightly prettier face.

PANAMA – Krysthelle Barretto Reichlin.  She’s solid, but I don’t find her a standout.  Her elaborate carnival national costume was impressive though, and deservingly short-liste.d

PARAGUAY – Noelia Katherine Masi.  She has everything that it takes to possibly make the Top 25, but there is one distrubing quibble–her skinny figure doesn’t look like a healthy frame that you tend to worry about her.  That factor might hinder her from making the Top 25.

PERU – Janick Maceta.  She actually is residing in the US, and she has an excellent command of English.  Yes, she also is a great communicator and made a major splash in the Preliminary Competition, especially with her sexily buffed figure and shimmering in a silver gown.  Many are buzzing she could be the winner and I would agree with that, though there is one Asian rival she has to contend with.

PHILIPPINES – Resham Saeed.  Her introduction video was a big blast–loaded with humorous inside jokes about the process preparing for pageants (or a modeling photo shoot) while also showcasing her superb communication skills.  She is performing at a top level, even if some worry she’s not receiving as heavy a buzz, as say, THAILAND.  I maintain she’s a shoo-in for the Top 25 with a play for the Top 10 and beyond.

POLAND – Kamila Świerc.  You never discount this host country as again this country fielded a great looking babe.  She’s undeniably a shoo-in for the Top 25–now, making a play for the Top 10 would be a major challenge with many charismatic stunners with stronger interview skills out there.

PORTUGAL – Carolina Liquito.  There is an angularity in her facial features, but otherwise she’s very solid all throughout and could be a sleeper possibility for the Top 25.

PUERTO RICO – Shaleyka Cristine Vélez.  She’s a great follow-up to the reigning queen though it will be a challenge for her to advance to the Top 10.

ROMANIA – Alexandra Stroe.  She has what it takes to sustain her country’s streak in the Top 25.  Now, it will be a bigger challenge for her to advance further to the Top 10 with the bevy of sterling contenders this year.  Still, it is still possible.

RUSSIA – Valeriya Skolota.  Many pageant fans and pundits may find her interview style a tad laconic, but she has superb stage chops and a lissome model’s figure that she makes an indelible presence.  Some sites are pegging her as a possible front-runner, but I don’t see it–but she is noted for her business chops, too based on what we learned about her duirng the Supra-Chat.

RWANDA – Shanitah Umunyana.  She’s the most stunning black African in this batch, and many are rooting for a slot to be open for her to make the Top 25.  I hope there would be room for her, though mose attention is placed towards NAMIBIA among the African contingent.

SCOTLAND – Aimee McGarvie.  This blonde’s cute and solid, but definitely out of contention for the Top 25.

SIERRA LEONE – Esther Yeanoh Kamara.  She’s a great-looking African with a bit of Spontaneous Dignified Eloquence (SDE).  Would that help her edge out RWANDA if there is another slot open for the Top 25 for Africa?

SINGAPORE – Naomi Huth.  This Eurasian (she’s half-German) made a major splash and won her group during the Supra-Chat.  She’s an excellent communicator and she is one of the most likely winners of the Supra-Chat.  Like IRELAND, she would be a worthy member of the Top 25.

COMING UP:  SLOVAKIA to ZAMBIA plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST.