As most of the world knows, tonight will be finals of Miss Universe, the somewhat-annual beauty pageant/exercise in banality/secret passion of mine, brought to you by Donald “Can He Even Put All These Countries on a World Map?” Trump and hosted by Thomas “Last Year’s Model” Roberts and Natalie “Catering to the Telemundo Market” Morales, with musical guest Nick “Mr. Olivia Culpo” Jonas, Prince “I Will Sing In Spanish and I May or May Not Be Royalty” Royce, and Gavin “I’m Still Relevant” McGraw, live from Doral “We’re Not A Regular Miami Suburb, We’re a Cool Miami Suburb”, Florida, USA. And after that much-too-long sentence, let me clarify: yes, it is outdated, but it’s not harming anyone; and the banality I’m referring to is the ratings-grabbing, not-too-meaningful swimsuit competition, a segment that Miss Universe’s red-headed stepsister pageant Miss World decided was no longer necessary starting this year (I mean, seriously, it’s three hours, would it kill them to put in a talent competition?)
Last year, I made a fake awards ceremony, but this year, since a) I don’t care as much and b) I’m on the couch in a t-shirt and workout pants and it’s 4:38 PM here in Wisconsin (granted, it’s a Sunday), here are my picks for the top sixteen. I will probably only get maybe one or two of these predictions correct, but it will be kind of fun to see if my magical powers of prediction work.
I have broken them down into three categories.
The first five: They’ll Get A Placement Even If They Decide to Stay in their Hotel Rooms and Watch Netflix.
1. USA (Nia Sanchez): Host country + it’s Miss Universe. No one will be surprised.
2. Venezuela (Migbelis Castellanos): She’s actually quite pretty and could be another back-to-back, but honestly, I think everyone’s tired of Venezuela always winning, especially in 3 out of the last 5 years. But she’s Miss Venezuela; she could be an alien who breathes fire and she’d still be called.
3. Philippines (Mary Jean Lastimosa): Because after Christianity, Miss Universe is the second-largest religion in the Philippines and 2/3 of the viewing audience would shut off their televisions if she got shut out. Plus, Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao is a judge this year.
4. Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova): The brand new Miss Universe crown is designed by a Czech firm, so it’s almost a given that they’ll get a hat tip.
5. Puerto Rico (Gabriela Berrios): PR is quite close to Florida, geographically, so I’m sure that tons of Puerto Ricans will be in the audience and will leave if Gabriela remains on the stage after all have been called.
The next five: Girls Who Are Kinda Pretty, Come From a Populous Country, and Will Probably Not Get into the Top Ten.
6. Colombia (Paulina Vega): She’s apparently been getting a lot of attention, and apparently is a front runner, although I don’t see it.
7. Spain (Desiree Cordero): Miss Spain will fill the European quota, plus she’s actually quite good-looking.
8. India (Noyonita Lodh): Also comes from a country of rabid pageant fans, plus fills the South Asia quota.
9. South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa): Will fill the Africa quota. Also, has an awesome name that I can’t wait to see everyone attempt to pronounce.
10. Thailand (Pimbongkod Chankaew): Also from a rabid-fan country (see above, Miss India) and has another awesome, unpronounceable name (see above, Miss South Africa). Probably will win the fan vote.
The final six (I get an extra one for myself because I do what I want): Girls/Countries Who I’d Like To See Place but Will Probably Not.
11. Jamaica (Kaci Fennell): Stands somewhat of a chance with a very unique, fashion-model look, and seems like a smart gal.
12. Gabon (Maggaly Nguema): Competed in several pageants already, including Miss World 2014, where she got noticed. Also, very pretty.
13. Germany (Josefin Donat): I’m liking her Jennifer Paige hairstyle. She seems like a rebel, the type of person who would take every opportunity to backhandedly stick it to Trump, so thumbs up for that.
14. Nigeria (Queen Celestine): Not a chance, but I watched this 15-second clip of her singing “Cups” on YouTube with Misses Turkey and South Africa and she has a great voice. I’d buy her album.
15. Ghana (Abena Appiah): No real reason other than her hair, which is gigantic. I bet it’s full of secrets. Either that, or snacks.
16. Israel (Doron Matalon): Mostly just because she’s Miss Israel. She has also managed to get the Trump some serious media attention this year with the Miss Lebanon selfie scandal, so that might earn her some points. Then again, last year’s Miss Israel hung out with Obama before the pageant and that got her nothing, so you never know.
Okay, now to get off the couch and actually do something with my life. Kindly leave your comments of who you think will win below, or, like most of the rest of the world, read about it tomorrow on Wikipedia.