I double-checked more than once the Preliminary Competition of Miss Universe 2019. And from my previous list of Pre-Preliminaries Top 20, I removed one Latina and one European from the list – Panama and Spain – and replaced them with another pair of Latina and European to complete my Top 20 – Peru and Ireland. This is the part where they will give their short opening statements (OS) for the judges:
In alphabetical order of country names:
Now since the next cut will effectively divide the group into half, this is where the judges are likely to bring in the ladies they already took a shine on from the time the assessments started with a dash of one or two who cannot be ignored in the OS. Hence, I will include USA and Indonesia in my Top 10.
In my order of preference now:
The Top 10 will go through the Swimsuit and Evening Gown Competitions. And if the basis will be the Preliminaries, this is where Miss Thailand Paweensuda Drouin might be nosed out by another ASEAN delegate – Hoang Thuy of Vietnam – who I feel will deliver more strongly in both mentioned segments. Hence, my Top 5 in this order are:
Question and Answer will follow the announcement of the Top 5. And even if criticisms are overflowing that Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados is likely to fail in impressing the panel with her answer, I’d like to believe that she will deliver in this regard. Maybe not exceedingly well as per the standards of many, but still enough to move forward. By this time, she has earned enough positive points to convince the all-female judges that she deserves a spot in the Final 3.
My Miss Universe 2019 Final 3 are:
Gabriela Tafur of Colombia
Gazini Ganados of the Philippines
Vartika Singh of India
Interestingly enough, the trio represents different strengths that would hold them up in their respective bids.
Colombia can possibly benefit from having her fellow Latinas in the panel – Paulina Vega and Gaby Espino – who may (or may not) push for Gabriela to win the title.
The Philippines will be going for a rare back-to-back win that should propel the Miss Universe brand to greater heights in terms of marketability, popularity and newsworthiness.
India will be served well in giving the South Asian nation a much-awaited comeback in terms of superiority in international pageantry. It has not had an “extra meaningful” placement (read: Top 5 or better) in the annual pageant for the past seventeen (17) years. Celina Jaitley was the last Indian in the Top 5, and that was back in 2001.
Now, for the Final Question, it can be anybody’s game as to who will seal the deal or otherwise.
My Final Verdict?
Who doesn’t want a back-to-back win? Regardless of what the naysayers will voice out, I will always want the Philippines to duplicate what Venezuela achieved back in 2008/2009. But if Gazini is not fated to be the next, then I would be happy that she made it this far and even a 2nd Runner-Up placement would sound great since we have not yet scored this ranking ever since Miss Universe started in the 1950s. Overall (and outside the Prelims), nonetheless, she has done very well in aspects that we cannot categorize in any of the scored segments – factors that will sit well with the MUO on any given Sunday – business-wise, that is. After all, the inner workings of international pageantry has significantly evolved ever since. And Miss Universe is no exception.
Now if either Colombia or India would spoil things for the Philippines, I will not feel disheartened. I have been so pageantry-involved more than 3/4 of my life now that I can accept any result with an open mind and heart.
In ending, I am rooting for a back-to-back win!