Note: The piece below was first posted in Norman Tinio's blog. It is republished here with his permission.
MANILA, Philippines – One Australian, two Asians, two North Americans, two Europeans, two from the Caribbean and 6 South Americans.
These are the 15 Miss Universe 2015 delegates who got my nod for the Presentation Show which saw all 80 ladies vying for a spot in the first cut of the finals this coming December 20 in Las Vegas. And it isn't easy trimming down the list to just 15 because I actually have at least 21 contenders who could be potential qualifiers for the semifinals. (Photo recap: Miss Universe 2015 preliminary competition)
But first, let’s focus on the ones occupying my upper tier. There are 10 in this circle who are likely to get sure spots once the names are called out in random order.
Clarissa Molina of the Dominican Republic, Ariadna Gutiérrez of Colombia, Olivia Jordan of the USA, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines, Laura Spoya of Peru, Pham Huong of Vietnam, Flora Coquerel of France, Mariana Jimenez of Venezuela, Myriam Arevalos of Paraguay and Lisa Elizabeth Drouillard of Haiti accounted for sweeping turns in all areas of competition. It’s like they owned the stage and fulfilled commitments to make their respective countries proud in the Preliminaries. (LOOK: Miss Universe PH 2015 Pia Wurtzbach's national costume_
Now if we look at the remaining 5, the intensity doesn’t really weaken that much. With Wendy Esparza of Mexico, Monika Radulovic of Australia, Maria-Belen Jerez Spuler of Chile, Annelies Törös of Belgium and Marthina Brandt of Brazil completing my Top 15, they also showed a collection of wow factors onstage that won’t be ignored on the judges’ scoresheets. And depending on tastes and preferences, they can easily steal the limelight from my higher-placed misses in a heartbeat.
But remember what I said earlier that I initially gathered 21 likely to succeed? I can’t ignore their qualities as well. And it would be most important to cite their names to signify a dose of spoiler alerts waiting in the wings. There are the likes of Aniporn Chalermburanawong of Thailand, Anindya Kusuma Putri of Indonesia, Mirjeta Shala of Kosovo, Sharlene Radlein of Jamaica, Kanisha Sluis of Curacao and Vladislava Evtushenko of Russia who can suit up for any of the semifinal placements and not come as surprises to pageants watchers anymore.
I know you want something more from me regarding the swimsuit and evening gown presentations of Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Well, this much I can say. In spite of all the talks regarding the royal blue creation by Albert Andrada allegedly not arriving on time for the show, she flashed a most elegant self in that red Oliver Tolentino original. Her walk was elegant and refined. She brought life to the formal attire that could otherwise be so-so in freeze frames.
And in the the two-piece segment, she walked with confidence in a kind of walk all her own. She scored high on both turns for me. And a semifinal shout-out awaits – much to the applause of the large Filipino audience on the big night.
So whether it boils down to the slimmest of margins in cumulative tally or one of the lower-positioned beauties climbing up in rank based on numbers keyed in by the decision-makers as compared to my own, the selection of non-clappers come Sunday night will be quite the strong field of challengers who have the crown of Paulina Vega in marksman’s target.
I will be most tense once the country names start getting announced by the hosts. This is Miss Universe after all. And let’s begin the ultimate comparison by then. – Rappler.com