I've re-watched the Miss Universe pageant and my main comment is that it was an odd year.
Lets start with a fuller review of the Top 16.
FRANCE - When Laury won her national pageant there were so many haters, I was one of few who thought she wasn't that bad and even considered her a contender however when everybody started liking her and putting her in their Top 16 I was unconvinced and placed her in my Top 30. I predicted she would make the Top 16 though.
KOSOVO - Way back in my first list she was in my Top 8. If you read that post you'd know I was unsure whether she deserved that placing and I was right to feel like that because when she arrived I was disappointed. She never climbed back to that high and slowly fell in my rankings to 42nd. Yet again I predicted her Top 16 placement though.
COLOMBIA - Colombia was never a favourite of mine, she did start to gather some steam before and after the preliminary competition but I didn't expect her Top 16 placement. To be honest I thought her "panties" fiasco was enough to bar her from placing and there were so many other Latinas I thought would take her place like Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico and Paraguay. She was 33rd on my list.
CHINA - China finally gave me something to cheer for, after 3 girls outside my Top 20 list I finally got someone inside my Top 10; China was 7th on my list. China has always been a predicament because I never found her beautiful instead it was her style and presence that caught my attention. It was also, for me, difficult to ignore a Chinese delegate who could actually do well in the competition.
ANGOLA - I'd be lying to you if I said I was ecstatic about her placement. At this stage I was praying for some of my favourites that another girl placed outside of my Top 20; 28th, wasn't a happy sight. Angola was always part of my bubbling under list and in fact her rather forgettable performance throughout the competition never excited me. However I was happy that Africa had a representative and she was on my 8 alternatives on my prediction list.
AUSTRALIA - Scherri-Lee was one of my favourites so I was over the moon about her placement. She was 6th on my list. Whilst most liked her prior to the pageant I think I grew to like her from looking at all the photos of their activities, her interview and her prelim performance. She represented a healthy, sporty girl and I loved her bubbly personality. She was amongst my Top 16 prediction list.
PUERTO RICO - At one point I loved Viviana, she peaked at 4th on my list but she slowly found her resting place at 13th. She just didn't provide as much spark as I had predicted and to be honest she didn't look her best on the night in my opinion. I was surprised to find out that it was her birthday on the finals. She also made my Top 16 predictions.
BRAZIL - Yet again a girl that once peaked inside my Top 15/16, at 12th, but just before and after the prelims she started to die down for me and ended at 29th. To be honest I didn't expect her placement despite being the home delegate because I thought her story was too much for her to handle but I did put her in my alternative 8. I think if she had been more vibrant during the prelims she could have stayed in my top 20.
NETHERLANDS - I jumped out of my seat when I saw this, I thought Kelly would be the favourite to fall or as some name it the "Ruth Ocumarez Award". I had not even considered her as an alternative in my predictions because I really had a feeling she'd be an Alida D'Angona of Miss Universe. I should have had more faith. She has been a permanent fixture in my Top 5, placing at 5th in the end.
USA - Thank god she made it. USA was always my No.1 until her preliminary which dropped her to 8th but she was still one of my faves. It would have been a shock if she didn't make it but I would also have understood her none placement. At this point I was really wondering how she'd look in the swimsuit competition because it could be what makes her lose before the Top 10 or even win it all.
UKRAINE - She was always my No.3 even when others thought she was a dud. I found her stunning and didn't really understand why others did not but that didn't matter anymore because she made the Top 16 (and we quickly found out that wasn't where she'd end). I was sure she'd make the Top 16 because of her undeniable sex appeal.
PANAMA - It was only after the preliminary pageant that I jumped on the bandwagon. She became my No.12. I thought she looked stunning when glammed up and I was extremely pleased that she made the Top 16. She was also in my Top 16 prediction list.
COSTA RICA - Costa Rica recently peaked at 16th on my favourites list so I was pleased with her inclusion. However I only put her as an alternative for my predictions list because I didn't expect the judges to like her much
PORTUGAL - Portugal was 24th on my list but never did I expect her to be in the Top 16 nor did I expect her to be voted in, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise I wouldn't want to see the viewers vote to always be between Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Puerto Rico. She also looked beautiful on the night.
PHILIPPINES - Philippines was always just outside my Top 10 but as I said she was amongst my Top 12 favourites for the finals. I have been a fan of Shamcey since Binibining Pilipinas and I'm proud to have been one of the few believers in her ever since she won her national pageant, I would also like to add whilst I liked Patricia Tumulak and MJ Lastimosa I think they wouldn't have fared as well at MU this year because they seemed to favour more natural girls this year. Personally I also like her more than Venus Raj and thought there was potential for her to make the Top 5.
