THE RESULTS (Nov. 10, 2013)

Venezuela reigns triumphant once again for the 7th time in history and proved to the world this pageant powerhouse remains on top of the pageant game and in control. Long-legged and well-spoken Gabriela Isler takes the coveted Miss Universe crown this year. So how did I do with my predictions? Well, I correctly predicted 10 of the 16 semifinalists and got 2 honorable mentions (India and Nicaragua). The 4 ladies that missed my list were: Ecuador, China, Costa Rica, and Indonesia (all of whom were mentioned in the next tier below my honorable mentions). 3 of these 4 were eliminated in the first round but Ecuador got all the way up to 2nd runner up which surprised me because we all know Ecuador was my winner last year and when she didn't place, that made me think that Ecuador wouldn't get noticed this year but she was noticed in a big way! Philippines won the Internet vote and Nicaragua won the Best in National Costume award. My full commentary on Miss Universe 2013 will be posted on November 18.



Winner=Venezuela-Maria Gabriela Isler

Winner=Ukraine-Olga Storozhenko*

1st Runner Up=Spain-Patricia Rodriguez

1st Runner Up=Great Britain-Amy Willerton*

2nd Runner Up=Ecuador-Constanza Baez

2nd Runner Up=Israel-Yityish (Titi) Aynaw

3rd Runner Up=Philippines-Ariella Arida

3rd Runner Up=Dominican Republic-Yaritza Reyes*

4th Runner Up=Brazil-Jakelyne Oliveira

4th Runner Up=Venezuela-Maria Gabriela Isler*



6. USA-Erin Brady

Puerto Rico-Monic Perez*

7. Ukraine-Olga Storozhenko

Italy-Luna Voce

8. Great Britain-Amy Willerton

Brazil-Jakelyne Oliveira*

9. Dominican Republic-Yaritza Reyes

Spain-Patricia Rodriguez*

10. India-Manasi Moghe

Philippines-Ariella Arida*



11. Costa Rica-Fabiana Granados

Switzerland-Dominique Rinderknecht*

12. Puerto Rico-Monic Perez

France-Hinarani de Longeaux

13. Indonesia-Whulandary Herman

Colombia-Lucia Aldana

14. Switzerland-Dominique Rinderknecht

Australia-Olivia Wells

15. China-Jin Ye

USA-Erin Brady*

16. Nicaragua-Nastassja Bolivar

Azerbaijan-Aysel Manafova


ALTERNATES:Russia, Jamaica, South Africa, Turkey, Czech Republic


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Peru, Poland, India*, Nicaragua*, Canada


* = made actual top 16

THE PREDICTIONS (Nov. 7, 2013)

Oh, the possibilities! Of course, there are a lot of delegates this year that could make it for one reason or another so after careful consideration and reviewing each delegate in the preliminaries and online videos coupled with some background knowledge, I now reveal to you all my highly anticipated final predictions for Miss Universe 2013.


Winner=Ukraine-Olga Storozhenko

I think Ukraine has been inching up to this moment and it could very well be time for the rich agricultural breadbasket of Europe. Olga is the strongest overall candidate to me and that stunning face and body with her stellar gown presentation and sweet demeanor caused her to top my list this year. I think a win by Ukraine would also be appropriate in the host country of Russia as both countries were once part of the Soviet Union so all the pieces fit. Olga is it!

1st Runner Up=Great Britain-Amy Willerton

Ukraine and the U.K. as my top two?? Makes sense, doesn't it?? Amy won the British reality competition 'Signed by Katie Price' and has certainly shown many of us that she is poised and ready to compete on the international stage and is easily the best Britannia has sent to Miss Universe is many years. She struggled a bit with her gown in the preliminaries but then so did Angola's Leila Lopes who we all know went on to win Miss Universe 2011. Amy is just outstanding and fabulous and in this year (the birth year of Prince George), I hope Amy puts Great Britain back on the pageant map in a big way.

2nd Runner Up=Israel-Yityish (Titi) Aynaw

As you all may have deduced from my previous prethoughts, I adore Yityish! As the first black Miss Israel, she has made international headlines and this girl is so fierce and confident and commands the stage. While I do think something is going to keep her from the win, I think she will be a most worthy and welcome semifinalist.

3rd Runner Up=Dominican Republic-Yaritza Reyes

The land where your heart flames to the rhythms of merengue sends us this spectacular diva! Yaritza is talented and just an all-around sensational beauty. Although, she had a noted fall last week during a swimsuit fashion show, Yaritza Reyes recovered triumphantly and this girl will not be stopped with that fabulous hair and great body. Will Yaritza pull a Miriam Quiambao and work that fall all the way to the top 5?

4th Runner Up=Venezuela-Maria Gabriela Isler

Venezuela normally belongs in the top 5 so I'm giving my last spot in the top 5 to Gabriela as she continues the tradition of Venezuelans giving impressive performances in the pageant world. Osmel Sousa and the Venezuelan team transformed Gabriela into an instant contender. Gabriela also struggled a bit with her gown as it looks quite heavy but she recovered and looked spectacular. Her body is also divine with those long legs and she knows how to work it.


Puerto Rico-Monic Perez

Puerto Rico once again gives an impressive performance. With her great body and eye-catching gown, Monic looks poised to pull Puerto Rico back to the semifinals after missing the cut last year. She is impressive in every aspect and is fully expected to pull off a strong placement for the shining star of the Caribbean.

