If we look things from a political standpoint, there should be a USA vs Philippines rivalry in the upcoming Miss Universe 2014 pageant. The Philippines had a four year unbroken streak at the Top 5 of Miss Universe pageant and thus logic has it that 2014 could be the glorious year of the Philippines. Backed by a massive, social media-savvy fan base, a hyper-interested local press and that enduring possibility that the country will host the pageant for the third time, Philippines is politically poised to have the Miss Universe crown this year.
The MUO President Paula Shugart descended to Manila earlier this year with the reigning Miss Universe in tow. This attendance has perhaps no precedent in the history of the Philippine national pageant – the Bb. Pilipinas. Could it be that the Philippines is already being zoomed in by MUO or is the Philippines making some moves to tilt the looming competition in their favor? Either way, there is no denying that the Philippines is gaining a lot of momentum at the pageant.
But the United States is not to be outdone. Let’s take away from the equation that the pageant is American but still the current Miss USA Nia Sanchez has many cards in her sleeves. She represents a state that has played host to Miss Universe in those years that nobody else was interested. Nia was also honed and trained by Shanna Moakler – Miss USA 1995 (took over after Chelsi Smith won Miss Universe) – who yields a powerful voice within the Miss USA and Miss Universe circle. Nia is also part Hispanic and her victory has a powerful meaning in the United States. She could serve a bridge between the American majority to its Latino community. If Nia will win the Miss Universe crown, her victory would bring joy that cuts across racial barriers and MUO will surely be keen to exploit this.
Straying from political viewpoint, both Nia and Mary Jean are strong contestants. Their physical beauty is undeniable, their confidence is evident. Should either one of them will win the crown it will make a lot of people happy. Interestingly, this US vs. Philippines rivalry is not new. In 1973, Miss Philippines Margarita Moran was the press favorite and was even voted Miss Photogenic. But Miss USA Amanda Jones was one of the crowd favorites and a strong contender for the crown. Their rivalry was obvious and there was little shock when they were the last two standing candidates.
The rivalry was once again resurrected in 2012 with Janine Tugonon and Olivia Culpo. It was easy to see that the two of them are the favorites as they are both chosen in several press engagements and activities. At one time, only Janine and Olivia were chosen to be interviewed in a national TV program with regards to their charity works.
Will we see the same trend at Miss Universe 2014? Is it justifiable to pitch one against the other considering that USA is ranked number one at the Big4 pageant while Philippines ranked as 6th? Is the “rivalry” a mere figment of imagination since USA is always on the semis while the Philippines in most cases struggling? Or the political aspects as mentioned above has changed the dynamics of the Miss Universe contest?
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