VENEZUELA - I have never been a fan of Venezuela ever since she won her national pageant, I am one of the few who have never been a supporter, there were a dozen girls who I'd prefer over her but I did predict her Top 16 placement but she only placed 40th on my list. I would be more shocked if she didn't make the Top 16.
So I predicted 11 out of 16, and 2 in my alternative 8, pretty normal for me. I also had Greece, Malaysia, Peru, Spain and Thailand in my prediction list.
If I was to pick a Top 5 from this bunch of 16 without having watched their performances on the night I would have chosen Ukraine, Australia, Panama, USA and Netherlands
Anyway I want to talk a bit about the excluded girls
GREECE - Along with Malaysia and Peru she was the biggest shock exclusion. She had performed so well throughout the activities and she was so right for the pageant that I was left in shock she was excluded. By the end of this whole pre final process she was actually at the top spot for me. I was so upset she couldn't do her thing in front of Isabeli Fontana because she'd have probably advanced to the Top 5, though maybe she was cut because she was too much of a threat to Ukraine - both had that amazing stare.
MALAYSIA - Another absolute shock. She was my No.2! My top 2 both out! How come? GB even dedicated a section as to why they thought she missed the cut. I think if there was any reason to it it would be that MUO didn't want her to win and as she was too much of a danger if she made the Top 5 they wanted to be safe rather than sorry because there's no way she'd perform badly in the interviews and we all know very well she performed well in the prelims.
PERU - Another WTF non-placement, she was elegant and beautiful so I have no idea why she didn't place, the only reason I could think of is that maybe she rubbed the MUO the wrong way (as I said I expected she had a bitchy attitude) or because of her sash.
Others from my Top 16 favourites who missed out: Switzerland, Argentina, Russia, Israel.
MEXICO - As I had said her placement was in question because she was, in my opinion, stiff throughout this pageant process. She is undeniably gorgeous but she had everything against her including Ximena's win last year.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - Thank god
Overall I wasn't pleased with the Top 16 because it missed out three of the strongest girls in the bunch.
I would have liked some more traditional sounding music for the swimsuit segment, maybe a capoeira inspired piece. I didn't like the song used for the swimsuit segment but the segment they used when the girls were walking was fine.
I hope MUO learn from this that the Lux Fan Score is rubbish because it degrades delegates that get 2 or 3 for their scores. They should just not have anything and then release the judges score, per judge, after the finals. I also don't understand why the public don't like Panama, she came bottom on both scores.
I also didn't like the stage, it was too small and I thought they would do something similar to MU2005 with the bridge but instead it looked cheap and awkward.
A small note on the girls
France - sexy and energetic but her flailing arm was distracting
Kosovo - undeniably sexy but I still don't like her look. Her walk was also a tad too slow
Colombia - A bit too pageant patty but decent
China - I actually found her a tad boring, but she was aided by her physical assets
Angola - Sadly I thought she was the weakest out of the 16
Australia - I love her sunny aura, she's such a beach babe
Puerto Rico - I actually found her walk too stumpy and a tad disappointing
Brazil - Her walk looked uncoordinated
Netherlands - Sadly flat and awkward hip bones
USA - Whilst she walked well and looked healthy she was undeniably much thinner than her compatriots and in Brazil that's an even bigger no-no
Ukraine - Gorgeous, her beginning pose was to die for
Panama - I liked her slight headflicks but her walk was average.
Costa Rica - I found her walk too fast
Portugal - I don't get why people disliked her, she did well
Philippines - Her walk looks good head on but not from the side
Venezuela - Surprisingly average
At this point my bottom 6 were Philippines, Venezuela, China, Brazil, Netherlands and Angola but realistically I would have eliminated Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Angola, yes Angola I thought she was the weakest in Swimsuit.
Australia, Ukraine and France were my Top 3 after the swimsuit.
Only three of my Top 10 favourites made it here and only 5 from my Top 10 predictions made the cut - a pretty bad prediction if I must say. I let Costa Rica and France stay in the Top 16 whilst giving Puerto Rico and Venezuela a slot in my Top 10 prediction.
At first I was pretty shocked they left out USA, Puerto Rico and Venezuela but then they all underperformed. However leaving them but putting through Brazil was a questionable decision at that point. I was also shocked that Angola made it because I honestly believed she was the weakest in swimsuit.
EVENING GOWN SEGMENT
Australia - Her gown should have been carried in a regal manner rather than the way she did.