Italy-Luna Voce

Luna is just stellar with those honey eyes and her sweet smile. After winning the Top Model of the World title last year and having experience competing in other international pageants, Luna looks like she is ready to bring the land of culture, pasta and fashion back into the game.

Brazil-Jakelyne Oliveira

Brazil placed in the top 5 for the past 2 years so will Jakelyne make it a 3rd? She does have a great body and seems to have a good personality but I'm not sure about the gown. Brazil is set to host Miss Universe 2014 so I'm expecting to Jakelyne to get a placement this year.

Spain-Patricia Rodriguez

While I'm not fully on the Spain bandwagon like so many others seem to be, I do like this gown but I don't quite get her but then again, Patricia did originally win Miss Spain 2008 but her runner-up, Claudia Moro represented Spain at Miss Universe 2008 and placed in the top 10. This reminded me of when Miss Puerto Rico 1997 placed 8th at Miss Universe 1997, then Ana's runner up, Brenda Liz Lopez also placed 8th at Miss Universe 1999. This little factoid tells me that since Claudia Moro (who I also never really quite got) made the top 10 in 2008, that Patricia should also place in the top 10 so by that logic, Patricia finds herself a spot in my top 10.

Philippines-Ariella Arida

Ariella fell a few spots after preliminaries on my list because I do not like this gown and it worries me a lot actually. I do think Ariella has a great body and works it well using her catwalk skills and I like that she kept her hair down. She is handling the pressure quite well as Philippines made the top 5 for the last 3 years and recently won Miss World and Miss Supranational so will Ariella do it?


Switzerland-Dominique Rinderknecht

I just love Dominique so much that I had to give her a spot in my list. Her modelesque short hair helps her stand out in a big way and I find her very likeable and I think the judges will be pleased with her and she bears a similar look currently sported by Miley Cyrus who also has been making headlines recently so I think this will help her get noticed and place.

France-Hinarani de Longeaux

An exotic stand out from France who has placed every year since 2009 and France also placed as 1st runner at Miss World this year so Hinarani is also expected to do well and she does a great body and gown and she also presents and speaks well so I think she can do it.

Colombia-Lucia Aldana

Lucia is just a well-spoken beauty and I think she has great potential. While I wish she hadn't gone with a darker hair color, I think she has what it takes to be a semifinalist and she worked her gown well in the preliminaries as Colombians normally do so let's see how Lucia does.

Australia-Olivia Wells

Olivia seems to be falling off some lists but I still like her. Australia has the longest streak in the semifinals currently and Olivia hopes to make it 6 years in a row for the land down under. Olivia has a nice body, face and sexy gown. Some have questioned that since Australian Gold and Kooey aren't sponsors this year that it may hurt her chances so let's see what happens.

USA-Erin Brady

Erin did a decent job in preliminaries and we know she interviews well and perhaps she has a bit of an edge there. Still, I somehow think that USA could take a turn out this year so she finishes a bit lower on my list this year.

Azerbaijan-Aysel Manafova

The birth country of the Agalarov family responsible for bringing the pageant to Russia this year conveniently debuts in this year's pageant and therefore gets the last the spot in my semifinalist list.


Russia-Elmira Abdrazakova

God help us if this girl makes it to the semifinals because I hate to say that she's just a disaster. Russia had some great competitors this year so how Elmira managed to win remains a huge mystery but she is the host delegate and I was originally going to reluctantly put her at the bottom of my semifinalist list but I just couldn't bring myself to do it! So I made her an alternate but even that is generous. I like her gown though. It reminds me of Nana Meriwether's farewell gown at Miss USA earlier this year.

Jamaica-Kerrie Baylis

Kerrie was actually surprisingly good. She has a good body and gown and also speaks quite well but I think she doesn't quite have it facially so this is why I put her as an alternate but it is possible that she could impress enough to place.

South Africa-Marilyn Ramos

Did you also immediately think of Lu Parker, Miss USA 1994 when you saw this evening gown? Marilyn is also a possibility and she also seems to have done well in all aspects of the competition but I'm not absolutely positive about her so she gets an spot among my alternates.

Turkey-Berrin Keklikler

Turkey pulled off a surprise placement last year and this year's delegate is actually much better so will Turkey do it two years in a row? Placements for Turkey are rare but this year's delegate does look like she could do it so keep an eye on her.

Czech Republic-Gabriela Kratochvilova

I did want to give her a spot but her body looks somewhat pale and not outstanding and this gown just looks loose and doesn't really flatter her so there is a possibility Gabriela could just fall a hair short.


Peru-Cindy Mejia

Peru was another one that surprised last year and this year's delegate has that Latina flare that might be perceived as a bit over-the-top but maybe she can do it.

Poland-Paulina Krupinska

Other people seem to really like her but this is one that I don't quite get so I'm just giving her a spot as an honorable mention as preliminaries didn't really change my mind about her.

India-Manasi Moghe

India's delegate this year is an improvement from the last few years but I think her body is a smidge oddly shaped with a smaller upper body but wider hips so I'm not entirely sold but India did win the online vote last year so there's a chance India could do it again.

Nicaragua-Nastassja Bolivar

Nuestra Belleza Latina 2011 returns to the stage and has won the Best in National Costume award so is Nicaragua on its way back in the game since their last placement in 2007? I wasn't terribly impressed but others seem to like her so she is one to watch.

