I say ‘fearfully fearless’ because I can’t remember the last time I had this much difficulty deciding on who to forecast as winners of Bb. Pilipinas 2011 tomorrow night. Almost every year for the past decade alone, predicting the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe titleholder was accurately targetted going into the homestretch. There were surprises, but not for the top plum.
Before anything else, here is a short video of my favorites for the pageant before I made my final analysis…
This year, losing a 3rd major title to predict a winner for makes it even more challenging. You see, pageant experts will agree with me when I say that there is already a traditional mold for each of the three competitions abroad – Goddess/Catwalk Diva mode for Miss Universe, Doll-like but Sensuous Beauty for Miss International and Beauty-Brains-Talent combo for Miss World. Losing one of the three leaves us with two templates to fit possible beauty queens in. And given the highly competitive batch of 2011 delegates, there is a very good probability of missing the mark in terms of predicting the eventual victors. Thus, I am not absolutely putting my name on the line here. Several factors can affect the results – foremost of which is the Q&A that can quickly topple frontrunner/s to runner-up positions.
With that in mind, here are my calculated guesses divided into four categories:
Gut-feel tells me that Isabella Manjon and Diana Arevalo will get themselves crowned as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and Bb. Pilipinas-International. I did not say ‘respectively’ because they are interchangeable. Isabella, inarguably the girl with the prettiest face among the 40, can qualify for either the Miss Universe or Miss International competitions. She is highly trainable and with a charming personality to boot. The global contests are still many months away so whatever shortcomings can still be improved. Her fluency in Spanish – on top of being rumored as Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta’s personal favorite – is icing on the cake.
On the other hand, Diana – the lady who learned her lessons well from a failed first bid two years ago – can make wonders in either of the two aforementioned pageants as well, given more sharp training and polishing. I know that she can improve on whatever her limitations are and maximize her strengths to the fullest. Hence, she should be able to stand tall in the midst of international delegates. She knows how to hype herself up in a subtle but effective way and that is something hard to implant in a person with just plain training.
Owing to the loss of the Miss World franchise, Binibining Pilipinas will most likely hand out a third title but a minor one – perhaps Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism – which equals the level of the old Miss Maja Pilipinas complete with crown and sash but sans big cash prize. This could be where Dianne Necio enters the picture. Having finished 1st Runner-Up last year, she ran the big risk of either wiining or losing for 2011. On a leaner year, she could have easily zoomed to the top. Sadly, this batch is not. Nonetheless, in the event that she gets to represent the Philippines in one of the minor beauty tilts abroad – like Miss Globe – then her efforts did not go to waste.
When someone pulls the rug from right under your nose, it means that you’ve been had or defeated. ‘In the Courts’ are the runners-up who came close to winning the crown and yet, fell short during the final deliberation of the judges. These are ladies who are also capable of getting a title. But due to the fact that there are only two being offered, they have to make do with being part of the court. If good fortune does not hold in favor of Isabella or Diana or both, then one (or two) of these three beauties can end up hugging the limelight even brighter.
Shamcey is the perennial favorite to win the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe crown. But as the weeks have passed since the Press Presentation, her star has started to fade, not necessarily losing steam but getting eclipsed by other competitors whose drive to win has been anything but complacent. Her main edge is intelligence. She scores high on beauty of face as well. But these qualities could be put to waste if she does not show the extra oomph in the battlefield of fierceness. There remains an unmistakable old-fashion appeal from time to time and this won’t augur well for the Miss Universe Pageant which evolves and updates itself just like the latest apps on Apple and Android. I can still see her going to Brazil, but right now, the e-ticket has slipped her grasp.
How about Mary Jean or MJ? The lady with the killer body and ultra-exotic skin color (due to her half-Middle Eastern descent) is everyone’s idea of a deadly Miss Universe bet if only she is blessed with a few more inches in height. Her catwalk skills are a joy to watch as each glide and turn is punctuated by eye-popping body movements built with cuts in the right places. Add to that her abs and you get a crowd-drawing albeit petite contender. Her communication skills tend to be middling but she won’t be a letdown in this part. Unfortunately, I don’t see a crown on her head tonight. She will fight tooth and nail, but a runner-up position should not demoralize her. If she springs a surprise, then I say….good for her!
And that leaves me with Patricia whose aim is to make fierce waves in her first attempt at a BB. Pilipinas win. I want her on top, actually. But I have a nagging feeling that she might not be able to lift herself up to the big time. I couldn’t put a finger on that one factor that I find amiss but off-guard, there are still inconsistencies in her personal style. Just like MJ, I won’t fall off my seat if she ends up victorious. For her supporters, just hope her lucky stars align between now and tomorrow night.
These are the candidates who could make it to the semifinals. One or two of them may pull off a surprise by placing higher, but I’m not counting on it 100%. At any rate, excellent Q&A can catapult anyone to the Top 5 so fast that all we can do is be impressed and charge it all to random serendipity. For the record, I can set aside Sabrinne Al-Tawil, Jenette Noguchi and Kathleen Subijano as the ones with the brightest prospects of doing so.
In summary, there are all sorts of combinations that can be made for the set of winners for 2011. Guessing (or second-guessing) the right combination is open to less hits and more misses. All things being equal, we should be happy that the group of wannabes this year is an outstanding one, definitely no slim pickings here. And to whoever the surprise semifinalist or runner-up or (heaven forbid) winner will be, my hope is that it won’t be pure luck working in her favor but qualities we all have never been aware of as armchair judges or personal appearance spectators.
Truth be told, it is hard to trim down the girls to just the Top 15 so I opted to add a few more to make it a Top 20. Let’s compare notes tomorrow night as Bb. Pilipinas 2011 The Pageant culminates at the Araneta Coliseum with a slight delayed airing on ABS-CBN after Pilipinas Got Talent.
Watch and be amazed!