The mainstream pop scene is a very competitive field. In a field one can call as shallow, it’s very important to deliver the music that people will dig in. After all, the next popstar is just waiting to replace the current ones; thus, it is crucial to stand out in this type of competition. Female pop stars, in general, have been more dominant of the past few years, and it is a tougher one out there for them, as they build their own fanbase and rule their spots in this niche. The latter part of 2013 has been a showcase of different efforts from some of the female popstars we have by releasing their albums offering a wide spectrum of music to listen to. Here are six of them:
The most recent pop female artist to join the force is 16 year old Kiwi singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Conor, more familiarly knows as Lorde. Combining a distinctive tone and that is devoid of autotune, Lorde provides a nice change of pace in terms of her sound and the music that she wants to offer. In Royals, she took a shot at the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, indicating what she thinks of such a fickle and superficial world. What amazes me most while listening to Pure Heroine is that you hear a young girl, full of ideas and observations, and it reflects on her songs. Whether it’s her vivid description of this world or the song’s narrative, Lorde tells a story in a manner that is direct and blunt, one that perfectly works in the context of her album. If you happen to love Royals, then I’m pretty sure you’d like this album as there are lots of other songs in the same vein. I’d even dare say that there are songs even better than it (which is not a knack to the song, but a testament of how much potential this lady has). I don’t know if age is simply just a number for Lorde, but with this success of hers, I’m interested to see the direction she’d tackle after this. I hope she doesn’t turn into an Avril Lavigne though, who was seen as the anti-pop star when she debuted, but settled to the same world in the end.
After years of trying it, Miley Cyrus has finally transitioned into the pop star she has long been waiting for. And while it has been a long time waiting, it’s definitely worth the wait for her, as I think she is the most prominent pop star and definitely carved her name as pop’s it girl for 2013. It wasn’t a smooth start for Miley, but for this era, the jumpstart was to release a single that will elicit buzz. We Can’t Stop, attached with a weird and over the top video, did maneuver this era into what it is. The biggest break however is of course the MTV VMAs performance. I admit that even I find her schitck there such a try hard, but then like Miley, I guess I should have just waited since it will make sense in the end. She then followed it up with Wrecking Ball licking sledgehammers and rocking back and forth a lifesize wrecking ball in her birthday suit, and it makes her more polarizing than she is already. It only takes one listen of her album Bangerz to identify what Miley channels in her persona. It all starts with the album’s best song Adore You, a slow track ballad that says she offers her whole self to her love, and you’d be quick to realize that beneath all this gimmicks, she opens her most raw self in this effort. And for that, it’s simply hard to deny her. She gave a taste of country with 4×4, and a Pharell track in #GETITRIGHT. Probably my favorite is the transition to Wrecking Ball by using My Darlin’s as an intro to the ballad. If anything, the Britney collab is one of the weaker songs in it, and if I may add, it just did not mesh well with the rest of the songs. Not everyone might get Miley, but it is hard to deny that she is the most important popstar in the field now, and everything she does will always be the talk of the town.
After such a big era like Teenage Dream, it is interesting to know which direction Katy will next pursue. After all, everything she touches is gold especially if we’re talking about the Billboard Hot 100. She then says that this era will show the other side of Katy, a darker era like we’ve never seen before. I guess I should have known better and not believed her at all since Prism is anything but dark. After all, she started this era with Roar, an anthemic pop song, backed up with a Life of Pi meets Dr. Jones music video, that reminds us that we’re gonna hear her roar. And boy she did. Lots of times. With that said, the rest of the album offers the usual Katy fair: safe bubblegum pop songs that has potential to be #1 on charts. But I’ll admit that most of these songs are okay and catchy especially the first six tracks. I guess Spiritual is one of the darker tracks she’s referring, and it worked for me. However, there are also a lot of songs in it that does not ignite any passion nor reaction at all. It’s just there and existing. I won’t take it against Katy that she’s sticking with this type of format since this is what works for her commercially; after all, like what I say this is a very competitive field and taking risks is indeed… risky. If anything, I find her album too long and she could have cut off three to four songs from it especially since hers is the voice that is not distinct or something that makes you appreciate it.
