KOREA – Daewoong Hwang. He may not be as handsome as the reigning Mister International Seunghwan Lee, but he has a physique so buffed, this alone may secure him a slot in the Top 16.
LEBANON – Mohamad Taha. Like BELGIUM, his pre-arrival pictures were more impressive how he looked when he landed in these shores. He still exudes oodles of charisma and is undeniably handsome, but there is one glaring factor that may hinder his country’s exemplary track record in this pageant–his physique is arguably the least buffed out of these year’s contestants. Still with his national costume, he’s the front-runner for the Dino Nicolina award.
MALAYSIA – Sylevistian Jon. In real-world terms, his face can be classified as “cute” and he undeniably has a buffed bod, but he just doesn’t possess any form of charisma whatsoever.
MEXICO – Piero Renero. There are some who would include him as a member of the Classic Latino contingent, and I know there are many who would classify him as “handsome”. But for me, there is something about his features that I find a bit off-putting that I don’t really consider him handsome (even if for most Filipinos, they would go ga-ga over his features). Otherwise there is nothing to fault about him so he is contention of making the Top 16.
NEPAL – Prashant Jung Shah. It took me a while to appreciate his features as at first glance I would’ve easily dismissed him as the weakest contestant of this batch. For most folks he could be classified as homely, but for some odd reason, I started appreciating his unconventionally handsome features and he does have a good bod. Still, his main disadvantage is that he’s the shortest contestant in this batch, and that could hamper his chances of making any significant inroads.
NETHERLANDS – Claudio Schoorstra. Like BELGIUM and LEBANON, he impressed more in his pre-arrival pics. Anyway, like LEBANON he has handsomeness and charm in huge spades–it’s the buffness of his bod that is the main point of contention. Sure back in Miss Universe 2016 Siera Bearchell got away with it so the question is, can he also play that card and get away with it?
NICARAGUA – Naykel Nino. Of the four black guys in this year’s pageant, this guy is the one making the biggest splash. With his ready smile, his lean-but-buffed sinewy frame, and outgoing personality he is emerging as the black-man-most-likely, and he could conceivably not only sustain Elvis Murillo‘s breakthrough last year, but make a play for the Top Five. I have a feeling he’s the front-runner to win Best National Costume, at least. I’m rooting for this guy to go very far here.
NORWAY – Mathias Duma. With his previous stint at Mister Supranational last December, this guy is the “veteran” of the group. He looks poised to duplicate his Top 10 finish at that pageant here.
PANAMA – Juan Angel Gavirira. He is actually a polished contender, but he has a plain face that sometimes register as brusque. For me, he’s the weakest of the four black guys competing, but he still has a conceivable shot of making the cut.
PERU – Duilio Vallebuona. He is another unequivocal member of the Classic Latino contingent, and he is probably what we consider the boyish one of that contingent. He actually registers best in action than in still photos, as videos reveal his utterly charming personality and for that he could be considered a Top Five contender.
PHILIPPINES – Mark Kevin Janda Baloaloa. He at least styled himself properly unlike the way he looks prior to this competition. I’m still on the fence about his charisma, but perhaps he performed well enough to merit belonging in the Top 16 without playing the host country card–but then again the host country card is no guarantee of securing a semifinals slot, especially if we look at the cases of Thailand 2011 and Myanmar last year.
POLAND – Tomek Zarzyscki. He decided to go the cleaner-shaven route, but somehow I kinda liked him scruffier. Still, his handsomeness is undeniable so it should be a good basis for him to make the Top 16, right? But then again remember Rafal Jonkisz (2015) and Jan Dratwicki (2016) were undeniably handsome and undeniably charismatic but they still didn’t make the cut. Let’s see if the judges look upon him with favor.
PUERTO RICO – Julian Rivera. Here is a guy who benefited from a haircut–from sporting long locks he trimmed it enough that now he evokes the vibe of A Star is Born actor/director Bradley Cooper. He seems a shoo-in for the Top 16 with a possible play for the Top 10 and beyond.
COMING UP: RUSSIA to VIETNAM, plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST
All national costume preliminary competition photos courtesy of Aski for Events2Images; All official swimsuit portraits courtesy of Erik Esparat; All official formal wear photos courtesy of Alieks Fusilero; and all other photos courtesy of Drew Francisco for Missosology unless otherwise indicated.