Philippines’ MJ Lastimosa in Top 6 bettors pick to win 63rd Miss Universe crown; Colombia, USA, Venezuela, India, Spain lead poll

Before midnight on Sunday, January 25, 2015 (Monday morning in Manila) the new Miss Universe replacing Gabriela Isler of Venezuela would have been named.

The Miss Universe Pageant is always a big event for bettors, gamblers and oddmakers.

MJ Lastimosa MU swimsuit2Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa

In this 63rd edition of the most prestigious beauty contest, Miss Colombia, Miss USA, Miss Venezuela, Miss India, Miss Spain and Miss Philippines are consistently the top picks to win the coveted Nexus crown among the 88 contestants.

NicerOdds (http://www.nicerodds.co.uk/miss-universe), which claims to have the best offer to placing bets in the current Miss Universe contest held in Doral, Florida as they cover the top betting sites online to guide gamblers, have come up with the top picks with corresponding Highest Odds and Lowest Odds numbers.

MU 2014 Miss Colombia Paulina VegaMiss Colombia Paulina Vega

Miss Colombia leads, followed by Miss USA, then Miss Venezuela, Miss India, Miss Spain and Miss Philippines.

Miss France, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Mexico and Miss Russia make up the rest of the Top 10. MU 2014 Miss USAMiss USA Nia Sanchez

Placing 11th to 20th are delegates from Brazil, St. Lucia, Angola, Australia, Indonesia, Guyana, Ukraine, Haiti, Kosovo and Puerto Rico.

MU 2014 Miss SpainMiss Spain Desiree Cordero Ferrer

After the preliminaries on January 22nd though, where the candidates paraded in their National Costume, Swimsuit and Long Gown, MsUniversePageant Hotspot (http://www.msuniversepageant.org/miss-universe-2014-preliminary-competition-top-15-performers/) came up with the Top 15 performers and ranked #1 is Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa.

MU 2014 Miss India gown1Miss India Noyonita Lodh

“Her performance in the preliminary competition was sublime. It goes to show that she really is more than prepared for the deathmatch. We’re not digging the style of her gown as it didn’t accentuate her figure, but sure did in the swimsuit round! She’s our top bet in swimsuit. Whew! Her body figure is what we are envious of,” says the blurb why the Filipina beauty tops  them all.

MU 2014 Miss ArgentinaMiss Argentina Valentina Ferrer

Ranked #2 is Miss Argentina Valentina Ferrer.

Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell is ranked #3, followed by Miss Mexico Josselyn Garciglia at #4 and Miss Colombia Paulina Vega at #5.

MU 2014 Miss VenezuelaMiss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos

Sixth is Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha, Miss USA Nia Sanchez at #7, Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos at #8, and Miss Guyana Niketa Barker and Miss Russia Yulia Alipova at #9 and #10 respectively.

The rest of the Top 15 are Miss Dominican Republic Kimberly Castillo, Miss Ecuador Alejandra Argudo, Miss Spain Desiree Cordero Ferrer, Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira and Miss Kenya Gaylyne Ayugi.

Choosing Miss Universe 2014 are judges Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, musician Emilio Estefan, model-actor William Levy, NFL great DeSean Jackson, skateboarder and reality TV star Rob Dyrdek, baseball pitcher Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton, fashion journalist Louise Roe, British author and movie and TV personality Lisa Vanderpump, fashion designer-actress Kristin Cavallari and Marie-Claire creative director Nina Garcia.

MU 2014 Miss MexicoMiss Mexico Josselyn Garciglia

Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines 2013 and 3rd Runner-Up Ariella Arida serves as the correspondent for On The Scene, a web series on the Miss Universe YouTube channel, taking fans to behind-the-scenes as the 88 contestants prepare for exclusive events leading up to the big night including Preliminary Competition, National Costume Show and Contestant Rehearsals on the official Miss Universe channel www.youtube.com/missuniverse.

Last year, it was Miss Universe Philippines 2012 and 1st Runner-Up Janine Tugonon who did the task. The previous year it was Miss Universe Philippines 2011 and 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup.

This is also the fifth time that a Filipino, in the person of Manny Pacquiao, sits as judge in the Miss Universe.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo was the first Filipino to sit as judge in the prestigious contest when it was held in Manila in 1974 won by Miss Spain Amparo Munoz.

In 1989, fashion designer Josie Cruz Natori was one of the judges who chose Angela Visser of Holland as Miss Universe in Cancun, Mexico.

Then in 1991, singer Kuh Ledesma sat in the panel in Las Vegas, Nevada that chose Miss Mexico Lupita Jones as the new Miss Universe.