Canada-Riza Santos

Nicaragua and Canada got the last two spots in my lists mainly because those two countries have the same director and one of the preliminary judges was Elena Semikina who represented Canada at Miss Universe 2010 so maybe this will influence a placement for either or both of those countries. Riza also interviews well and has previous experience competing internationally even though she didn't place at either Miss Earth or Miss World and she was even on Big Brother Philippines so maybe Elena being a preliminary judge is a sign.

Some other delegates I'll mention include the following:

- Germany - Initially, I was thinking she could be a semifinalist but after preliminaries, she was looking somewhat hefty so she fell out of contention.
- Ecuador - A pretty face but her hips look wide and Ecuador didn't get noticed last year so I don't expect it to happen this year.
- China - I liked her gown but that was about it. China is back to crowning delegates that aren't quite right so I think they're out again this year.
- Indonesia - This country surprisingly has a lot of pageant fans who cheered loudly for her in the preliminaries so maybe she could get the Internet vote.
- Bolivia - She had a good gown presentation but I can see that her hips are very wide and usually this is a telltale sign.
- Croatia - Other people seem to like her but I just don't see it. Her body is oddly shaped.
- Costa Rica - I liked her silver gown and she has a decent body but her chin distracts me somewhat.
- Paraguay - I'm not seeing it for Paraguay even though she did struggle with a visa issue and was sent back from Russia to Paraguay to resolve them and then returned to Russia so perhaps this demonstrates a lack of responsibility?
- Panama - Again, they bailed on hosting and this year's delegate seems a little too artificially busty so I don't think she will win over the judges.
- Chile - She's tall and seems to have a decent body so she's a maybe too.
- Greece - She may get the call for the Olympic connection as Greece is the birthplace of the Olympics and Russia is hosting the Olympics a few months after Miss Universe so is this a sign?
- Malaysia - Another charming delegate from Malaysia but doesn't quite have the right body type but she is very likeable.
Trinidad & Tobago - I think she did well in interviews and has a decent body but I'm not too sure about her.

Of course, there are possible surprises that no one saw coming so we'll learn how it all plays out on November 9!


The much anticipated and all-important 2013 Miss Universe Preliminary Competition will be held on Tuesday, November 5 at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time which is 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time). The preliminary judges are: Irina Agalarov (wife of Aras Agalarov and mother of Emin who will perform during the pageant), Elena Semikina (Miss Universe Canada 2010), Jose Sariego, Corinne Nicolas, David Perozzi, Alicia Quarles, & Gabriel Rivera and the preliminaries can be viewed online at

Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012 in Moscow, Russia

The delegates have been seeing the sights in Russia and have had a bunch of events leading up to the big night.

Israel and Malaysia
France, Venezuela and Azerbaijan

I will be posting my final predictions on November 7 and then we will all witness the magic unfold on November 9 on NBC when the Miss Universe 2013 pageant broadcasts live from Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia. The judges for the final night are: Steven Tyler, Chef Nobu, Tara Lipinski, Carol Alt, Anne Vyalitsyna, Farouk Shami, Italo Fontana, and Philip Kirkorav. Of course, my predictions will be finalized after I have had a chance to view all the delegates competing in preliminaries but in the meantime, a lot of you have been asking who I think the early contenders are so here is a 2nd round of prethoughts of my current feelings about each of the 86 delegates for Miss Universe 2013 after reviewing pictures and the online Truth and Dare videos coupled with some of my background knowledge. This year is tough to call as there are truly a lot of possibilities for semifinalists and it is going to be very hard to narrow it down. While I do have a pretty general idea of who I think will place, preliminaries can change everything and of course, one can never tell who the surprises will be.

1. Angola - Angola won the crown just two years ago thanks to Leila Lopes. However, this year's Angolan representative is not considered a contender.

2. Argentina - It's rare in recent years that Argentina gets noticed. Some people seem to like her but I don't see her placing. Argentina pulled off a surprise placement in 2006 and Norma Nolan won the crown for Argentina in 1962 but this year's delegate is not among my picks.

3. Aruba - The Aruban delegate is also not among my picks this year. Aruba's last and best placement was in 1996 when Taryn Mansell was 1st runner up.

4. Australia - Olivia is in my top 10 currently and I see her continuing Australia's streak in the semifinals. Australia currently has a 5 year streak in the semifinals. The land down under has won the crown two times which were in 1972 and 2004. As mentioned earlier, Olivia Wells has the same first name as the reigning Miss Universe and the same last name as her country's own Miss Universe 1972, Kerry Anne Wells so can Olivia, with her great body, looks and personality do it again for Australia?

5. Austria - Austria is back after a lengthy absence sending us their first delegate since 2004. Doris is a cute delegate that has a bit of a Taylor Swift look to her and has potential but somehow I don't think she will be strong enough in interviews as I feel she is underprepared. Austria's last and best placement was in 1977 when Eva Maria Duringer would place as 1st runner up and Eva would later marry one of the judges of that pageant, Roberto Cavalli.

6. Azerbaijan - Call it coincidence that Azerbaijan, the birth country of the Agalarov family responsible for bringing the pageant to Russia is debuting in this year's pageant? She will be among my semifinalists.

