Friday, December 21, 2012

My sincerest apologies for the late post. I've just set my foot here in UAE's capital and have been busy like a one-armed paper hanger during my first few days of work that I never had the opportunity to follow the most prestigious beauty quest in the universe.

The newest set of winners have already been announced and it was heartwarming to know that my fellow 'kababayan', Janine Tugonon of the Philippines almost clinched the Diamond Nexus crown from the hometown girl, Olivia Culpo. For three consecutive years, Philippines made it to the top 5 finalists and this time around, Janine (as expected) answered the final question with aplomb. Her answer was simply convincing and definitely a cut above the rest. We thought that with her impressive performance she could be the third Filipina to win Miss Universe, but the moment was not just meant for her and ain't yet fully ripe for the Philippines. Janine's first runner-up finish was still an incredible feat though, notwithstanding the goddesses of the competition whom she had managed to topple with and continuing the Philippines' back-to-back-to-back streak in the most elite final five for three consecutive years were just extra-ordinary! Janine was the only Asian delegate this year to have penetrated the top 10 finalists.

Video Courtesy: KotyaKotya77

Facially-wise, Janine doesn't have the perfect features but the moment she stood side by side with the world's prettiest her oriental beauty simply shined through. She was heavily bashed back then when she earned the rights to represent the country, claiming that she didn't have the goods to deliver, but she silenced all her detractors with her amazing transformation and superb determination. 

Final Five: L-R - Brazil (4th Runner-Up), USA (Winner), Australia (3rd Runner-Up), Philippines (First Runner-Up), and Venezuela (2nd Runner-Up).

The final 16 were announced and I felt quite sad for the exclusion of Malaysia. I thought this could be the time when Kim could avenge Deborah's none-placement last year, after all she's every inch a universal beauty like her predecessor and undeniably a stronger contender from Asia, next to the exotic Miss Philippines. But it seemed that the decades of drought for this country would be endless. 
Irene Esser of Venezuela was the first to be called as a semifinalist, followed by Turkey-Cagil Ozkul, France-Marie Payet, Peru-Nicole Faveron, Russia-Elizabetha Golovanova, Mixeco-Karina Gonzalez, Poland-Marcelina Zawadzka, Hungary-Agnes Konkoly, South Africa-Melinda Bam, Philippines-Janine Tugonon, Croatia-Elizabeta Burg, Brazil-Gabriela Markus, Kosovo-Diana Avdiu, Australia-Renae Ayris, India-Shilpa Singh, and the homecountry USA-Oliva Culpo.

Top 10 were as follows: Australia-Renae Ayris, Russia-Elizabetha Golovanova, Brazil-Gabriela Markus, France-Anne Payet, Venezuela-Irene Esser, USA-Olivia Culpo, Hungary-Agnes Konkoly, South Africa-Melina Bam, Mexico-Karina Gonzalez and the whole crowd went wild with exuberant cheers when Philippines-Janine Tugonon was called. Of course expect a countless throng of supporters from the pageant-crazy nation of 7,107 islands. 

Special Awardees of the Night went to, L-R: Miss Congeniality, Guatemala-Laura Godoy, Miss Photogenic: Kosovo-Diana Avdiu, and Best in National Costume was awarded to China-Ji Dan Xu.


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