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!