Manny-PacquiaoManny Pacquiao: 5th Filipino Miss Universe judge

In 2011, Broadway star Lea Salonga flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil to judge the contestants with Miss Angola Leila Lopes winning the crown. Lea later said in an interview that she had Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup ranked #2 in her sheet. Shamcey placed 3rd Runner-Up.

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Beauty pageant aficionados lament holding of Miss Universe 2014 in January 2015

For the first time in 63 years, there’s not going to be a Miss Universe Pageant held this year. Instead, it will be held on January 18, 2015 in Doral City, Florida, USA.

Donald Trump with Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela IslerMiss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Miss Universe owner Donald Trump

Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart announced in Moscow, Russia that Miss Universe 2014 was to be held in Brazil.

Apparently the deal with the city of Fortaleza did not pull through.

Other places were considered. One was China, the other was Philippines.

Paula Shugart with Gabriela Isler and BPCI Chair Stella Marquez AranetaMUO president Paula Shugart with Gabriela Isler and BPCI Chair Stella Marquez Araneta in Manila

Ms. Shugart even came to Manila along with Miss Universe 2013 Gabriella Isler and entertainer Emin to choose Miss Universe Philippines 2014, won by Mary Jean Lastimosa.

The holding of Miss Universe 2014 in Manila could have been the third time every 20 years for the Asia-Pacific country that produced two winners – Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973.

MU2014PhilippinesMJLastimosa2Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa

Miss Universe 1974 was held in Manila with Miss Spain Amparo Munoz winning the title. Twenty years later in 1994, Miss Universe was again held in Manila with Miss India Sushmita Sen crowned as successor to Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico.

Filipinos have high hopes in MJ Latimosa even if the pageant was to be held in the country. Same for the 2015-2016 candidate if ever it’s going to be held in Manila.

It’s not unusual for the home country delegate to win the crown as already proven with the wins of six Miss USA (Miriam Stevenson in 1954, Carol Morris in 1956, Linda Bement in 1960, Sylvia Hitchcock in 1967, Brook Lee in 1997 and Olivia Culpo in 2012) and a Miss Puerto Rico (Denise Quinones in 2001) when the pageants were held in their own turfs.

MU2014USANiaSanchez2Miss USA Nia Sanchez

Miss Universe 2013 was held in Moscow on November 9, which means it’s just around the corner if it was to be held within the same period.

As the beauty pageant is a big business with tycoon Donald Trump at the helm, a franchisee would not have enough time to gather funds and contract sponsors to recoup the investment in so short a time.

Considering all aspects, the tourist city of Doral, Florida agreed but apparently asked for more time, that’s why the most spectacular event in the Universe the last 62 years is happening in January instead.

So, will the new Miss Universe the titleholder for the year 2014 or 2015?

MU2014VenezuelaMigbelisCastellanos2Miss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos

Beauty pageant aficionados all over the globe are up in arms against MUO, their tirades aimed at Mr. Trump, but could not do anything but wait and watch in the sidelines until the Big Night when they will be rooting for their favorites.

“How could you do this, Mr. Trump?” one avid follower of Miss Universe expressed his dismay.

?????????????????Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss

Another said that people would think that British-rooted Miss World is now more credible as Miss Universe actually had become Trump Universe when the media-real estate mogul bought the rights and took the reins of the prime beauty pageantry ever known to humankind.

MU2014MexicoJosselynGarciglia2Miss Mexico Josselyn Garciglia

Miss Universe is business. Reportedly, the City of Doral paid USD500K contract signing acceptance, USD1M advance payment in December, and USD1M by February 1, 2015, for a total of USD2.5M. MUO then will work to get sponsors in the next three months and the city government will get its share of 15% from the revenues.

(Click link for full report http://www.msuniversepageant.org/miss-universe-2014-venue-is-in-doral-flconfirmed/)

Nonetheless, the Miss Universe in Doral, Florida is touted as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, as it boasts of more than 90 delegates participating. The average number of competitors the last two decades had been 80.

MU2014ColombiaPaulinaVega2 Miss Colombia Paulina Vega

Mayor Luigi Boria announced on Twitter his city’s agreement with MUO on September 12:

“Great news!#MissUniverse2015 is coming to our great @Cityofdoral @doralfriends @InSouthFlorida @MiraTVMiami”

Around 70 countries have selected their representatives so far and among them are frontrunners Miss Philippines, Miss Venezuela, Miss South Africa, Miss USA, Miss Colombia, Miss Costa Rica and Miss Mexico.

MU2014Indonesia1Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira

Other strong contenders are the delegates from Panama, Peru, Netherlands, Russia, Australia, Angola, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Italy, Ukraine and France.

