63rd Miss Universe: The NatCos Hate and the Preliminary Favorites

6:13 AM

After the most- watched preliminary show of the Miss Universe, the favorites of beauty pageant sites have changed. Our own list is included. There were a lot of expectations for some early front-runners who disappointed us during the preliminaries while there were emerging beauties. 

Our very own bet, Miss Philippines MJ Lastimosa's evening gown received a lukewarm reception from her fans but she was stunning as expected in her swimsuit. It can't be denied, however, that her National Costume is a total disaster. Forget about looking for meanings, the costume's portraying of the Filipino culture, and how MJ tried to salvage her opening look. Let's face it, that national costume was a huge setback to MJ's really bright chances of winning the third Miss Universe crown. 

Madame Stella's reaction in an interview by Dyan Castellejo for TV Patrol where she said that no one is good enough from the Filipino fashion designers who wished to work with her girls is the most hated statement by a known personality for this year, so far. If that design by her dear friend Alfredo Barraza is good for her and the works of Michael Cinco and Cary Santiago among others are not, I am not sure what her standards are. To leave this topic behind, I'd say a Filipino traditional costume is best made by a Filipino designer for a Filipina contestant. Period. 

Moving on. We ranked our favorite 10 girls here a week ago which was based on their first few activities in Doral (See rankings here - Miss Universe 2014 Top 10). But as mentioned, the preliminaries changed our standings. Let's see who amongst Australia, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, USA and Venezuela maintained their positions as favorites.

If we arranged our previous choices in alphabetical order, let's bravely rank them from choice number 10 to number 1 this time. I also have bonus information on each country's Miss Universe track record. Just a refresher, I thought. Not that you need one. :) 

Photos are from www.missuniverse.com.

10th - Ziphozakhe Zokufa
South Africa
Miss Universe Rank: 18th l 1 winner, 4 runners-up, 15 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Margaret Gardiner, Miss Universe 1978
Latest Placer:  Melinda Bam, Top 10 in 2012

9th - Kimberly Castillo
Dominican Republic 
Miss Universe Rank: 17th l 1 winner, 3 runners-up, 4 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003
Latest Placer: Yaritza Reyes, Top 10 in 2013

8th - Valentina Ferrer
Miss Universe Rank: 24th l 1 winner, 2 runners-up, 11 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Norma Nolan, Miss Universe 1962
Latest Placer: Magali Romitelli, Top 20 in 2006

7th - Desire' Cordero
Miss Universe Rank: 16th l 1 winner, 7 runners-up, 8 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Amparo Munoz, Miss Universe 1974
Latest Placer: Patricia Rodriguez, First Runner-up in 2013

6th - Josselyn Garciglia
Miss Universe Rank: 12th l 2 winners, 5 runners-up, 10 semi-finalists
Highest Placers: Lupita Jones, Miss Universe 1991 and Ximena Navarrete, Miss Universe 2010
Latest Placer: Laura Karina Gonzales, Top 10 in 2012

5th - Migbelis Castellanos
Miss Universe Rank: 2nd l 7 winners, 18 runners-up, 14 semi-finalists
Highest Placers: Maritza Sayanero (Miss Universe 1979), Irene Saez (Miss Universe 1981), Barbara Palacios (Miss Universe 1986), Alicia Machado (Miss Universe 1996), Dayana Mendoza (Miss Universe 2008), Stefania Fernandez (Miss Universe 2009), Maria Gabriela Isler (Miss Universe 2013) 
Latest Placer: Maria Gabriella Isler, reigning Miss Universe

4th - Nia Sanchez
Miss Universe Rank: 1st l 8 winners, 20 runners-up, 29 semi-finalists
Highest Placers: Miriam Stevenson (Miss Universe 1954), Carol Morris (Miss Universe 1956), Linda Bement (Miss Universe 1960), Sylvia Hitchcock (Miss Universe 1967), Shawn Weatherly (Miss Universe 1980), Chelsi Smith (Miss Universe 1995), Brooke Lee (Miss Universe 1997), Olivia Culpo (Miss Universe 2012)
Latest Placer: Erin Brady, Top 10 in 2013

3rd - Kaci Fennell
Miss Universe Rank: 42nd l 0 winner, 1 runner-up, 4 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Yendi Phillips, First Runner-up in 2010
Latest Placer: Yendi Phillips, First Runner-up in 2010

2nd - Mary Jean Lastimosa
Miss Universe Rank: 7th l 2 winners, 9 runners-up, 7 semi-finalists
Highest Placers: Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969 and Margarita Moran, Miss Universe 1974
Latest Placer: Ariella Arida, Third Runner-up in 2013

1st - Paulina Vega
Miss Universe Rank: 15th l 1 winner, 11 runners-up, 18 semi-finalists
Highest Placer: Luz Marina Zuluaga, Miss Universe 1958
Latest Placer: Catalina Robayo, Top 16 in 2011

This is just based on the preliminaries and our estimated probability of winning. But of course, we'd love to see MJ Lastimosa take home the third crown for the Philippines. Show your support on Twitter with the hash tag #MJAllTheWay. :)

POSTSCRIPT: We came short this year but I think we all agree that MJ Lastimosa made us proud. Thanks Best Western Plus Antel Hotel for providing me and other bloggers a great venue for our Miss Universe viewing party! I'd always thought that it will be hard to find relaxation in the middle of the busy Makati district but after visiting your hotel, the so-called Makati frenzy is so overrated. One can get a good night sleep in between busy days in Makati! Visit their website: www.antelhotel.com. :) 

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