Favorite tracks: Legendary Lovers, Spiritual, This Is How We Do
Wrapped In Red
Okay this is some sort of cheating since this is not a regular album, but I stan and love this girl much. I think any popstar cannot call herself such if she still doesn’t have a Christmas album yet. I mean Mariah, Christina, and even Britney all have Christmas albums, and even Queen of Pop Madonna is in Christmas mood. So yes, Kelly joins the squad and what I like is she has four original songs written for this plus one Imogen Heap cover. The moment Wrapped In Red begins already gives the festive Christmas spirit. Add the fact that Kelly’s vocals is smooth and lovely to listen to, and you’ll wonder why it took so long for her to release such. The second track, another original, Underneath the Tree gives me some Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas is You homage with the fun upbeat and quick beats. Of course there are also the classics such as Have Yourself a Merry Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside which are staples, but she’s lovely to listen to so whatever. Plus points as well for including a Sound of Music song via My Favorite Things! All in all, I can go all day listenign to Kelly sing the phonebook, but this one is a lovely addition to some pre-Christmas feels!
Favorite tracks: Wrapped in Red, Underneath the Tree, My Favorite Things
Definitely one of the biggest stars in pop era, Lady Gaga releases her fourth album Artpop. While Born This Way didn’t live up to its initial hype as the album of the decade, it still is a sold album overall. This time, however, Gaga upped the theatrics and the sex by coming up with her most sexually suggestive album to date. What I like about Gaga is you know that she’s knows more than fluff when it comes to her music. She knows her art and how much it has an influence her and it shows in this album. But my main issue with Artpop is I don’t see coherence with the vision she has set on it. It’s like she threw everything she has on the wall and just waited to see which will stick. Thus, while we get gems like Sexxx Dreams and Artpop, we also get duds like the one two punch of Fashion and Donatella. A lot of songs in this album suffer from being too overwrought that they ended up sounding messy and overdone. I’m pretty certain that she is better than this, but part of me thinks that she has nothing left on her sleeves if she keeps on overthinking her efforts. It does not sound organic nor original already. And like Prism, it suffers from being too long and a lot of fillers can be cut from it. Still, there are some great stuff in it like G.U.Y (which Zedd produced) which should have been the opening track instead. Do What U Want, sans the Aguilera type of oversinging, is the best song off the album and one of the few which totally hits the intention she had with it. And of course, a Gaga album will always have that one ballad that shows Gaga at her most vulnerable and for this one, Gypsy was it. I know Gaga will never reach the type of acclaim she had during The Fame Monster era, but she better have some sort of alternative because this type f shtick is one that does not make of a long and successful career.
Favorite tracks: Do What U Want, Gypsy, G.U.Y
And lastly, though still unavailable (but already up for iTunes streaming), Britney’s eighth album comes two years after her last effort Femme Fatale. By now, it is pretty obvious that voice is not Britney’s biggest asset, so she has to rely on the production of the songs she used in this album. I think that’s what makes both Blackout and Femme Fatale as her strongest efforts. While you won’t find anything from them that gives this spectacular singing, the sick production saves the day. I think Britney Jean tackled both. On one hand, her vocals were surprisingly present in the Sia penned track entitled Perfume. I think that will end up as one of my most favorite Britney songs ever. For once, you can really hear her singing. Then on the other hand, the sick production was hit or miss here. I understand her getting into the EDM thing if it gives us something like Work Bitch and Alien with the slick beats, but those songs in the album which were wil.i.am produced were really weak. I also LOL’ed at her collaboration with sister Jamie Lynn Spears in “Chillin with You.” One thing I thought while listening to this is that the album balances itself that for every good song in it, there’s a dud that counters it. However, it’s an album that gets better with repeat listening. I’d admit though that after listening, the only phrase you’d remember is her lines in Tik Tik Boom as she says it like DICK DICK DICK DICK DICK DICK BOOM.
Favorite tracks: Work Bitch, Perfume, Alien
There you have it. What are your favorite albums from the group? Did you miss Rihanna’s annual album release? Were you also hooked by Kelly’s Christmas songs? And did you hear it as Dick Dick Boom as well?
Okay let’s shift the tone a bit and move from the Emmys to the local TV awards. I know, I know the PMPC Star Awards aren’t exactly the most prestigious measure of TV merits, but I find them always fun with WTF noms and wins every now and then. So I’ll try to do a first and predict the winners in 57 different categories come Sunday’s telecast.
