In my honest opinion, this is one of those editions of Miss International when the results could go either way – anticipated or unexpected. It will be so unlike the past three years when the winners – Kylie Verzosa, Kevin Lilliana and Mariem Velazco – were almost unanimously predicted by most. With the photo grid I made above, the Top 16 is a veritable mix of a Top 5 that would please a lot of pageant fans and followers and a string of potential surprise contenders who will spoil things for the perceived podium finishers.
Consider my Top 5:
Andrea Toscano 🇲🇽
Maria Alejandra Vengoechea 🇨🇴
Maryia Perviy 🇧🇾
Bea Patricia Magtanong 🇵🇭
Jolene Marie Cholock-Rotinsulu 🇲🇨
The Latinas from Mexico and Colombia, the sole European from Belarus and the wildly-clamored Asians from the Philippines and Indonesia are the ones who will sit well with most if ever they eventually fill in the highest spots.
But check out my next 5:
Evelyn Namatovu 🇺🇬
Melissa Jimenez 🇻🇪
Pawani Yuwanthika Vithanage 🇱🇰
Maria-Andrea Coman 🇷🇴
Ivana Carolina Irrizary Garcia 🇵🇷
A winner from Uganda will definitely be a most welcome – albeit come-from-behind – development for the Japan-based pageant, just as a surprise performance from the Sri Lankan delegate will be initially met with some raised eyebrows. But then again, both ladies are deemed worthy of making their countries proud in the finals.
For now, a back-to-back win for Venezuela is not very likely. Romania and Puerto Rico are still in the thick of the fight.
As for the remaining ladies in my Top 16:
Tamara Dal Maso 🇨🇷
Sireethorn Leeramwat 🇹🇭
Andrea Prchalova 🇨🇿
Tomomi Okada 🇯🇵
Mame Nar Medz Tara Gueye 🇨🇮
Harriotte Lane 🇬🇧
I could see any one among them being favored to place higher, but not strong enough to upend the stronger ladies. I can see the Costa Rican bet as the likeliest to outperform the others. Not by much, though.
So let’s see who will get the nod of the panel of judges tomorrow night.
As for normannorman.com’s choice to win, it will either be the anticipated (Mexico, Belarus or the Philippines) or the unexpected (Uganda or Sri Lanka).