7. Bahamas - The Bahamas have never placed in the history of Miss Universe and I don't expect this year to change that.

8. Belgium - I don't see it happening this year for Belgium. They last placed in 2010 and have yet to win the crown.

9. Bolivia - Bolivia has been mentioned by a few people but as in most years, I don't think the Bolivian delegate quite has the body but I will be keeping a close eye on her during preliminaries as this is one that I'm a bit unsure about. Bolivia's most recent placement was in 2006 and they have never won the crown.

10. Botswana - Botswana's first delegate ever, Mpule Kwelagobe ended up winning the Miss Universe crown which was an impressive feat. This year's delegate however is not expected to place.

11. Brazil - Brazil is supposedly hosting the Miss Universe pageant next year so I fully expect this year's delegate to place so she is currently in my top 10. She does have a really great body but I will admit her chin bugs me a bit. Brazil has placed in the top 5 for the last two years and they won the crown twice in 1963 and 1968.

12. British Virgin Islands - I think Nature's Little Secret will sit another year out this year.

13. Bulgaria - Yet another year when the land of roses sends a delegate that isn't quite right for this competition. Bulgaria has yet to place.

14. Canada - This will be Riza's third time representing Canada on the international stage as she previously represented Canada at Miss Earth 2006 and Miss World 2011 but didn't place at either pageant and I'm not expecting her to place this time around either.

15. Chile - Right now, I'm thinking she's out. Chile's participation in recent years has been sporadic and I think her body could be a bit better so she's close but not quite semifinalist material for me. Chile's Cecilia Bolocco won their only Miss Universe crown in 1987 and their last placement was in 2004.

16. China - The world's most populated country last placed in 2011 and placed as 4th runner up and it seemed then that they were on the right track but they seem to be back to crowning delegates that don't quite have the right body type and just aren't semifinalist material. This year's delegate is not among my picks as I find her body to be too bony.

17. Colombia - Those eyes! Lucia Aldana is absolutely a beauty coming from a nation that is traditionally very strong at Miss Universe. Some are getting the impression that she may be a bit too religious which may have worked in the past but seems to be frowned upon in recent years. Colombia is among my picks currently and I feel she is among the stronger overall competitors in this year's pageant. Colombia won the Miss Universe crown in 1958 and had 4 1st runner up placements in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 2008.

18. Costa Rica - I'm not sold on this delegate although some people seem to like her. Right now, she's not among my picks but she is one I will be watching closely during the preliminaries to be sure. Costa Rica has never won the crown and last placed in 2011.

19. Croatia - This is another delegate that I'm not enamored with as others seem to be. I don't think she has the right body type and I just don't see it happening but you never know. Croatia has placed twice as a semifinalist (once last year and in 2009).

20. Curacao - Curacao hasn't placed since 1997 and I don't see this year's delegate placing either.

21. Czech Republic - In my first round prethoughts, I drew attention to Gabriela's unique look and short hair and I find her very likeable so keep an eye on her! The Czech Republic placed for 4 years straight from 2007 to 2010 so is it time for a comeback or will she just fall a hair short?

22. Denmark - This one is just not a stand out so it looks like it's another year out for Denmark.

23. Dominican Republic - I'm sure you know I adore Yaritza as she is talented and gorgeous with fabulous hair, a fit body and a fierce walk. She had a very noted fall during a swimsuit fashion show a few days ago where she stepped into a hole in the middle of the stage where a fog machine was but she recovered nicely and the whole incident can be seen in this video.

so will Yaritza pull a Miriam Quiambao (Miss Philippines 1999 and 1st runner up to Miss Universe 1999) and work that fall to a 1st runner up finish?

24. Ecuador - Constanza certainly is quite photogenic but as we learned last year, Ecuador is one of those countries that rarely gets noticed no matter how stunning their delegate is so right now she is in my honorable mentions territory but I'll be watching her closely during preliminaries. Ecuador hasn't placed since they hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 2004.

25. El Salvador - She is among the better prepared delegates and seems to have good interview skills but I don't think she quite has the body so I don't see her placing. El Salvador was 1st runner up back in 1955 and they haven't placed since 1996.

26. Estonia - I don't see it happening for Estonia this year either. They have placed two times in Miss Universe history which were in the years of 1997 and 2000.

27. Ethiopia - This year's delegate is not expected to place. They did pull off one surprise placement in 2006.

28. Finland - I need a lotta hints as to if Lotta Hintsa will place among the semifinalists! Just kidding. I don't see her placing. Finland hasn't placed since 1996 and they have 2 Miss Universe winners (in 1952 and 1975).

29. France - France is doing something right! That's for sure. Hinarani was a runner-up at Miss France whose winner placed as 1st runner up this year at Miss World so Hinarani is expected to continue France's streak in the semifinals. They have placed 4 years in a row and Hinarani is expected to make it a 5th year. Currently, she is among my semifinalist picks.

30. Gabon - This is Gabon's second time competing for Miss Universe but this year's delegate is not expected to place.

31. Germany - Anne Julia Hagen won the official title of Miss Germany 2010 and now has been selected to compete at Miss Universe this year and she is certainly one to watch. Germany hasn't placed since 2002 and they won the crown once back in 1961.

32. Ghana - Ghana last placed back in 1999 but this year's delegate is not expected to place.

33. Great Britain - Amy Willerton is currently in my top 5 as she is just outstanding. She is a gorgeous model type with a fun, refreshing personality and Amy is expected to be the one to bring Great Britain's long-awaited first placement in 2013 which is a special year as this is the birth year of Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. England, Scotland and Wales have all placed as 1st runner up in the past but there has never been a win for the land of the Union Jack so will this be their year? England last placed in 1983, Scotland last placed in 1980 and Wales last placed in 1979.

