Meeting the 86 Miss Universe delegates up-close allowed us to know a little bit of their personalities and see how different they look in person compared to their pre-arrival studio photos.
And now, seeing them in motion on stage during the preliminaries gave us an entirely different perspective on these women vying for the coveted tittle. On Thursday night, the candidates brought their ‘A’ game in their Yamamay swimsuits and mostly glittering evening gowns.
As expected, some of the girls were a big surprise, some met and exceeded our expectations, and there were those who lost their luster while performing before a set of judges that will determine the 11 delegates (the 12th will be determined via fan votes) who will advance to the finals tomorrow.
Hosts Derek Ramsay and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach introduced the preliminary round judges, namely, Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres, model Cynthia Bailey, former journalist and publicist Rob Goldstone, People’s Choice Awards Executive Producer Fred Nelson, social entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist Francine LeFrank and Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori.
In what we call our “fearless forecast,” we are coming up with a list of delegates who performed exceptionally well during the preliminary competition held at the Mall of Asia.
Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach
She is every inch a beauty queen. The 21-year-old stunner had a very strong presence onstage. Her 5-foot-11- frame complimented her killer body well owning one of the best figures in this year’s batch. Her dramatic, white feathery evening gown with down comforter rocked the MU stage, and that performance alone put her on our list as one of the delegates who are likely to win the crown.
Miss Philippines Maxine Medina
The classy hometown girl owned the preliminaries if we are to base it on the deafening cheers of the crowd at the MOA Arena. Medina brought her “A” game strong swimsuit catwalk and stylishly unique emerald green string gown – a standout among mostly glittering white, red and blue ensembles. But, she definitely in a challenging situation. First, only seven candidates have been crowned in their hometown. Secondly, the first back-to-back victory happened just a few years ago.
Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane
She is a social media darling and a crowd favorite. Even local pageant fans were cheering for her during the prelims. She had an excellent catwalk during the swimsuit round and stunned the Arena with her shimmering two-toned gown. Suansane looked confident onstage as if she’d kill just to get the crown.
Miss USA Deshauna Barber
If the first part of the competition were the Q and A portion, Barber would be first on the list. Her strong projection, toned body and simple feminine red gown during the prelims have already secured her a spot but Barber needs to work extra once she enters the semifinals because she can only captivate the judges with her strong communication skills once she advances in the top 6.
Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar
She may have gained weight but still shone in shimmering gold evening gown with big raffles. Her looking heavy was obvious during the swimsuit round and National Costume parade. Prior to her arrival in Manila, she’s the biggest threat to the crown but as the competition nears, more and more girls are showing their best efforts making the competition much even tougher for the perceived frontrunners.
Miss Brazil Raissa Santana
Just like the other frontrunners, Santana started off strong but slowly faded when she hit the stage during the prelims. She worked the stage with athletic-type body and glistening white see-through gown but there delegates who outshone her “just above average” performance. With her stunning look and figure, Santana is still one of the girls to watch out for.
Miss Dominican Republic Sal Garcia
She looked divine and flawless onstage. This international model who walked the runway for popular brands owned the stage with her long, beautiful body and white see-through gown. She looks sensational with led and spotlights training on her but the same thing cannot be said of this pageant queen when people see her up-close.
Miss Germany Lena Bröder
She is a total package. With extraordinary performance in swimsuit and aqua serpentine evening gown, she can secure a spot in the semifinals. And if her performance during the closed-door interview with the judges was even better, we wouldn’t be surprised if this German beauty gets a higher placement.
Miss Spain Noelia Freire
The Spanish stunner is very consistent in terms of her style. During the preliminaries, Freire looked like a goddess on stage with her great body and brilliant see-through gown. Just like the two other delegates on this list, she might pull off a great surprise during the grand coronation.
The following delegates are better alternatives: Miss Nicaragua Marina Jacoby – good overall stage projection with stunning face and high slit red evening gown; Miss Argentina Estefania Bernal – was hot in her classy pastel blue evening gown; Miss France Iris Mittenaere – stood out with to die for body and shimmering yellow gown; and Miss Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara– our, and the fans, sentimental favorite. With Eton B. Concepcion