Graphics by Krizza Enriquez [@kxxenriquez]

Text by R. Galvez [@the4ofustraveling]

The Miss Universe 2023 preliminaries has provided some pretty good insights on what to expect come finals night. We’ve seen very strong candidates falter at the crucial moment and we’ve seen some of the candidates who shone like a diamond. Personally, Thailand could have its third crown this year and I’m pretty impressed with Miss Pakistan Erica Robin during the prelims.

However, the last year’s edition of the pageant should serve as a cautionary tale for pageant analysts and experts. Miss Universe will still be unpredictable since much of what we need to know is kept hidden in the public eye. The one-on-one, closed-door interview with the judges matter a lot and we can only imagine on what has transpired. But well, as our tradition dictates, we will still attempt to predict the unpredicatble.

Based on what our beauty experts have seen so far, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios is the most polished, elegant and experienced candidate. She walked like a queen on the runway with a perfect combination of élan and fierceness. The biggest question mark however is how she fared during closed door interview or if her advocacy won the nod of the judges. Nevertheless, there’s an insider tip that Latin American candidates will dominate this year and leading the pack is no doubt, Miss Nicaragua.

In the second place is Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild. She’s Miss Supranational 2019 and there’s been some questions as why would she pursue another Big5 crown. Did her previous title failed to deliver the prestige and opportunity that she deserves? Anyway, she is known as a great communicator so there is no doubt she aced her interviews. She has also an enigmatic beauty and has a captivating persona. However, her prelims performance is lackluster. She came off as heavy and tired which is why she did not top in our final Hot Picks.

In the third place is Miss Philippines Michelle Dee. Initially, her styling and personality came off as dry and pale. During the prelims however, she proved her critics wrong by displaying sheer elegance and sophistication. She also has a very strong advocacy and she is intelligent. If she wins the crown, that will be hardly surprisingly.

Miss Puerto Rico Karla Guilfú, on the other hand, is a divisive figure. At least half of the panel of beauty experts believe she is a Top 5 material while the other half thinks she failed to deliver her very best during the prelims. But given that Puerto Rico has already 5 crowns and the Latinas are expected to dominate, it is only fitting that Karla will have a place in the Top 5.

Miss South Africa Bryoni Govender is a consistent topnotcher and she’s the very definition of grace under pressure. She hardly blinked in the face of very strong competition. She’s alluring and witty as well. Her overall performance is indeed worthy of a Top 5 finish.

At the sixth place is Miss Venezuela Diana Silva. She had a solid prelims performance worthy of Top 5 actually. She is the embodiment of the statement that Venezuela is Venezuela. Miss Colombia Camila Avella also came out strongly. Her queenly aura and clean moves onstage had the beauty experts and fans swooning over her.

Surprisingly, Miss Ireland Aishah Akorede made it to the Top 10 of this list. She’s been out of the radar and was a dark horse since the pageant began. Her performance however was top notch and she was immediately noticed by the pageant experts.

Miss Mexico Melissa Flores further fell down from the top position at the 3rd Hot Picks and now to the 9th place. She is still a strong candidate but she was eclipsed by others who did shine at the prelims.

Rounding up the Top 10 is Miss Brazil Maria Brechane. She was also on the sidelines on the previous Hot Picks but she came out strongly lately. Her superb performance is just in time as the pageant comes to a conclusion.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Nicaragua – Sheynnis Palacios

2. Thailand – Anntonia Porsild

3. Philippines – Michelle Dee

4. Puerto Rico – Karla Guilfú

5. South Africa – Bryoni Govender

6. Venezuela – Diana Silva

7. Colombia – Camila Avella

8. Ireland – Aishah Akorede

9. Mexico – Melissa Flores

10. Brazil – Maria Brechane

11. Honduras – Zuheilyn Clemente

12. India – Shweta Sharda

13. Dominican Republic – Mariana Downing

14. USA – Noelia Voigt

15. El Salvador – Isabella Garcia-Manzo

16. Australia – Moraya Wilson

17. Panama – Natasha Vargas

18. Curacao – Kim Rossen

19. Costa Rica – Lisbeth Valverde

20. France – Diane Leyre

Dark Horse

21. Angola – Ana Coimbra

22. Ecuador – Delary Stoffers

23. Canada – Madison Kvaltin

24. Cameroon – Issie Princesse

25. Mauritius – Tatiana Beauharnais


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