34. Greece - The birthplace of the Olympic spirit might get noticed this year especially since Russia will be hosting the winter Olympics a few months after Miss Universe so keep an eye on her. Greece hasn't placed since 2005 and last won the crown in 1964 so what is in store for Greece this year?

35. Guam - Guam has only placed twice (1970 and 1982) so it takes a lot for Guam to get noticed and this year's delegate is not considered a contender.

36. Guatemala - The heart of the Mundo Maya last placed in 2010 but this year's delegate is not expected to place.

37. Guyana - Guyana is not expected to place again this year as this year's delegate does not have the body for this competition.

38. Haiti - This one could do it as I'm getting vibes from her so keep an eye on her. I'm not so sure about her interview skills but she has a great body and presence. Haiti's best placement was in 1975 when Gerthie David finished as 1st runner up.

39. Honduras - Of all the countries that have placed among Miss Universe semifinalists, Honduras has had to wait the longest as their only placement was back in 1955. Unfortunately, this year's delegate is also not expected to place.

40. Hungary - Hungary has surprised us before but I don't see a placement this year for them.

41. India - India pulled off a surprise last year by winning the online vote so could it happen again? Femina Magazine lost the franchise to select India's representative in 2010 but regained it this year holding a separate pageant where this year's delegate Manasi Moghe won but I'm thinking she doesn't quite have the body although she is a vast improvement from some of India's recent representatives.

42. Indonesia - This one also doesn't quite have the right body type so I'm not expecting her to place. Indonesia placed once which was in 2005.

43. Israel - Yityish is the ISH! I absolutely adore this woman. She just has this magnificent aura that just captivates you and draws you in. She is solidly in my top 5 but will she get the win? While I would love to see it happen, I fear that since she doesn't necessarily resemble the vast majority of the people she is representing that this may keep her from the win similarly to Denny Mendez, the first black Miss Italy who finished 5th at Miss Universe 1997. Israel last placed in 2005 and Rina Messinger is Israel's only Miss Universe winning the crown in 1976.

44. Italy - Luna Voce is another of my favorites. She comfortably takes a spot in my top 10 and I love her warm smile and honey eyes. As winner of the Top Model of the World title last year, will Luna go all the way and possibly be Italy's first Miss Universe?

45. Jamaica - She has strengths and I see semifinalist potential but her presence is not as loud as others so I will be watching her closely during preliminaries. Jamaica has never won the crown but their best placement was 1st runner up in 2010.

46. Japan - Japan last placed in 2008 and they have won the crown in 1959 and 2007. This year's delegate probably won't place but I'm not counting her out entirely just yet so I'll be watching her closely in preliminaries to decide.

47. Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan has never placed and that isn't expected to change this year.

48. Korea - Korea last placed in 2007 but I'm not seeing it with this year's delegate so I don't expect her to place.

49. Lebanon - It looks like another year out for the land of the cedars as I don't find this year's delegate particularly outstanding. Lebanon hasn't placed since 1973 and they did win the crown in 1971.

50. Lithuania - She has a bit of an intriguing look but I just don't see semifinalist material so she will not be in my list.

51. Malaysia - Again, Malaysia is trying sending charming delegates and I appreciate this year's delegate's charm but I think Malaysia's time will come but probably not this year. Malaysia has only placed once which was back in 1970.

52. Mauritius - This peaceful island of paradise has yet to place and it looks like this is another year out for Mauritius.

53. Mexico - Cynthia Duque has had a noticeable weight gain since winning her title and as a result is not considered a contender. Lupita Jones, Miss Universe 1991 is Mexico's director and when asked how this could happen, Lupita said to ask her. Lupita shouldn't have to control every aspect of a delegate's life and some delegates have to take responsibility and maintain their physique if they expect to place internationally. Perhaps Cynthia was just content to have won the Mexican title.

54. Myanmar - Burma last competed at Miss Universe back in 1961 so Myanmar's long awaited return is finally here but this year's delegate is not expected to place.

55. Namibia - The smile of Africa is also not expected to place again this year. Namibia has won the crown in 1992 and last placed in 2003.

56. Netherlands - Netherlands' most recent placement was in 2011 and Angela Visser won the crown for Holland in 1989 but I'm not getting semifinalist vibes from this year's delegate so I don't expect her to place.

57. New Zealand - The Kiwis haven't placed since 1992 surprisingly and this year's delegate doesn't quite have the body although she has a more exotic look but I don't see a placement this year.

58. Nicaragua - As the winner of Nuestra Belleza Latina 2011, Nastassja Bolivar has an immense amount of pressure on her to live up to the title so can she do it? She isn't in my list currently but I will be watching her closely during preliminaries to see if she can change my mind.

59. Nigeria - Placements for Nigeria are rare. Their only placement was in 2001 by Agbani Darego who would go on to win Miss World later that year. This year's delegate is not expected to place.

60. Norway - Norway has been picking a lot of unconventional, exotic delegates and this year's delegate is one of them but I don't see this year's representative placing as she doesn't have the body. Norway hasn't placed since 2005 and they won the crown once in 1990.