Best TV station
GMA News TV-11
Anyone knows the difference between AksyonTV-41 and 45? Me neither. On one hand, it’s commendable that they nominate all existing local channels, but then again, ETC and IBC both only have one nomination, so is it really worth mentioning that they’re still up for best TV station when nothing from their programs get nominated for any award? Anyway, if it’s any indication, the awards theme on Sunday is celebration of 60 years of television, so I don’t how it can get any more obvious than that.
PREDICTION: ABSCBN 2 ALTERNATE: GMA-7
Best Primetime Drama Series
Apoy Sa Dagat/ ABS-CBN 2
Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala/ ABS-CBN 2
Ina, Kapatid, Anak/ABS-CBN 2
Indio/ GMA 7
Juan dela Cruz/ ABS-CBN 2
My Husband’s Lover/ GMA 7
Pahiram ng Sandali/ GMA 7
This one is quite difficult since sometimes they go for merit over buzz (like Amaya winning over Walang Hanggan last year), at times they go buzz over merit (Tayong Dalawa winning over May Bukas Pa), or even a combination of both (Pangako Sa’yo). This year, there’s a lot that fits in any of the categories. I guess the too much buzz over the series makes me want to predict My Husband’s Lover to win the top plum this year.
PREDICTION: My Husband’s Lover ALTERNATE:Ina Kapatid Anak
Best Drama Actor
Bong Revilla /Indio/ GMA 7
Coco Martin / Juan Dela Cruz /ABS-CBN 2
Dennis Trillo/ My Husband’s Lover/ GMA 7
John Lloyd Cruz/ A Beautiful Affair/ ABS- CBN 2
Piolo Pascual/ Apoy Sa Dagat /ABS- CBN 2
Richard Yap/ Be Careful With My Heart /ABS-CBN 2
Tom Rodriguez/ My Husband’s Lover/ GMA 7
Obviously, Bong Revilla is out here. I also think that despite being past winners, both John Lloyd Cruz (2000, 2004, and 2006 winner) and Piolo Pascual (2007 winner) are out of contention also. Now it gets trickier. Richard Yap seems like a PMPC choice, but then again he didn’t even win Breakthrough Actor last year. While Coco Martin is always in contention, I don’t know if they’ll reward him a third win in six years. Thus, in a sort of predictable manner, I’d say they give a tie to both Husband’s Lover actors to continue the love fest. if only one wins though, maybe Dennis Trillo gets his first win here.
PREDICTION: Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo, My Husband’s Lover ALTERNATE: Richard Yap, Be Careful with My Heart
Best Drama Actress
Carla Abellana/ My Husband’s Lover/ GMA 7
Janice De Belen/ Ina, Kapatid, Anak/ ABS-CBN 2
Jodi Sta. Maria/ Be Careful With My Heart /ABS-CBN 2
Judy Ann Santos/ Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala/ ABS-CBN 2
Kim Chiu / Ina, Kapatid, Anak/ ABS-CBN 2
Maja Salvador/ Ina, Kapatid, Anak/ABS- CBN 2
Marian Rivera/ Temptation Of Wife/ GMA 7
Nora Aunor /Never Say Goodbye/ TV5
The only category with eight acting nominees this year, Drama Actress is a bit overcrowded. With that said, where’s Angelica Panganiban for her double acting method in Apoy sa Dagat? As for the winner, we can see a lot of names popping up here. Nora Aunor can go back to back, or Judy Ann Santos wins a second one for her grand teleserye comeback. Marian Rivera was nominated at the Asian TV Awards for this performance, so maybe she’ll inch a win as well. However, I think it’s an easy win for Jodi Sta. Maria whose Maya easily goes down as one of the most memorable TV characters in years.
PREDICTION: Jodi Sta. Maria, Be Careful with My Heart ALTERNATE: Judy Ann Santos, Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala
Best Drama Supporting Actor
Arjo Atayde / Dugong Buhay /ABS-CBN 2
Arron Villaflor / Juan Dela Cruz/ ABS -CBN 2
Carlo Aquino / Annaliza / ABS-CBN 2
Pen Medina / Bayan Ko / GMA NEWS TV
Roi Vinzon/ My Husband’s Lover /GMA 7
Ronaldo Valdez / Ina, Kapatid, Anak/ ABS-CBN 2
Tirso Cruz III/ Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala/ ABS-CBN 2
Thank God they finally introduced the supporting categories. And this year we got a mix of veteran, upcoming, and in between actors battling out. For this particular year, I think the first award will go to a veteran. Whether it’s Roi Vinzon’s homophobic dad in My Husband’s Lover or Ronaldo Valdez’ supportive grandpa in Ina Kapatid Anak, the older men have the advantage here. I’d say in the end, Tirso Cruz III’s strict dad with a WTF secret twist wins with Pen Medina’s turn in Bayan Ko as possible spoiler.
