I watched the preliminary contest really late just because I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning. Saving it for the final night which will be aired earlier than the preliminary contest timing. Watching the preliminary contest felt like watching Miss International contest. Not because all the contestants had to walk but because most of the girls were slow in their walked which I guess was intended to be that way by the choreographer. I thought it seemed a bit odd for the lively and fast background score. In the evening gown round, all the girls preferred to walk slow to show their calm and composed side which I could understand but the swimsuit round was a disappointment. It was supposed to be fun, fierce and sassy. Some girls did manage to walk like that. Talking about the stage, it was brilliant and impressive. I love the waterfall illusion on screens. It looked so real. And that was perfect for the swimsuit round. The host Paulina and Nick were just fine. Can’t say much since they had to speak in the background. After the preliminary contest was over, my favourites made me happy and some girls I never thought of did exceptionally well. I thought I will write about only upto 10 contestants, but I couldn’t just leave those new favourites of mine. So it came to 18 favourites. Most of them are my personal favourites irrespective of their performances so don’t be surprised if they don’t make the cut on the final night though I would love to see them among top 15 or top 10. So here are the list:
Albania – Megi Luka: Megi is one of the best Albanian representatives in Miss Universe contest. Her official photo shoot blows me away. Hoping that, she makes it to the semi-final. She is sexy and irresistibly attractive. Her sex appeal lies in her strong facial features. At the preliminary contest, as an opener for both the rounds, she did fabulously. Her body is perfect for swimsuit round and in the evening gown round she wore one of the best gowns of the night. The long sleeve velvet gown looked good on her and she carried the gown effortlessly. Her amazing opening number left me expecting more from other contestants.
Australia – Monika Raduvolic: Her swimsuit performance was really good. Smiling all the way, it was pleasant and warm to watch her. She has got the spark too. Tall and beautiful, her well-toned body added more beauty to her performance. The sheer through gown with golden beads didn’t impress. But her tall structure and sweet personality covered up the flaws in the gown and she worked it out very well. Later on, I was quite surprised to see similar gown worn by Miss Bahamas. Monika was better in this gown. She might not be as strong as last year representative from Australia – Tegan Martin, but she is no less. I expect her to place in the semi-final based on her performance so far.
Brazil – Marthina Brandt: Marthina is the contestant who keeps me thinking whether she really should be in the list or not. She might be crowned very late but she is well prepared and came to the competition with lots of confidence having just won a Miss Brazil over so many stunning girls. Her swimsuit performance in the preliminary was as expected up to the mark but I won’t say it was superb. Her advantage is that she has got one of the best bodies in the contest. In her see-through gown beaded like a floral pattern, she gave an elegant and stylish performance. She was just sparkling. I think she will place high.
Chile – Maria Belen Jerez: What a surprise! She was absolutely mesmerising. This is the kind of surprise I like to see. I wasn’t sold on her Fadil’s glamour photo shoot. But here in the preliminary, she left me breathless. A good body with a stunning face, I never thought I would like her so much. Her stage presence was hard to ignore. She gets your attention the moment she walks on stage. Her evening gown round performance was also flawless. The silver embellished gown and the border between the beads made her every inch a chic woman. I would be really surprised if she doesn’t make the cut on the final night.
Colombia – Ariadna Guiterrez: Ariadna is the one to watch out for along with two or three other contestants. She was amazing in Miss Colombia Universe contest and here in Miss Universe contest, she is better than ever. From her stage presence to her amazing catwalk to her charming personality, she is perfect. It shouldn’t be hard for to crack the top 3. She gave a spectacular performance in both the rounds. She has such a positive vibes and energy all around her on stage which is eye catching. The fitted silver beaded on pink strapless gown she wore was one of the best gown and she gave a splendid performance. It was like the stage was hers. It’s gonna be hard for her to win and I would love to see her win. A back to back would be great too.