61. Panama - Panama was originally slated to host Miss Universe this year but conveniently bailed after placing in the top 10 in 2011. I don't think this year's delegate will place anyway as I find her somewhat artificial.

62. Paraguay - She did have a visa issue where see arrived in Russia then was sent back to Paraguay and all visa issues were cleared and then she came back to Russia. I'm not too sure about this one so I'll be keeping an eye on her during preliminaries. Paraguay last placed in 2006 and 2004 placing as 3rd runner up both times.

63. Peru - There is great potential with this year's Peruvian delegate. Right now, she is among my honorable mentions but I can see her placing so I'll be watching her in preliminaries to determine where to put her. Peru placed last year and they did win the crown in 1957.

64. Philippines - Of course, Ariella has an extreme amount of pressure on her shoulders as Philippines has been making waves in the international pageant world recently, winning major titles like Miss World and Miss Supranational and placing in the top 5 at Miss Universe for 3 years in a row so will Ariella be able to handle the pressure and pull off the win? Right now, Ariella is among my top 5 as she does have an aura about her and a fit body and she knows how to work it with her great catwalk skills but I'm not entirely certain of her interview skills so we shall see what happens.

65. Poland - Hmmm... So this is a delegate that other people seem to love that I'm not seeing it with. She seems sweet but I don't think she has the right body type so I'll be keeping an eye on her during preliminaries but as of right now, she is probably more in my honorable mentions range.

66. Puerto Rico - Well, Puerto Rico is always well prepared and Monic looks very poised and competition-ready but perhaps a bit off facially but she will be one to watch. Right now, I have her as an alternate but she could easily move into my semifinalist picks. Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe crown 5 times (1970, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2006) but they missed the cut last year so will there be a comeback this year?

67. Romania - Romania has never placed and that is not expected to change this year.

68. Russia - The host delegate is always one to watch so as of right now, she is in my semifinalists list but at the bottom.

69. Serbia - She just doesn't stand out to me so I'm not expecting her to place but I will watch her closely in preliminaries to be sure.

70. Singapore - I don't see it happening again for Singapore this year. Singapore last placed in 1987 which was also the year they hosted the Miss Universe pageant.

71. Slovak Republic - Slovak Republic placed only once which was in 1994 so this country tends to get overlooked a lot so I don't expect this one to change things especially since she has a tattoo below one of her breasts but she does have a nice face and decent body.

72. Slovenia - She's cute! With that great face, I would like to see Nina in the mix but her look might be interpreted as too sex-kitten and I think she may be a bit too petite so she may lack the height but I would actually be quite happy to see her pull off a placement.

73. South Africa - The South African delegate is normally well prepared and well spoken so Marilyn is one to watch. I would like to see a little more flash and sizzle from her since she seems to fade into the background a lot but maybe she's saving it for the show. South Africa placed in the top 10 last year and last won the crown in 1978.

74. Spain - This one is a question mark for me. Other people seem to love her and I don't quite get it. Sometimes I see a prominent jaw, chipmunk teeth and a not-so-great body but at other times, she presents herself well but there is just no room for her in my list so I'm thinking she may be among my alternates or honorable mentions.

75. Sri Lanka - I'm not expecting her to place. Sri Lanka last placed in 1955 as 2nd runner up back when Sri Lanka was called Ceylon.

76. Sweden - I'm not really feeling this year's Swedish delegate so I don't expect her to place. Sweden has won the crown 3 times (1955, 1966 and 1984) and they last placed in 2009.

77. Switzerland - She came in like a wrecking ball and she can't stop and she won't stop! I am loving this Swiss Miss! Dominique's short hairstyle reminds me of Miley Cyrus' recent look and with that angelic face and great body, I fully expect her to get noticed in a big way and she is firmly in my top 10. Switzerland last placed in 2009 but they have never won the crown. Their best placement was in 2006 when Lauriane Gillieron finished as 2nd runner up.

78. Tanzania - Tanzania last placed in 2007 but I don't see this year's delegate placing.

79. Thailand - This is another one who could take the Internet vote spot but doesn't seem strong enough to me to place on her own. Thailand hasn't placed since 2007 and they have won two Miss Universe crowns in the years of 1965 and 1988.

80. Trinidad & Tobago - Trinidad & Tobago had a streak in the semifinals from 2003 to 2006 but they seem to have struggled since. This year's delegate is also well spoken like most of their delegates so she might just impress enough in preliminary interviews to do it.

81. Turkey - Turkey pulled off a surprise placement last year so will they be able to do it two years in a row? She's currently not among my picks but preliminaries will confirm where I place her.

82. Turks & Caicos - I'm not expecting Turks & Caicos to place this year. They haven't placed since 1987.

83. Ukraine - As of right now, Olga is my winner. I think she is the best overall with classic features like a porcelain doll and she is the one for whom I totally see it happening. Ukraine has been doing well in recent years, placing for the first time in 2006 through to placing as 1st runner up in 2011. Is this the year for the rich agricultural breadbasket of Europe?

84. USA - So Erin is a bit lower on my list of semifinalist picks right now but I wouldn't be surprised if USA takes a turn out of the semifinals this year. We know she has strong interview skills so this may help her and she is also handling the pressure of representing the country of the reigning Miss Universe.