PREDICTION: Tirso Cruz III, Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala ALTERNATE: Pen Medina, Bayan Ko
Best Drama Supporting Actress
Amy Austria/ Lorenzo’s Time/ ABS-CBN 2
Angel Aquino/ Apoy Sa Dagat / ABS-CBN 2
Gina Pareño/ Juan Dela Cruz/ ABS-CBN 2
Glydel Mercado/ My Husband’s Lover/ GMA 7
KC Concepcion/ Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala/ ABS-CBN 2
Susan Roces/ Walang Hanggan/ ABS-CBN 2
Sylvia Sanchez /Be Careful With My Heart /ABS -CBN 2
While the supporting actor is a mix of new and old blood, the female counterpart more or less contains big names and character actresses in it. It’s worthy to note that Susan Roces is the only cross over nomination for Walang Hanggang whose breakout year last year, so maybe she has a fighting chance. But I guess, in the end it’s between KC Concepcion who garnered a lot of buzz for doing the unconventional kontrabida role vs. Sylvia Sanchez’s supportive mom. I still go back and forth with this one, but for now, I’d say the former inches the latter by a hair.
PREDICTION: KC Concepcion, Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala ALTERNATE: Sylvia Sanchez, Be Careful with My Heart
Best Daytime Drama Series
Be Careful With My Heart / ABS-CBN 2
Dugong Buhay/ ABS–CBN 2
Kakambal ni Eliana / GMA 7
Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo/ ABS-CBN 2
May Isang Pangarap/ ABS-CBN 2
Mga Basang Sisiw/ GMA 7
My Little Juan/ ABS–CBN 2
Be Careful with My Heart. ‘Nuff said.
PREDICTION: Be Careful with My Heart ALTERNATE: –
Best Comedy Show
Pepito Manaloto: Ang Tunay na Kwento / GMA 7
Toda Max / ABS CBN 2
Vampire Ang Daddy Ko / GMA 7
Okay so this is what comedy in our television has to offer. Hmm. Gone were the days when we have at least more than five to choose from. I don’t even know with this one, but despite finishing few weeks ago, it will be a consecutive win for Toda Max.
PREDICTION: Toda Max ALTERNATE:Pepito Manaloto
Best Comedy Actor
Jayson Gainza/ Banana Nite/ ABS-CBN 2
Michael V. / Bubble Gang / GMA 7
Ogie Alcasid / Bubble Gang / GMA 7
Pooh/ Banana Split: Extra Scoop/ ABS- CBN 2
Robin Padilla/ Toda Max/ ABS-CBN 2
Vhong Navarro / Toda Max/ ABS- CBN 2
Vic Sotto/ Vampire Ang Daddy Ko / GMA 7
It’s surprising to learn Michael V hasn’t won here yet, since I think he’s the better one of the two Bubble Gang leads. I’m inclined to think Jayson Gainza will finally win this year, maybe because his Ihaw Na schtick is actually funny, but then again I have no idea. I guess I’ll stick with Ogie Alcasid for a final bid for Bubble Gang.
PREDICTION: Ogie Alcasid, Bubble Gang ALTERNATE: Jayson Gainza, Banana Nite
Best Comedy Actress
Alex Gonzaga / Banana Nite/ ABS- CBN 2
Angel Locsin/ Toda Max / ABS- CBN 2
Angelica Panganiban/ Banana Split: Extra Scoop/ ABS-CBN 2
Manilyn Reynes/ Pepito Manoloto / GMA 7
Pokwang/ Toda Max/ ABS- CBN 2
Rufa Mae Quinto/ Bubble Gang/ GMA 7
Ryzza Mae Dizon/ Vampire Ang Daddy Ko / GMA 7
If we’re going by the funniest personality here, I’d say Alex Gonzaga wins this easily. But then again, I think she’s funny in real life as opposed to the gags she play. Last year, Rufa Mae Quinto won her fifth trophy in this category. So they still probably find her funny. Maybe Pokwang wins again this time. I’d love for Ryzza Mae Dizon to win actually. Angel and Angelica are great actresses but they’re not necessarily given funny material to work with. Hmm this one’s a trouble shoot.
