Friday, January 27, 2017

65th Miss Universe Review: Albania - Brazil

The 65th Miss Universe Pageant will be remembered as one that brought back much needed glamour and excitement to the pageant. Apart from the fact that the organizers could not manage to have Miss Universe 2016 in that year and the pageant had to be moved to the following year for the second time, having pageant crazy Philippines as a host was a brilliant move. For the first time in years, the girls were treated like stars. The schedule was hectic and several of the 86 delegates fell ill during their stay in the country, but this is the first time in years that the schedule looked like something befitting of Miss Universe. I don't even want to start thinking how hard it will be for them to find a host that can match the Filipino magic... or just a host at all. This year, they also have a competitive group and the as the new owners WME/IMG are trying to move away from the Trump era, expect some surprises. They have changed the format and instead of a top 15, only 12 beauties will survive the first cut. The owners have made it clear that they want a woman of substance and it almost seems that they have taken a look how Julia Morley reinvented the Miss World Pageant. Early Monday morning, the Philippines own Pia Wurtzbach will crown the 65th Miss Universe. Who will she be? After keeping an eye on what was happening in the Philippines for the last two weeks, here are our thoughts:

******* Crown Contender - might be the 65th Miss Universe 
****** Could be a runner-up  
***** Possible top 5 finalist 
**** Could reach the top 9 
*** Could reach the top 12
** Unlikely to survive the first cut 
* Highly unlikely to survive the first cut 

ALBANIA: Lindita Idrizi * 

Albania is usually one to watch at Miss Universe, but this year I feel that they have missed the mark. Lindita has a totally unconventional look for a beauty queen, but if she makes it will be a real indication that the owners of Miss Universe want to move away from everything the pageant was once all about.

ANGOLA: Luisa Baptista ** 

I must say that I am not feeling the African girls as much this year, but Luisa has the most amazingly beautiful skin. She gave two solid performances and have done well during her stint in Manila. In this group, I just feel there are stronger contenders.

ARGENTINA: Estefania Bernal ****** 

Argentina's Estefania Bernal is one of a handful of girls that has everything that screams Miss Universe to me. She is absolutely gorgeous and glamorous. Her choice of evening gown might have hurt her chances. I hope her interview skills are strong, because she is without a doubt, one of the most stunning girls there.

ARUBA: Charlene Leslie *** 

I have to give it to Charlene, she came to fight. Aruba competed really strongly this year and she made a really positive impact. I don't find her the most gorgeous or captivating, but she was impossible to ignore. I thought she looked amazing in her evening gown and owned the stage. If the judges ignore sash power, she could be one of the surprises in the top 12.

AUSTRALIA: Caris Tilvel ****** 

Now I was not really sure about Australia's chances this year, because I thought Caris was quite inconsistent before and even during the pageant. Then came the preliminaries and I fell in love with her. She was not over the top, but she looked sensational in both swimsuit and gown. She's not a glamazon, but she's got that (gorgeous) girl next door type of beauty that might impress the judges.

AUSTRIA: Dajana Dzinic ** 

I think Dajana did a good job, but sadly it wasn't good enough to really have made an impact. There have been stronger Austrian representatives who have failed to make the cute, so I'll probably fall off my chair if her name gets called out.

BAHAMAS: Cherelle Williamson ** 

I expected a bit more from Cherelle. I thought she'd come in fighting, but I was a bit underwhelmed by her. I think she performed well in the preliminaries though.... probably middle of the pack.

BARBADOS: Shannon Harris *** 

When I released my first leaderboard, I had Shannon in my top 5. She is an experienced model and I thought she would be the type of girl the new Miss Universe Organization is looking for. After watching her the last two weeks in Manila, I am not so sure anymore. I thought she was pretty inconsistent. At times, I was totally blown away by her, but more often than not I felt a bit underwhelmed. That said, she's still probably the strongest representative from Barbados ever. It would be nice to see her called into the top 12.

BELGIUM: Stephanie Geldhof *** 

Stephanie is a stunning young women and performed much better than I thought. I loved her during all activities in the run-up to the pageant. Everything went well until she stepped out in a horrible evening gown. (It's a real problem for Belgian girls.) It might have ruined her chances and it would be such a shame.

BELIZE: Rebecca Raath ** 

I want to give a huge shout-out to Rebecca. Belize has a really weak sash at pageant, but this girl is just super cute and she commanded attention due to the way she conducted herself and gave it her all on stage. I actually really like her. If she makes it, I would be delighted. Well done, Rebecca. You were your country's best representative in ages!!!

BOLIVIA: Antonella Moscatelli * 

The competition is quite strong this year and sadly I just don't think Antonella performed as well as most of the other delegates. In the preliminaries she was OK in swimsuit, but I did not like her choice of gown.

BRAZIL: Raissa Santana ******* 

I'm not going to lie. I LOVE THIS GIRL AND I WANT HER TO WIN. I think she has the most amazing bone structure and should she win, she would be a new type of Miss Universe. I can't compare her to any other former Miss Universe. She actually reminds me of young Whitney Houston. I'll be rooting for Brazil this Sunday. I thought she looked great in swimsuit and probably the most elegant and glamorous in evening gown. She also seems like a really sweet and charismatic girl. Pia needs a worthy successor and I think this girl might be the one they are looking for. Fingers crossed!

Photos: Miss Universe Organization 


  1. I can tell your favouritism for Brazil, that's so unprofessional, you should be neutral and give your opinion on a neutral way that way you will have more credibility.

    1. Something I would like to point out is that there has been several delegates that Andre has chosen to win that was not South American or Central American. Examples of this is Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 from Angola, Miss World 2014 Rolene Strauss from South Africa, Miss World 2013 Megan Young from the Philippines, just to name a few!! He also chose Olivia Culpo who is Italian to win Miss USA 2012. He also recognized Pia Wurtzbach as a huge contender to win Miss Philippines on her first two attempts seeing she is a probably Miss Universe winner. Andre is diverse and in my opinion more neutral than you recognize!!

    2. Thank hyou so much Bennett!!!

  2. Are you for real? It's a beauty pageant. That's what we do. Besides, I'm South African and not Brazilian. It's not like I'm hyping Miss South Africa.

    1. why can he not have a favourite and name her? get a life!

  3. I disagree with Andre being said to being partial... He is using his own professional opinion!!!

  4. And I agree, Brazil is sensational!!!!