85. Venezuela - Venezuela maintains its status as an international pageant powerhouse with this year's delegate, Maria Gabriela Isler. I was a bit concerned about her when she first won her national crown but Osmel Sousa and the Venezuelan team worked their magic yet again and transformed her into an instant contender with a great body, hair and spirit. Since 1991, Venezuela has made the top 6 every year excluding 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011 and they have captured the Miss Universe crown 6 times.

86. Vietnam - Like most Vietnamese reps, this one doesn't quite have the right body type for this competition so she won't be in my list.

So there you have it! A quick run through of some of my opinions of who's in and who's out and who's a question mark so my final predictions list will be posted on November 7 after I have reviewed each delegate in the preliminaries and of course, the truth will be unveiled on November 9!!

Mel B., Co-Host for Miss Universe 2013Thomas Roberts, Co-Host for Miss Universe 2013
It's that magical time of year again! Miss Universe 2013 will be crowned on November 9 at Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia aired on NBC. Melanie Brown (also known as Mel B. also known as Scary Spice of the Spice Girls) will be co-hosting the pageant for the second time. Mel's first time as a Miss Universe co-host was in 2008. The other co-host will be the handsome MSNBC news anchor and reporter, Thomas Roberts. The delegates are starting to arrive in Russia which means it is time for my first round prethoughts to let you know who I have my eye on this year as well as some interesting things to think about.

Miss Parallel Universe?

Julia Sukhanova, Miss USSR 1989Yulia Lemigova, Miss USSR 1991There are lot of interesting parallels coming out of this year in comparison to pageants past. During the 1989 Miss Universe pageant, there was a special feature showing the crowning of the first Miss Soviet Union, Julia Sukhanova who wasn't at the pageant that year but there was a videoclip showing her crowning set to creepy music that literally sounded like someone was banging on an iron curtain. This was deemed a groundbreaking moment in the Communist Soviet Union and Julia conveyed a message in the spirit of fellowship, she said that she looked forward to the day when the Miss Universe pageant would be held in the Soviet Union. Well, fast-forward to 2013 and technically that day has come but the Soviet Union, of course, no longer exists and as a perhaps unintentionally defiant Miss USSR 1991, Yulia Lemigova declared, she comes from Moscow, Russia (instead of saying she was from the USSR). In 1992, there was a Miss Commonwealth of Independent States and then since 1994, the official country of Russia has competed at the Miss Universe pageant.

But plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, as the controversial venue of Russia has shown in recent months that it seems to still be behind the times. Much news has been spread about Russia's LGBT community facing much discrimination and violent attacks and this prompted a petition to boycott the pageant and other Russian products. Gay rights activists march in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013Aras Agalarov with son Emin who will sing during Miss Universe 2013 Even, Andy Cohen who co-hosted the last two Miss Universe pageants and is openly gay declined to host the pageant this year so Andy will be sorely missed this year as he does bring a higher level of enthusiasm that many hosts seem to lack. Interestingly enough, Thomas Roberts who will be co-hosting this year's pageant is also openly gay and wants to take that brave step. In a blog post, Thomas Roberts wrote, "I am not going to boycott. Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else." Now, the world's eyes will be on Russia as it hosts two major international events. The Miss Universe pageant will be held on November 9 and this will be a good test to see how things will go as Sochi, Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games a few months later in February. Like the Olympics, Miss Universe has a large following in the LGBT community but a lot of fans that usually consider attending this event will not be participating this year for safety reasons. The pageant being brought to Russia seems to have been spearheaded by billionaire Aras Agalarov who is the man behind Crocus International and his son Emin. Emin is also a singer and will perform during the pageant and he also featured Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo in the music video for his song 'Amor'. The Agalarovs were born in Azerbaijan so a lot of people are expecting Azerbaijan's representative to place among the semifinalists this year and possibly Russia's representative as well. But of course, Miss Universe makes no qualms about being a business first so if the money was coming in, they probably wouldn't have considered hosting the pageant elsewhere. It looks like in recent years, the pageant has struggled to get other countries to pay the hosting fee like in years such as 2009 when it was held in the Bahamas (the same venue as the Miss Teen USA pageant since 2008) as well as 2010 and 2012 being held in Las Vegas (the same venue as the Miss USA pageant since 2008). The Miss USA pageant however in slated to leave Las Vegas next year as it is scheduled to be held in Miami, Florida for the next few years. There is also talk about Kosovo not participating this year as Russia does not recognize Kosovo as an actual country. Kosovo has been doing very well in recent years placing among the semifinalists in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. Albania may also not be participating due to this as the pageants to select the Miss Universe representatives for Albania and Kosovo have the same director, noted pageant photographer Fadil Berisha.

Russia's Oxana Fedorova is crowned Miss Universe 2002 by predecessor, Denise QuinonesDonald Trump crowns Panama's Justine Pasek as Miss Universe 2002 after the dethronement of Oxana Fedorova

Another interesting parallel from this year's pageant comes from 2002 when the original winner and Russia's first Miss Universe, Oxana Fedorova was crowned only to be dethroned a few months later. Oxana says she quit but the Miss Universe organization says she was fired for refusing to attend events and Oxana said that this resulted from her participation in an interview with shock jock Howard Stern who asked her very degrading questions. Oxana became the first Miss Universe to be replaced by her 1st runner up, Panama's Justine Pasek. As you will recall from one of my previous commentaries, Panama was originally slated to host Miss Universe 2013 but then bailed conveniently after their 2011 representative made the top 10 that year and won the national costume award but now the new host for Miss Universe 2013 is Russia! Isn't that an interesting parallel? In 2002, Russia quit and Panama took over then in 2013, Panama quit and Russia took over! Panama is competing in this year's pageant but somehow I don't think they will place... for some reason...