PREDICTION: Pokwang, Toda Max ALTERNATE: Rufa Mae Quinto, Bubble Gang
Best Single Performance by an Actor
Baron Geisler /Untold Stories- Walang Hadlang AngBukas / TV5
BJ Forbes / MMK-Bulaklak / ABS CBN 2
Carlo Aquino /MMK- Pulang Laso / ABS-CBN 2
Joem Bascon / MMK-Pulang Laso / ABS- CBN 2
Keempee De Leon/ Magpakailanman Presents “Ang Tatay Kong Beki: The Ruben Marasigan Story “/ GMA 7
Romnick Sarmenta / MMK-Rosaryo / ABS-CBN 2
Zaijan Jaranilla /MMK-Rosaryo /ABS-CBN 2
The single performance categories are hands down my favorites every year, as I think it’s one that keeps on surprising me, and it has actually a great variety of quality performances to choose from. This year proved the same, though I noticed that three of the seven performances played dramatic gay characters. Is 2013 destined to be the year where gay performances in TV is a pinnacle of quality acting? I guess so. Now that I have predicted Dennis Trillo, Tom Rodriguez, and Tirso Cruz III to win, why not extend the love here. I’d say Carlo Aquino wins this one.
PREDICTION: Carlo Aquino, Maalaala Mo Kaya ALTERNATE: Joem Bascon, Maalala Mo Kaya
Best Single Performance by an Actress
Ai-Ai de las Alas / MMK- Kulungan / ABS CBN 2
Boots Anson Roa/ MMK-Kamison /ABS CBN 2
Iza Calzado/ MMK-Ilog/ ABS-CBN 2
Jane Oineza / MMK-Bimpo / ABS – CBN 2
Krystal Reyes/ Magpakailanman Presents “Batang Ina: The Tintin Ng Story” / GMA 7
Nikki Gil / MMK-Ilog / ABS-CBN 2
Nora Aunor/ Untold Stories-Tukso Ng Pag-Ibig/TV5
This one is a tad more difficult to predict since it offers a wide array of roles and performances, and I can see the PMPC going with any of these performances. So I guess I can just pick a random name from the hat and predict it. After snubbing her last year for her controversial MMK performance, maybe they’d give it to Jane Oineza as a make up award. If not her, I also can see Nora Aunor winning here (as a consolation for her Drama Actress loss), or to Nikki Gil whose acting chops is seriously underestimated. Or maybe Krystal Reyes as the lone flagbearer of GMA wins this one. After all, that has happened before.
PREDICTION: Jane Oineza, Maalaala Mo Kaya ALTERNATE: Nora Aunor, Untold Stories
Best Child Performer
Andrea Brillantes / Annaliza / ABS CBN 2
Izzy Canillo / My Little Juan/ ABS-CBN 2
JB Agustin/ Little Champ/ ABS- CBN 2
Jillian Ward/ Home Sweet Home/ GMA 7
Louise Abuel / Juan Dela Cruz / ABS-CBN 2
Xyriel Manabat/ Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw/ ABS- CBN 2
Zaijan Jaranilla/ Lorenzo’s Time /ABS-CBN 2
Only in its second year since its inception, I think one clue in predicting here is that the child must play the lead role in the series; otherwise, you have no shot against those who carry their shows. I guess in a process of elimination, Jillian Ward, Louise Abuel, and Xyriel Manabat are eliminated already. As for the other four, I say JB Agustin has the advantage since he’s also nominated for Breakthrough Actor, but his show was shortlived, so if anything, maybe Zaijan Jaranilla wins this with Andrea Brillantes as a spoiler.
