Looks like we already have a winner!
Miss Earth is one pageant where accusations of favoritism and deliberate snubbing of girls who are threats to the favorites never cease to disappear. Every year, there are rumors of girls who receive unfair advantage because of their strong sash, while those who are of less importance are being ignored. But just like any other rumor, these things remain as such until proven to be true.
This year, though, is no different than the other years. It seems that only three girls are competing for the crown – the dynamic trio of Brazil, Venezuela and host country, the Philippines. In the BIG4 Ranking of Miss Earth, these three countries also compose the Top 3, but in reverse order, with the Philippines grabbing the lead from Brazil when the latter failed to enter the Top 16 in 2013.
Interestingly, these dynamic trio were present in the Top 4 in three out of five occasions since 2009. Brazil, Philippines and Venezuela swept a 1-2-3 finish in 2009, in Boracay Island. A year after, none of the three countries placed in the Top 4 when the pageant was held in Vietnam, the first and only time that the pageant was held off the shores of the Philippines. However, in 2011, Brazil, Philippines and Venezuela took the three elemental crowns, while Ecuador won the top title. A year later, in 2012, Czech Republic won the top crown, while the Philippines, Venezuela and Brazil, once again, claimed the three elemental crowns, but in different order.
Last year, just when everyone thought that the three would once again triumph in Versailles (the one in the Philippines), the delegates from Brazil and the Philippines did not reach the Top 4. As a result, Venezuela easily took their second Miss Earth title.
One would wonder if Miss Earth is just revolving around these three countries, while at the same time, trying to balance the presence of other countries in the Top 16, in order to make an impression of being accommodating to different nationalities. Remember, it was only in 2002, the second edition of Miss Earth, and in 2010 when the pageant went out of the Philippines, that none of these three countries was present in the Top 4.
One outspoken European contender this year even mentioned in her social media account that Miss Earth is like a “Mental Hospital” where the organizers play with minds. They were very strategic, she claimed, about how they group their girls where the favorites are evenly distributed and not in direct competition with each other. In return, it gave them a balance that will most likely aid the desired final result.
This year, the favor towards the dynamic trio could not be even more obvious. Medal events are leaning to their favor, while new countries are occasionally being inserted in order not to skew the medal standing. As of press time, Leticia Silva of Brazil already earned two gold medals, the same as the Philippine bet Jamie Herrell who also took several sub-awards from corporate sponsors. Venezuela’s Maria Alexandra Rodríguez already accumulated a couple of silver medals and one special award.
It is being said repeatedly that these medal events won’t reflect the actual result, such as in the case of Ilknur Melis Durasi of Turkey in 2012 who amassed a total of six medals – three of them were gold – but ended up as a non-placer. In 2013, Sobhita Dhulipala of India got two gold medals as Miss Photogenic and Miss Eco Beauty, two very important awards of the competition, but was shockingly unplaced during the finals. However, these countries do not belong in the dynamic trio of Brazil, Philippines and Venezuela, so they cannot be used as standards.
In the history of Miss Earth, Brazil is the only country that has rolled their way to the Top 4 after making the first cut. It has never happened that the country only ended up in the Top 8 or Top 16. For Brazil, it is either Top 4 or “clap”. Venezuela has never failed to miss the Top 8 since 2005, when Alexandra Braun won their first Miss Earth title. It boasts of an unbroken 9-year streak in the Top 8, seven of which brought them straight to the Top 4. The Philippines, being the home of the Miss Earth Organization, only missed the semifinals twice, and almost accomplished a back-to-back win in 2008 and 2009.
On November 29th, a new Miss Earth will be crowned. Medal events are being held group per group, and we expect to see the same girls being awarded with the medals in events that require subjective judging, such as swimsuit, resort wear and national costume. We should not be surprised, as well, if we see another victory or elemental crown from one or all of the dynamic trio of Miss Earth. Whether they deserve it or not is a matter of preference.
There are more than 80 beauties from around the world who came to the Philippines, believing that they arrived on equal footing with the other girls. They also deserve to be recognized fairly, not for consolation prize’s sake but through a more reliable and believable judging process.