The 88 members of Miss Universe Class of 2014-15 pose with Donald Trump (in cap, blue blazer and white pants).
In hindsight, this could be one of the easier editions of Miss Universe to predict. The favorites are so obvious. The Preliminary Competition helped to make them shine even more. And the countdown to the Top 15 from a big group of Eighty-eight (88) wide-eyed wonders shouldn’t be as tough as I had initially thought it would be.
But no, that’s just the reckless side of my brain working in maximum overdrive. In making fearless forecasts, there is no such thing as hitting 100% accuracy, let alone a second-guessed line-up that would score 14 out of 15 at best.
Be that as it may, I now present to you my final picks to be called on Sunday night’s finals and leave seventy-three (73) clappers in the dusty background.
Don’t mind the golf balls. They’re there just so that I can keep up with the Doral theme.
The fifteen (15) ladies I am predicting for the first cut come finals night. Top 10 would be the ones numbered #1-#10
Following the conclusion of the Preliminary Competition, some re-shuffling is in order to give way to ladies who outperformed the others and to downgrade those who are initially seeded to stamp their superiority but fell short of expectations.
The most consistent ones among the favorites are Miss Colombia Paulina Vega and Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa. They did not allow the pressure to get into their performance, unlike Miss Spain Desireé Ferrer and Miss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos who were just alright in comparison. This development certainly allowed Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell to shoot up in my own rankings, alongside Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha. Miss USA Nia Sanchez remains middling, but at least she did not slide down in overall assessment. But breathing down her neck could be Miss Argentina Valentina Ferrer who is fast-tracking herself the true pageant way.
Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos and Miss Serbia Andjelka Tomasevic are also solid spoilers who could tilt things in their favor. But for now, I still see them as safe Top 15 entries with a good shot at the Top 10. The rest of my Top 15 could be a bunch of wildcards where one or two just might deliver well on finals night. The most glaring part here, however, is Migbelis falling down several notches from the top tier to the third rung. She has a beautiful face and all, but sadly, will never hold a candle to Gabriela Isler. A back-to-back is clearly out of the question.
My Top 5 (from left to right): Miss Philippines MJ Lastimosa, Miss Colombia Paulina Vega, Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell, Miss Spain Desiree Ferrer and Miss USA Nia Sanchez
And so, we have here the five (5) delegates I am feeling so much love for that I have decided to make them Top 5. Miss USA Nia Sanchez almost didn’t make the magic circle for me, owing to a bull-headed performer from Ukraine who threatened to grab one golden place in the quintet. In the end, I gave the slight edge to the host delegate who will most likely be given higher scores by the judges.
Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa and Miss Colombia Paulina continue to lead the pack, but it is Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell who could be the thorn in either ladies’ path. The final Q&A is the one last hurdle to complete. Given that scenario and how I would expect these five beauties to answer the question, I am assigning my #1 to #5 places to:
MJ is the ONE for me…the 63rd Miss Universe and the 3rd Filipina Miss Universe
I am not dreaming. I can definitely see the Philippines winning a 3rd Miss Universe crown via Mary Jean Lastimosa. While others will counter that there are more crown-worthy victors, there is this element of boldness and maturity that embodies her personality. In my opinion, she is the one who has shown the most determination to win the whole thing. While Miss Colombia is very likely to get just as close to the crown as her, gut-feel tells me that Miss Jamaica will do a Yendi Phillips and finish next to our bet. Nia and Desireé will rank 4th and 5th in my endgame.
As I’ve always said in the past, predictions will never be absolute. In fact, I could still be overlooking one or two this late in the competition. But decisions need to made, and with finality. I can always healthily move on from defeat in my guesses and gracefully take all the potshots if proven to be sorely misguided in my views. One thing is for sure, though. I will never relinquish my support for Miss Philippines if the feeling is right and nobody – outside of the traditional judging & nothing – outside of acceptable lobbying – will get in the way. 🙂