PREDICTION: Zaijan Jaranilla, Lorenzo’s Time ALTERNATE: Andrea Brillantes, Annaliza
Best New Male TV Personality
Akihiro Blanco /Istorifik :Pidols Kwentong Fantastik Presents Robin Dude /TV5
JB Agustin / Little Champ / ABS-CBN 2
Jerome Ponce /Be Careful With My Heart/ ABS – CBN 2
Junjun Quintana/ Tanikala: Liwanag Sa Dapithapon / GMA NEWS TV
Mikoy Morales / TeenGen / GMA 7
Ruru Madrid / Maynila : Faith In Love / GMA 7
Vin Abrenica / Never Say Goodbye / TV5
This category always gives WTF winners for a long time now, so I really have no idea who’ll win here truth be told. Maybe they’ll bring out a tie again like in previous years. But if forced, maybe Jerome Ponce wins this. Love the shoutout to Junjun Quintana though. He’s slowly carving out a name for himself in the acting department. Maybe one of the two interchangeable TV5 actors win this one. Okay I’m gonna go with Aljur’s brother. He seems to fit the prototype of out of the field winners here.
PREDICTION: Vin Abrenica, Never Say Goodbye ALTERNATE: Jerome Ponce, Be Careful with My Heart
Best New Female TV Personality
Aaliyah Belmoro/ Goin’ Bulilit/ ABS-CBN 2
Ashley Sarmiento /Goin’ Bulilit /ABS-CBN 2
Gianna Revilla / Teengen / GMA 7
Janella Salvador/ Be Careful With My Heart/ ABS-CBN 2
Liza Soberano/ Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo/ ABS- CBN 2
Sophie Albert/ Never Say Goodbye/ TV5
Thea Tolentino/ Teengen/ GMA 7
Like its counterpart, I also have no idea since I don’t know most of these starlets, though I find both Janella Salvador and Liza Soberano pretty. Is Gianna Revilla related to the Revilla actors clan? I guess if given the chance, I’d vote for Aaliyah Belmoro since she’s the one who does the Doris Bigornia impersonation in Going Bulilit and that gets me going every single time. But they rarely reward child actresses here (not even Xyriel Manabat or Ryzza Mae Dizon won in their respective years), so maybe I’d go with Janella as part of the Be Careful love train.
PREDICTION: Janella Salvador, Be Careful with My Heart ALTERNATE: Liza Soberano, Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo
Okay one more month before we get to see the precursors. Sorry there’s no write up this month, since I’ll soon be updating for December, and this is a pretty stagnant month in terms of premieres and shake ups. Anyway, post your comments and questions below if you have anything. 🙂
PS: Best Actress is so effin boring there’s no changes at all for this month.
Okay let’s stray away for a bit from Oscar and other awards show predictions, and move to something more fun (and catty!). In two days, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant will be held in Moscow, Russia. Dubbed as the “most beautiful day of the year” (really though? Isn’t that reserved for birthdays or Christmas and Thanksgiving? LOL), 86 candidates from different parts of the world will put their best foot forward in succeeding current Miss Universe (and Miss Nick Jonas) USA’s Olivia Culpo with her duties as Miss Universe.
After the never ending buzz, activities, and preliminary pageant, here are my predictions for the top 16 ladies this year. I’d also be including the four in waiting and eight others who significantly can still call themselves in the running for this year. This list is based on my personal take of each candidate’s performance towards the two weeks pre-pageant and the history of their countries in the pageant. Here we go!
Switching back and forth to sweet and sassy in both her swimsuit and evening gown performance, Voce initially does not stand out in front of the pack. But it only takes one call in the top 16 for everyone to pay notice and put her in the spotlight.
27. CZECH REPUBLIC
Defying the unwritten rules of long haired beauty queens, Miss Czech Republic comes to show that she can indeed stand out in a sea of long haired women. Not only does this highlight her beauty more, but it makes her presence really felt. She has also won the crowd favorite among those who participated in the Yamamay swimsuit stint last week.
There is no denying that Whulandry is the best their country has sent in almost a decade. It’s quite regretful that her model skills (one thing that keeps her abuzz the ponline pageant community) weren’t shown in its full potential, as I think she could have earned more points with that. She also needs to tone down with the strong make up and really thick lipstick as her exotic features crosses over the top territory and not in a good way.
After sending a black candidate that didn’t work out for them last year, Canada sent in pageant expert Riza Santos to compete and represent their country this year. After all, Santos combines the sultry seductive look and expert walking skills. Never underestimate this girl as she participated in some Miss U activities, so she’s certainly on their radar.