Manila will be much readier to host Miss Universe in late 2015 or early 2016, especially that the world’s largest indoor arena, the Philippine Arena, has been operational since July this year.

Philippine Arena inside pic1Inside Philippine Arena

The 50,000-seating capacity architectural showcase is owned and operated by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), erected for the centennial celebration of the influential religious organization with roots in this side of the Far East.

Philippine Arena full photo Philippine Arena Inauguration July 21, 2014 missbalita

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Still High on the Coronation of MJ Lastimosa, Miss Philippines Universe 2014…

Move over, pretenders to the throne! The Queen of Philippine Beauty Pageantry Blogging is always around to give us the best insights and plenty of never-seen-before photos–the iconic 1985 Bb. Pilipinas Universe Joyce Ann Burton-Titular!

Adventures of a Beauty Queen

MJ Lastimosa full of joy as she is crowned after her third attempt at winning! Crowning her is last year's MUP Ariella Arida. On the left is reigning Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler MJ Lastimosa full of joy as she is crowned after her third attempt at winning! Crowning her is last year’s MUP Ariella Arida. On the left is reigning Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler

It’s been 6 days since MJ Lastimosa became our newest Miss Philippines Universe as I write, and I’m still feeling the thrill! So here’s a post of my best photos of her taken on the night she was crowned. Enjoy!

MJ Lastimosa has dangerous curves that need warning signs... MJ Lastimosa has dangerous curves that need warning signs…

“Mom, I hope MJ wins!”

About 22 hours before this North Cotabato/Davao beauty was crowned, I was chatting with my daughter Diandra on Skype. Diandra has ALWAYS been a major major fan of MJ. When MJ lost in 2012, my baby girl and I were so upset. Anyway, I was telling my daughter about how gorgeous the girls were this year and she said, “Mom, I hope…

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The First Press Con of the Bb. Pilipinas 2014 Winners!

No one can cover a Binibining Pilipinas event better than a former Binibining Pilipinas Universe (1985) herself, Ms. Joyce Ann Burton-Titular.

Adventures of a Beauty Queen

More gorgeous photos of our newest Bb. Pilipinas queens! All of them taken during their first press conference as beauty queen winners. The press conference was held at the Balay in Cubao today at 3pm. Here’s what I saw at the event…

Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 2nd Runner-up Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 2nd Runner-up

Hannah Ruth Sison was the first to be called out. The 2nd Runner-up of Bb. Pilipinas is a favorite of this blogger and I had her pegged for a crown. But 2nd Runner-up is a great honor and will give her priceless training then she can join again if ever. But if she goes for another round, she’ll have to do it next year since she’s already about to age out at 25. I love this Makati lass for her expressive eyes!

Laura Lahmann, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 1st Runner-up Laura Lahmann, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 1st Runner-up

Stunning in white, Laura Lehmann is the 1st Runner-up in the…

View original post 1,463 more words

Philippines sure to sustain winning streak, maintain powerhouse position with newly-crowned queens

Last year’s feat was amazing for Filipino beauties. The Philippines is, so far, the only country that placed in all major contests worldwide winning three crowns in a single year.

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2014 Binibinis (from left): 2nd Runner-Up Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas Tourism Queen International Parul Shah, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Kris Tiffany Janson, Miss Universe Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa, Bb. Pilipinas International Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Yvethe Marie Santiago and 1st Runner-Up Laura Victoria Lehmann

Mutya Johanna Datul bagged the Miss Supranational crown, the first for the country and for Asia, early in September in Belarus.

Megan Young clinched the Miss World title held in Indonesia, the first for the Philippines in the pageant’s 63-year history, later on the same month.

Ariella Arida placed 3rd Runner-Up in the Miss Universe held in Russia in October, the fourth consecutive year the Philippines landed in Top 5.

Angelee Delos Reyes was in Top 8 in the Miss Earth held in the Philippines in November.

Until the holding of Miss International in Japan in December, the #1 beauty powerhouse position was being contested between the Philippines and Venezuela, as its delegates were proclaimed Miss Universe and Miss Earth.

But with Bea Rose Santiago’s win, clinching the fifth Miss International crown for the Philippines, there’s no doubt that, indeed, Filipinas are collectively the most beautiful and talented women in the whole world.

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2013 Filipina titleholders: Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, Miss World Megan Young, Miss Supranational Mutya Johanna Datul and Miss Tourism International 2013/14 Angeli Dione Gomez

In between the major contests, Annalie Forbes placed 3rd Runner-Up in the first Miss Grand International held in Thailand which was won by Miss Puerto Rico. Koreen Medina placed 3rd Runner-Up in the Miss Intercontinental pageant held in Germany, won by Miss Russia.