Costa Rica - She looked stiff and the gown didn't work
France - A tad boring
Ukraine - She is indeed a sex bomb
Portugal - She really popped for me
Panama - She looked flustered
Philippines - Beautiful, she was the only one that put it all together for the evening gown segment
Angola - Elegant but not that special
China - She looked elegant but I was expecting more
Brazil - Didn't like her walk
In my opinion Angola, Costa Rica, Brazil, France, Panama were the weaker five in this segment but I would have eliminated Costa Rica, France, Panama, Brazil and Angola on performance alone throughout the night.
I had a firm Top 3 from this Top 10 and they were Ukraine, Australia and Philippines.
I did predict all five of them making it once the evening gown competition ended. Though I was unsure whether it'd be Brazil, Australia or Costa Rica filling the 5th spot. Yet again I had only managed to predict one of the Top 5 from my pre-finals list, China, and only one of my Top 5 favourites made the cut, Ukraine.
UKRAINE - from Amelia Vega (one of my favourite MUs ever)
If you could trade lives with anyone in history who would it be and why?
Answer - I simply live my life and am very satisfied with it. But if I did have the chance to trade positions with someone I think I would chose Cleopatra. I think that she's a very powerful and strong woman who is very much worthy of respect. And I think a woman can also be a leader like Cleopatra.
My reaction - She managed to save her answer with her last line, if not it would have been a pretty weak answer in my opinion. I know they are nervous and therefore say the simplest things to buy them some time but she could have done without the first sentence and used that time to elaborate on why Cleopatra would be her choice.
PHILIPPINES - from Vivica A. Fox
Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love? Why or why not.
Answer - If I had to change my religious beliefs I would not marry the person that I loved because the first person that I love is god, who created me and I have my faith, my principles and this is what makes me who I am and if that person loves me should love my god to. Thank you.
My reaction - Personally I don't like religious questions and thus answers and what if you were atheist or agnostic? Though you would not dare say that to an American organisation if you wanted to win the pageant! However Shamcey provided the most considered answer and delivered it with passion and charisma.
CHINA - from Isabeli Fontana
Nude beaches are common in many parts of the world. Is public nudity appropriate or inappropriate and why?
Answer - I think every country has its own rules and regulations and every country has its own habits as well. We should respect them and be more understanding.
My reaction - The flaunting of skin has never been a question well answered and sadly China didn't provide a strong answer either. She didn't really provide anything interesting to say, it was just very standard. And to those who said her translator did a terrible job, I can understand Mandarin and that's basically what Roseline said.
BRAZIL - from Helio Castroneves
What would you do to avoid fighting a war that you didn't agree with?
Answer - First of all I would explain to people the premier quality of human beings is respect and no war is based on respect. It is always on misunderstanding, it's always based on a lack of education. And so I would tell this person that they should respect each other as human beings. Thank you.
My reaction - Did I understand the question properly? Because he seemed to ask what would Miss Brazil do herself which is rather odd. Miss Brazil did very well with this answer, she spoke confidently and with a lot of poise however I just wonder whether she actually answered the question.
ANGOLA - from Lea Salonga
If you could change one of your physical characteristics, which one would it be and why?
Answer - Thank god I am very satisfied with the way god created me and I wouldn't change a thing. I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty, I have my principles. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I plan to follow these through the rest of my life and now I would like to give all of you a piece of advice. Respect one another...
My reaction - She didn't get to finish her answer but to be honest she didn't answer her question despite it being a very stupid one. Why didn't she ask about characteristics alone rather than physical characteristics? Yeah I hate my nose so I want to get a nose job to make it look taller and thinner - ugh. Anyway I guess Angola twisted the question to the best of her abilities but it was rather a waffle.
I thought Philippines was the best followed by Ukraine and then Brazil. China was disappointingly the worst for me. However in review of the night as a whole my ranking was...
MU - Ukraine
1RU - Philippines
2RU - China
3RU - Brazil
4RU - Angola
If I am true to myself Angola was simply average throughout the night so in that perspective no she didn't deserve the crown but everybody is fickle when it comes down to beauty pageants because for the winner it doesn't really matter how they performed as long as you like them it is fine and yes I do like Angola and her win sat well with me. But my favourite was Ukraine and in fact she deserved it so I was very glad she came in as 1RU. Brazil's performance in the final question was strong but she had gone too far and China was a decent Top 5 as well.
However saying all this my heart yearned for a Ukraine, USA, Malaysia, Greece, Peru Top 5.
Just a little side note. I showed the top 5 to my dad (whilst they were giving their final walks) and he ranked the girls, in terms of beauty, like this; Philippines - Angola - Ukraine - China - Brazil
It was definitely a year of unpredictable outcomes and who could have guessed that Angola would be the one standing tall at the end. I'm just going to put it out there, Angola is by no means the best girl amongst the 89 but her win was a good one because she is graceful, elegant and beautiful and my god is it good to have a non-latina winning!