Sen as a downgrade from 2010 winner Ximena Navarrete and even last year’s representative Karina Gonzales, Cynthia Duque really has big shoes to fill. With that said, I’d probably give credit for girl is really trying and giving her best. While a Top 10 placement seems far, a Trump pick is certainly possible.
The “P” countries are certainly in for the kill this year. starting with Carolina Brid of Panama.Panama is actually good, though I wonder if their bailing out to host this year can affect their coutnry’s chances.
Called as the Naomi Campbell of this batch, this statuesque beauty has the buzz for being the first black representative of Israel. Physically, it’s easy to notice this girl as she stands out from afar, but her lack of participation in different Miss Universe activities being unable to totally standout in the preliminaries makes me think she will miss the top 16 altogether and provide as the night’s first surprise miss.
After a surprising performance last year and being a surprise stand out at this year’s Tony Ward Mercedes Benz fashion show, I can see a possibility of the country doing a back to back placement for this year.
Last year, Shilpa Singh was one of the biggest surprises that entered the top 16. While the consensus was that it was one of the Trump picks that paved the way for her inclusion there, they more than made up for this year by sending a fresher and more competent delegate. Manasi has this sweet innocent face but can easily transform to a sexier one when the situation calls for it. Maybe India wants to claim itself as Asia’s powerhouse again?
Probably the most surprising inclusion in my list, Tanzania actually surprised me with her performance in the preliminaries. She has a very significant presence that did not shy away despite being around countries like Spain, US, and Venezuela. Her Truth and Dare segment also showed personality on her part. If there’s one who deserves to follow Flaviana Matata’s footsteps, it’s definitely Betty!
Another one who surprised us with her preliminaries performance, Lucia Aldana made her presence really felt in one of the crucial parts of the competition. She has this old school typical pageant look that I can really see hitting well to a lot of people.
After years of consistent performances since Jennifer Hawkins’ win in 2004, there’s no other way to go but to miss. While there’s a big chance that I can see her still getting in as one of the Trump choices, Olivia just doesn’t live up to any of her recent predecessors. and someone that can totally miss the top 16.
Myanmar already has a great narrative the moment she sets her foot in Moscow. After five decades of no participation, she finally becomes the first Myanmar representative to join the pageant again. Add in some stints in different Miss Universe activities and my bet as the one who will be internet voters’ choice, there’s a huge possibility for her to hear her name get called come Saturday night.
If Mynamar works on the narrative of coming back after a long time, then Azerbaijan makes an even stronger case as it makes its Miss Universe debut this year. As Kosovo in 2005 and Tanzania in 2007 have shown us, the Miss Universe is nothing but cordial to those who decide to join the pageant. Add the fact that the Crocus City Hall (where the event will be held) is owned by Azerbaijani millionaire Aras Agalarov, and you’d have one sure spot in the top 16.
After a surprising National Costume win at the end of the preliminaries pageant last November 5, it’s definitely clear that Nastassja is on the Miss Universe radar. She also surprised us with her prelims performance, so a top 16 finish is actually expected to happen.
13. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
It will be surprising if we have a black blackout from the Top 16 this year. And if Israel ended up as an underwhelming presence, and Tanzania coming close, I then conclude that Miss Dominican Republic Yaritza Reyes will end up with the highest placement this year. Between this and her infamous fall at the Yamamay fashion show, she will always be definitely in the talking from here thereon.
Ever since their back to back victories of Dayana Mendoza in 2008 and Stefania Fernandez in 2009, Venezuela has been underwhelming if we compare it to their own standards. 2010’s Marelisa Gibson failed to enter the semifinalists, 2011 ended up with a Top 16 placement only, and 2012’s frontrunner Irene Esser ended up as second runner up due to a botched up Q&A. While Gabriela Isler is no Irene Esser in the catwalk, I think she did good though her flaws (especially in the evening gown) were noticeable. A Top 16 is easily achievable and even a top 10 is feasible, though I’m placing her in 12th.
Her beauty is a hit or miss (personally, I find her exotic beauty really appealing), and she’s aiming to be the fifth consecutive delegate who makes it to the semifinalist of her country. That will be an easy task, but like her predecessors, it seems like the farthest she can reach is a top sixteen or top ten placement. She needs to make her walk more memorable to further advance in the fame.
