2010-2017 has been longest streak of the Philippines in terms of placements in Miss Universe.
It started off with 4 successive runner up placements with Venus, Shamcey, Janine and Ariella. Then came the Miss Universe win of Pia and culminated with the top 10 placement of Rachel. This is partly due to the support that the girls have received from the Binibining Pilipinas organization headed by Madame Stella Marquez-Araneta. 8 consecutive years of placements that is only seconded by the 4 successive placements of the Binibining Pilipinas Universe winners of 1972-75. SMA surely stands tall with how her ward has made the country proud.
2010 – Venus Raj, 4th runner up
2011 – Shamcey Supsup, 3rd runner up
2012 – Janine Tugonon, 1st runner up
2013 – Ariella Arida, 3rd runner up
2014 – Mary Jean Lastimosa, Top 10
2015 – Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe
2016 – Maxine Medina, Top 6
2017 – Rachel Peters, Top 10
Miss Universe Philippines 2015 & 2016 Pia Wurtzbach and Maxine Medina wore the same crown for a photoshoot… who wore it better?
The 65th Miss Universe pageant has come and gone yet I haven’t blogged about a review of the said pageant. Overall it was a major success, but it was not without some points that could have been better.
86 women around the world came to the Philippines to compete for the Miss Universe title but it was only during the final three days of the competition that I felt that an underdog will win the title. True enough the top three girls were all considered darkhorses for the title and were surprise winners in the competition…a pleasant surprise at that.
Finally, a Miss Universe opening that feels like a true opening number. No more prerecorded videos of the introduction of the ladies! And I have to say that FloRida brought the house on its feet with the energy in the opening. His medley of hits is a club staple which brought life into the MU party! This is what an opening should and must feel like.
The Boyz2Men performance is also a high point in the finals. I had the opportunity to watch the final dress rehearsals and saw them perform. It was a treat to have watched them twice! But I have to tell you that their performance during the dress rehearsals was a much better one because their singing wasn’t drowned out by the cheers. If you could had heard their voices in a much quieter opportunity, then you would be much more impressed.
I have to say, the Filipino pageant fans was a tremendous boost to the pageant. The cheering from the audience were enough that you can hear it during the telecast. Every time Maxine Medina was onstage, the thunderous applause reverberates in the entire MOA Arena.The roar of the viewers never subsided, and more than that every Filipino pageant fan is cheering for other candidates as well (although I can feel that their support for Miss Colombia was not that much). When Miss Philippines failed to advance to the top 3, the Filipino crowd started cheering mostly for Haiti followed by France.
The pageant in the Philippines lacked local flavor for the final production and stage design. It wasn’t necessarily bad, like a terrible production, no that wasn’t the case but it could have been better if there is something that reflected the host country in it.
In fact, the pageant felt like a copycat of the stage design and production of Las Vegas. It was as if someone became uninspired to come up with something fresh and new. The Philippines has so much culture to offer and yet that was not reflected in the stage. Not that I am saying that the stage wasn’t any good, it was nicely done IMHO, it just lacked the local flavor seen in stages of past MU editions in Vietnam, Thailand and even Russia. The Moscow edition still is the platinum standard for that.
The MU finals could also have been added with a local flavor thru music (since there were no musical performances during the SS and EG segments). A drumline of Ati-atihan performers could have added the much-needed local flavor at the SS rounds, or a local DJ for the EG segment. Those are the low points in an otherwise impeccable production.
I am much thrilled with the body diversity in the pageant! I have to do a shout-out to Miss Canada Siera Bearchell (who I was fortunate to have interviewed in the blog) who represented the more curvy woman on the MU stage. Way to go girl! Andrea Tovar of Colombia’s JLo-esque body represented bottom heavy girls in the competition. Then we have the tall skinny/ lanky body type thru Kenya’s Mary Esther Were.
But more than that, I have to say that the 13 semifinalists are a major source of fabulosity (if there is even such a word). I am glad that 3 dark-skinned women (USA, Kenya & Brazil), three Asians (Philippines, Thailand & Indonesia) and two mulattas (Haiti & Colombia) have made it through the 1st cut. Women of color have dominated the pageant for the first time in a decade or so! If you haven’t noticed, every continent is represented in the top 6.
Raquel Pelissier as 1st runner up and Iris Mittenaere as Miss Universe. To have her win the Miss Universe title is nothing short of spectacular. But so much more for Haiti’s Raquel Pelissier finishing as second. We finally see that underdogs have a fighting chance into the competition and that working hard and a grateful attitude can propel you to the top.
Overall, the Miss Universe was a huge success that the MUOrg wanted the 2017 or 2018 edition to come back to the Philippines…and all of that is thanks to the Filipino pageant fans, who truly is the best pageant fans in the world, rather the Universe.
Unfortunately, my list is not gonna be a popular one. In fact, after the rehearsals yesterday, my gut feel became stronger that the Miss Universe winner might not be coming from the perceived front-runners in the competition. I also believe that it will be a strong showing from the Southeast Asian girls in the competition. So it is needless to say that this list are purely based on hunch, no science or controlled methodology is involved.