Great Britain: – Nena France: Her strength lies in her sweet and charming face which makes her very appealing. She looks very calm, composed and poised. Her swimsuit performance was decent. The fun moment of her was when she run her hand through her hair after posing for a second or so. The Evening gown round was better than the swimsuit round. She was so calm and composed; she looked very graceful and poised while emitting a softer side of her personality. The way she smiled was very genuine and it was such a delight to watch her.
Haiti – Lisa Drouillard: Lisa is no stranger to beauty pageants. She has competed in Miss Teen USA and represented Haiti in Miss Grand International 2014 where she was placed in the top 10. Experience comes handy for her at a bigger event like Miss Universe. She might not be a front-runner for the crown, but she isn’t someone you can totally ignore. She has the confidence and the attitude which isn’t too showy. She looks very relaxed too which I think must have come from her experience. She was fun and sassy in the swimsuit round and she has a decent body which is fine for swimsuit. It was nice to see her gown. After seeing so many see-through gown and those shiny embellished gown in white, silver or nude colour one after another from the contestants, Haiti came with a gown different gown from the rest. The colour of the gown makes it unique. The green colour and the stripes on the gown makes it look exquisite. I thought the colour was quite contrasting for her skin tone but it complimented each other.
India – Urvashi Rautela: There are few of the contestants who have a star quality all around them. Urvashi is one of them. Many things have been said about her make-up or hairstyle. But whatever she does, she does it with style and panache. She oozes with confident. She was so fun to watch in the swimsuit round. Her performance was lively and it reflected her bright and bubbly personality. The evening gown performance was fabulous but I have a mixed feeling about the gown. She carried the gown so well and beautifully. Miss India over the years at international pageants, has been experimenting with gowns, mostly a see-through gown with heavily embroidered or embellished gown. It’s nice to see this change but sometimes it seems like just to make a “Wow” gown they overdo it. Though I would say Urvashi’s silver gown with cuts and sheer is better than the previous years. But I still have to see a gown that says ‘This is it!’ Nevertheless, Urvashi knows what she is doing and she makes it beautiful.
Kosovo – Mirjeta Shala: What makes Mirjeta unique is her short wavy hair and her strong facial features. It makes her look like a classic Hollywood actress. Her beauty is a mixture of the strong and talented actresses – Katharine Hepburn and Sophia Loren. This makes her distinct and very appealing to watch. In the swimsuit round, she walked like a professional model uninhibited about the surrounding. The evening gown round was more interesting as she changed her hairstyle and we could see a feminine side of her while she smiled and walked on the stage. The bun hairstyle and the red high neck long gown looked so glamorous and she carried the gown elegantly like those classic Hollywood actresses.
Myanmar – May Thaw: It is an irony that she wasn’t my favourite at the Miss Myanmar Universe contest. She has a soft and delicate personality which makes her likeable. A calm aura surrounds her. In the swimsuit round, she bounced when she walked which was very lively and energetic but her body could have been better. It was her evening gown performance that wowed everyone. She wore the best gown of the night and she shined in that gown. The pink gown with a thread like necklace falling freely behind looked so classy, elegant and sophisticated. May looked so royal in it. The way she carried herself after she tripped was one of the best memorable moments of the night. Without showing any nerves, she took that opportunity to connect with the audience and she managed to do that. I think no one but only she could have done it. And she shined.
Philippines – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach: I expected a lot from her. Maybe because of those expectations I was a bit disappointed before the preliminary. I had enjoyed her pre-preparations thoroughly and expected much better. In some of her pictures, she didn’t impress though she wasn’t that bad. Finally, it was such a relief to see her preliminary performance. She was cool, calm, confident and composed. She had the body to do well in swimsuit round and she did . The red gown she wore was magnificent. The upper part with embellished crystals made the gown look grand and imposing. Love the bun hair style of Pia. She looked very regal.
Spain – Carla Barber Garcia: Spain has been doing well in Miss Universe off late, I believe Carla can continue the placement streak of Spain. Carla is beautiful and has the spark and aura of a queen which I think will help her place in the semi-final. Looking at her swimsuit performance, she was so natural, elegant and vivacious. Her look for the evening gown was a disappointment. The hairstyle with the gown was off balance. Her hairstyle makes her look edgy while her sheer white gown with embroidered floral beads gives an impression of a fun and vibrant woman especially when she started twirling the gown. That was beautiful except her hair.