Ever since Honey Lee’s more than satisfying performance in 2007, Korea wasn’t able to find the perfect candidate to follow her footsteps. I think this year’s Yumi Kim comes closest. I like how she surprised everyone with her sultry swimsuit performance. She’s definitely one of Asia’s best performers this year.
For some reason, Erin Brady’s Moscow stint is really underwhelming. She looks lifeless at most times and really bored with all of these. I don’t know if she feels that she’s quite doomed since USA won’t do a back to back (but then again it’s USA so anything is impossible), or that despite losing, her stint as Miss USA will have, more or less, the same duties as the Miss Universe, or that USA is such as easy Trump pick, but whatever it is, I’m glad she delivered when it mattered. Her prelims performance showed that it is not the end for USA after all. Hmm maybe that Transformers national costume threw her off? LOL.
08. GREAT BRITAIN
Great Britain is the strongest blonde candidate for this year. She has this very Barbie doll aura that is lovely to look at. It also helps that she makes waves in most pre-pageant events. If anything, I’d say just work on her evening gown more, as that is one of her most visible weaknesses.
Brazil is also shaping itself as a real powerhouse the past few years. Now aiming for a third year Top 5 finish, they experimented this year and send a delegate that is not of the same mold for their last two years. Jakelyne Oliveira has one of the best bodies in this competition, and it shows. While there’s a real possibility of her giving another top five finish for Brazil, it depends on the competition left at this stage in the game.
06. PUERTO RICO
Definitely one of the year’s most buzzed candidates, Monic comes back to take vengeance after the surprising snub of Bodine Koehler. She delivered and makes her presence felt in all activities, and she’s a regular among all Miss Universe activities. The only thing I think that hurts her is that the Miss Universe winners the past three years have been more on the sweet and innocent faces of Ximena, Leila, and Olivia and not the fierce beauties of Zuleyka, Stefania and Dayana. Monic is definitely more on the latter than the former. Also, we’ve seen lots of strong frontrunners ending up outside the top five such as Ireland in 2010 and South Africa last year; there’s a chance Monic will be this yer’s recipient of that.
Elmira is the hometown gurl, and the past two years have shown that homecourt advantage matters (e.g. Brazil ending up in the top five in 2011, and USA winning in her home turf last year). Going into the competition with the biggest fans and huge support, I can see their thank you token to the host country by giving hometown gurl a runner up finish.
Ukraine has been performing well recently with a 2nd runner up finish in 2010 and a 1st runner up ending in 2011. This year, icy queen beauty of Olga Storozhenko is one of the year’s most prominent and memorable contenders. She gives a very classy and elegant vibe that I can see working out well for her come the big night.
Patricia Rodriguez, hands down, has one of the most beautiful faces in the competition. Her face chooses no angle and is definitely a sweetheart material. She’s also one of the most buzzed contestants of this year’s pageant appearing in multiple pre-pageant events. If anything, I think she needs to be more livelier in motion (especially in the evening gown portion) if she wants to bring home the second Miss Universe crown for her country.
Paulina is in almost all predictions lists and is very viable to win the crown on Saturday night. After all, not only is she the most photogenic delegate this year, hers fit the type that the Miss Universe has been crowning lately. Aside from having a lovely, angelic face (which at times gives her some softer Leighton Meester vibes). she also has an engaging personality to boost. The only thing I think she can further improve on is that to make the most out of her ramp skills espeically if she’s sticking with the same evening gown. To be fair, she’s an obvious favorite so she can also just sail along for the ride.
The stars are really aligning well for this Filipina delegate. After three top five finishes, the pressure is absolutely crazy for Ariella Arida. But no need to fret as girl certainly delivered. Whether it’s Miss Universe activities participation (the most among all candidates), online and physical support of fans, and country’s sash factor, her performance all throughout the two week Moscow stint just keeps her buzz really afloat. Sure, the outfits leave a lot to be desired (though some of it can be classified as nitpicking), but I think this year has been the closest the country had (with a big help of her three predecessors) near the Diamond Nexus crown, and they won’t be able to resist giving it to them already. It is also fitting that the Philippines’ possible third win comes exactly 40 years since their last win.
There you have it! Who are you predictions to win the Miss Universe this year? Who are your favorites? Pipe them in below! And don’t forget to vote in the poll below!