Wildcards: Mexico, Malaysia and Jamaica
Most possible Spoilers: Kenya, Curacao and Australia
Top 13: Germany, USA, South Africa and Nicaragua
Top 9: Singapore, France and Sierra Leone
All of these six girls listed below are going to be worthy of the Miss Universe title and it was such a difficult task to really narrow them to my final 6 names. In fact I can still feel that any of the girls in my list can spoil the chances of everyone…it’s still fair game for everyone!
6 Most Likely to be Miss Universe
Thailand, Chalita Suansane – Chalita is very relate-able which makes her formidable. She came from an impoverished background that can help her to win the crown. I am putting her as my second best choice for the title.
US Virgin Islands, Carolyn Carter – Carolyn has a very classy, high-society beauty that is approachable. This Madeline Stowe doppelganger has class written all over her face. Her string of charity work with Smile Train Philippines cannot be ignored.
Philippines – this girl is a performer and she will not disappoint. I am hoping that Maxine would make it among the final three. As a matter of fact, I will not be surprised if the top three will eventually be all Asian girls.
Indonesia, Kezia Warouw; one of the possible winners of the online voting alongside Philippines and Thailand. Kezia did it right when she had her tan and came in curls just as I previously suggested, it worked on her. There is a sincerity in her that I find appealing.
Venezuela, Mariam Habach; most possible crown contender for MU but my fear is that she might have looked too ‘trained’ at this point… and I find that she might likely be the girl in the top 2. I still believe that she can be the eventual winner.
Aruba, Charlene Leslie; the biggest underdog who may spoil it all for all the front-runners. In fact, I am getting it out on a limb to say that she is my choice to be the next Miss Universe. Should Charlene win the Miss Universe title, the Philippines would be one of the few host countries who will go down in MU history to crown first-time winners (Spain and 1974 and India in 1994).
I am more and more inclined to think that a possible underdog might win it all come finals. I hope that whoever wins, she could be embraced by a lot of the pageant fans.
No surprise here, these three countries are definitely the strongest in Asia this year. Add to the fact that they are perhaps one of the most vocal countries in terms of fan support and online media following.
Before I get accused of being biased since I am living in Indonesia, I just want people to know that Kezia Warouw is one of the least supported winners from her country. But despite that I saw in her a potential even before a lot of people saw it. This girl is a top 12 material. Thailand’s Chalita Suansane (aside from Kusuma) was my pick for the MUT title several months ago and people now are seeing what I saw in her back then. She has now bloomed into a fierce competitor for the title. And of course Maxine Medina of the Philippines was also one of the ladies I listed as possible crown contenders for the MUP title back in April. And I have no doubt that the hometown girl will deliver. You see, these I have followed these three ladies since they were competing nationally and I was witness to how they have blossomed. If it were up to me, I’d put them all through the semis.
In addition to these ladies, I would also like to mention Singapore’s Cheryl Chou and Malaysia’s Kiran Jassal as most likely spoilers from Asia. Cheryl Chou has a very quiet confident that Sash factor correspondents agreed that she could possibly be the biggest spoiler in the semis. Her smile is effortless and speaks well. Kiran Jassal is also a killer and I have no doubts that she is gonna bring the heat if she is selected in the top 12. Asia is sending tough competition this year and I believe that collectively, Asia is the strongest continent this year.
The glamshots have been released and we pick the best 12. These picks are gonna be a bit unpopular as it does not feature a lot of the preconceived frontrunner but read through the commentary as you will get to understand why these are the best…
We reveal them in reverse order:
12. Israel, Yam Kaspers Anshel – she gave good face despite the hair covering most of it. Intense eyes.
11. Colombia, Andrea Tovar – great shot of those long neck and fine chiseled jaws. Not a fan of the open mouth though.
10. Australia, Caris Tiivel – Victoria’s Secret beckons! The girl knows how to be photographed.
9. Slovenia, Lucija Potocnik – surprisingly one of the best blonde pics. Loved the sharp angles created by the cheekbones and chin.
8. Indonesia, Kezia Warouw – gave good face but looks pleading in the eyes, need to look more self-assured.
7. Nicaragua, Marina Jacoby – the best face among the Latinas. Loved her pic better if she smirked or did a full-on pout.
6. Germany, Johanna Acs – she knows her angles and her signature wide pout works everytime. Would have placed higher if she showed more neck.
5. Japan, Sari Nakazawa – perfect Asian face! Eyes, cheekbones, jawline, neck…all check in her photo.
4. Kosovo, Camila Barraza – looks intense in her glamshot. Photographs well.
3. Malaysia, Kiran Jassal – perfect look in this pic. Eyes are sexy and the noseline is well defined. Would have been better if the shoulders are arched stronger.
2. Philippines, Maxine Medina – her experience as a commercial model shows. Nailed this shot with an ‘S’ curve…face, cheeks, chin, neck, shoulder and hair are in great position.
1. Kenya, Mary Esther Were – her shot is simply perfection! Dramatic and very impactful. Best photo of the batch, no doubt.