Ending 2013 and starting 2014 was the win of Angeli Dione Gomez in the Miss Tourism International contest held in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve. She succeeded Rizzini Alexis Gomez. It was a back-to-back win for the Philippines in the 17-year-old pageant rooted in the neighboring Southeast Asian country.

(See related story in this blog–Beauty powerhouse Philippines ends 2013 with a big bang, starts 2014 with aplomb https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/beauty-powerhouse-philippines-ends-2013-with-a-big-bang-starts-2014-with-aplomb/)

The challenge for the Philippines this year is how to sustain its winning streak. Not only Filipinos had been anxious who’s going to represent the country in various contests, but the focus of beauty aficionados around the globe turned to the country for the holding of Binibining Pilipinas 2014.

Will the Misses Philippines this year be as good as the Misses Philippines last year?

They are, based on the results:

Miss Philippines Universe is Mary Jean Lastimosa (#25). Her third try for a crown finally paid off and it’s the prime title.

Bb. Pilipinas International is Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti (#22).

Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental, making history as the first to wear the crown, as BPCI got the franchise of Miss Intercontinental this year, is Kris Tiffany Janson (#13).

Bb. Pilipinas Supranational is Yvethe Marie Santiago (#35).

Bb. Pilipinas Tourism Queen International is Parul Shah (#4).

Ending up as First Runner-Up and Second Runner-Up respectively are Laura Victoria Lehmann (#11) and Hannah Ruth Sison (#27).

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MJ Lastimosa being crowned by Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-Up Ariella Arida

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that include Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, ABS-CBN executive Cory Vidanes and Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez among others, in a glittering ceremony at the Araneta Coliseum on March 30.

(Watch the crowning moment of the new Filipina queens here: http://youtu.be/uVIIVyca8mQ)

From hundreds of applicants, 40 were chosen as official candidates. Then they were narrowed to Top 15.

Rounding up the semi-finalists circle were Julian Aurine Flores (#1), Joanna Angelica Romero (#3), Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (#8), Emma Mary Tiglao (#14), Zahara Mae Soriano (#16), Mae Liezel Ramos (#19), Kenneth Santiago (#20) and Nichole Marie Manalo (#23).

Special Awardees: Best in National Costume – Kris Tiffany Janson; Best in Talent – Gabrielle Erika Tilokani; Miss Friendship – Racquel Kabigting; Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice – Ladylyn Riva; Miss Avon – Yvethe Marie Santiago; Miss Photogenic – Kris Tiffany Janson; Best in Swimsuit – Mary Jean Lastimosa; Best in Long Gown – Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti; She’s So Jag Award – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach; Miss Philippine Airlines Award – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach; Miss Cream Silk Award – Yvethe Marie Santiago.

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The iconic poster of this year’s Grand Coronation Night

Hosting the affair were Xian Lim and Anne Curtis, anchored by Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner-Up Venus Raj, Miss Universe 2011 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup and Miss Universe 2012 1st Runner-Up Janine Tugonon.

It was Gabriela Isler herself who asked MJ in the Q & A:

“For you, what is the greatest advantage of being a woman?”

Her answer, “The advantage of a woman is being able to compose ourselves, just like here… we’re standing in front of thousands of people, but we try to compose ourselves. Tonight, thousands of people are standing here celebrating the beauty of a woman – and that is the advantage of being a woman.”

Sorely missed in the winners’ circle is Pia Wurtzbach, who was last year’s First Runner-Up. But as MJ showed, there’s always a third chance. Next year, Pia might be Miss Universe Philippines or Bb. Pilipinas International or any of the three other crowns.

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The Gold Queens (50th year of BBP) from left: Pia Wurtzbach, Cindy Miranda, Ariella Arida, Bea Santiago and Mutya Datul

As former Bb. Pilipinas Universe and blogger (Adventures of a Beauty Queen http://adventuresofabeautyqueen.com/) Joyce Burton-Titular said:

“Remember, that a pageant will NEVER define who you are, unless you allow it to. So if you lose, do not call yourself a loser. You are not! At the same time, losing SHOULD make you feel bad, it SHOULD make you go down on your knees and cry. And yet like a good soldier, learn how to carry your battle scars with pride!

“And please, don’t deny yourself a time to mourn. Mourning is part of the healing process. But get back up and find the path that God has set out for you. Whether it be to join again or to move on to something new. Just move!”

Good luck, ladies, continue carrying the banner for the Philippines and womanhood!