Tanzania – Lorraine Marriot: Lorraine has a beautiful face and a decent body. She looks great on her official Miss Universe picture taken by Fadil. She walked the stage in a bikini as if she was enjoying it not thinking about the judges and the scores. That was fun and pleasant. It was delightful to see her smiling and looking so happy. The gold sequin gown she wore complimented her skin tone and she did well in this round. I don’t know if she will be a semi-finalist or not. I hope she is one of the finalists. The last time Tanzania placed was in 2007.
Thailand – Aniporn Chalermburanawong: She is one of the few girls who always impressed with their amazing presence. The statuesque model is attractively beautiful, graceful and dignified. Every time I look at her, I am completely mesmerised by her beauty. Her photo shoot pictures are brilliant. She was exceptional in the swimsuit round and her body is really good. For the evening gown, she wore a v neck beaded white long gown with a drape from the shoulder. The gown was a bit letdown. I had expected a high-end gown. Aniporn somehow worked the gown well. Thanks to her tall and elegant look. She looked so regal and was like she was walking towards her throne. I hope she will change the gown in the final night.
USA – Olivia Jordan: She is another star of the contest. There is no doubt that she will place on her own merits not because USA is the host or because of the sash factor. Olivia is full of confidence and her personality is another quality of her which makes her a standout. It is evident in her performances too. In the swimsuit round, she was beaming with confidence and with a genuine smile, she was sparkling all over. Not only this, she is tall and has the body too. The red number she wore in the evening gown was a disappointment. I don’t know why Miss USA like in previous years except last year representative Nia Sanchez, always wear a safe gown for the preliminary or in the final. This year is no exception. The red gown looked ill fitted for her. The drape on the bottom part of the gown looked messy. Overall, Olivia gave a decent performance her. Her shining personality, beautiful face and statuesque beauty saved her in this round.
Venezuela – Mariana Jimenez: I will never be disappointed with Venezuela. Year after year they impress me with their powerful performances. Mariana was my favourite at the Miss Venezuela contest and now I am more than happy to see her here. Such a stunning face she has. She has the best body in my opinion and is one of the best in swimsuit round. Her performance in the evening gown was perfect to the core though the gown quite didn’t work on me. But it’s Venezuela we are talking about, give them anything to wear they will make everything look beautiful. I am sure she will go high in the competition.
Vietnam – Huong Pham: One of the most beautiful contestants in the contest, Miss Vietnam is really strong this year. Expect her to place. She has the face and body besides the sweet and charming personality to make it in the final night. Her swimsuit performance was great and she was so cheery and her bouncy catwalk was so rhythmic and in tune with the background score. Huong wore a gown which was one of the best of the night. The white mermaid gown with swans print and feathers below made her looked like a beautiful swan princess dancing gracefully in a pond. She looked so divine and radiant. What a great way to close the preliminary gown round.
Other contestants who got my attention during the preliminary round were Misses Curacao, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Slovak Republic, South Africa Turkey and Uruguay.
The Best Gown:
Undoubtedly It’s Miss Myanmar, followed by Miss Colombia, Miss Albania and Miss Vietnam.
Best in National Costume:
I love the concept of Miss Thailand and Miss Austria. These two countries showed what their country stand for and the value and importance it holds in their life. It shows the legacy of their day to day life. It’s unique and distinct and refreshingly different and very relevant. Miss Thailand costume described the the lifeline of the her country which helps the livelihood of many people which in turn helps the economy of the country along with the tourism industry. Miss Austria costumes is a tribute the Austrian pop singer and drag Queen – Conchita Wurst who won Eurovision Song contest in 2014. For me, Miss Austria costume depicts the tolerance of her country towards people irrespective of their gender, race, religion etc. It also depicts how much they value “Equality” in their society.
Pictures credits: Miss Universe and Missosology.