Ariella Arida, Miss Philippines 2013Jakelyne Oliveira, Miss Brazil 2013 is crowned by her predecessor, Gabriela MarkusIn last year's commentary, you will remember that I noted that I wanted the land where Asia wears a smile, the Philippines to host the 2014 Miss Universe pageant to continue the 20 year chain since Philippines hosted Miss Universe in 1974 and 1994 so it seemed only natural that they would host next year but recently it was announced that it looks like the Miss Universe 2014 pageant will be held once again in Brazil but this time in the city of Fortaleza. (Brazil hosted in 2011 in the city Sao Paulo). However, one can never be too certain about a venue as we have learned from pageants past. Due to this, Brazil could very well be continuing its great recent track record placing in the top 5 in 2011 and 2012 so can Brazil's representative for this year, Jakelyne Oliveira, keep it going? The whole news of the venue for 2014 threw a wrench into my plans of Philippines hosting Miss Universe 2014. And we all know, the Filipinos are very loyal pageant fans. And what about this year's representative for the Philippines, Ariella Arida? Well, the pressure is certainly on Ariella but she seems to be feeding on the pressure and is using it to fuel her determination to get the crown. Will she be able to continue Philippines' excellent track record in recent years, placing in the top 5 at Miss Universe for 3 years in a row now? The Philippines also just crowned its first Miss world this year thanks to Megan Young, adding to the pressure on Ariella. Philippines has also been doing well in other pageants recently as Mutya Datul won Miss Supranational earlier this year and even last year, Jun Macasaet won the Manhunt International title for the Philippines. Further adding to the pressure on Ariella, it is very rare for Miss Universe and Miss World to come from the same country in the same year but it has happened before. India has done it twice (1994 and 2000), Venezuela did it in 1981, Australia did it in 1972 and France did it in 1953 so will the Philippines be able to do it in 2013? All eyes will be on Ariella.
Philippines' Megan Young after being crowned Miss World 2013 stands between her two runners-up from France and Ghana

Reality Royalty Reigns

The Miss World pageant brings me to yet another parallel. It's interesting to note the British-owned Miss World has crowned 3 winners from the U.S.A. (1973, 1990 and 2010) in addition to 5 winners from their own United Kingdom, whereas the Miss Universe pageant has never crowned any British winners but has crowned 8 winners representing the U.S.A. Enter this year's representative of Great Britain, Amy Willerton who is becoming a favorite and could possibly be the first to place for Great Britain in the pageant's history! For you see, in the past, the countries that make up Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) have competed and previously placed in the Miss Universe pageant. In fact, each of those countries have placed as 1st runner up at Miss Universe but have yet to win. Amy Willerton, Miss Great Britain 2013Nicaragua's Nastassja Bolivar shortly after winning Nuestra Belleza Latina England was 1st runner up in 1964. Scotland was 1st runner up in 1980 and Wales was 1st runner up twice (in 1961 and 1974) and both of those winners (Rosemarie Frankland and Helen Morgan) would win the Miss World crown later that year. Amy Willerton could finally bring that long awaited placement for Great Britain as she is an established model and also won another competition 'Signed by Katie Price' which is a British reality show where models compete for a modelling contract with the company owned by UK Glamour model Katie Price. So, in the royal year of 2013 which is the birth year of future King George, is it time for the Miss Universe pageant to finally reciprocate and crown a British winner?

Another reality show winner is also competing in this year's pageant. Nicaragua is being represented by Nastassja Bolivar who also won Nuestra Belleza Latina 2011. This reality show features two special judges, noted Venezuelan pageant mastermind, Osmel Sousa as well as Miss Universe 1991, Lupita Jones. This competition features Latina contestants competing in weekly challenges until a winner is crowned and it is heading into its 8th season next year. So competing on the international stage will also be adding pressure on Nastassja to live up to the title so we shall see if she can do it for Nicaragua which is a country that rarely places. They last placed among the top ten in 2007. And it looks like the new reality show rival for Nuestra Belleza Latina called Miss Latina USA (which I mentioned in my prethoughts for Miss USA earlier this year) is scheduled to be starting next year so the USA will only have one representative this year, Connecticut's Erin Brady who also has the pressure on her shoulders of representing the country of the reigning Miss Universe. The only country to win back-to-back titles was Venezuela when they won the crown in 2008 and 2009.

Yityish is the ISHrael
Yityish Aynaw, Miss Israel 2013
Of course, I'm sure you know I love Miss Israel! Yityish Aynaw is the first black Miss Israel and is of Ethiopian descent and I love to see women like Yityish breaking barriers. Yityish reminds a lot of people of Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes of Angola and the world is waiting to see how Yityish will fare at Miss Universe. Yityish has also met U.S. president Barack Obama and immediately comes across as very charming and poised. Yityish's father died when she was two years old and her mother died eight years later. She moved to Israel with her grandparents when she was twelve. Many people are also reminded of the first black Miss Italy, Denny Mendez who competed at Miss Universe 1997 and finished in 5th place that year. Will Yityish's uniqueness win over the judges and bring Israel its 2nd Miss Universe crown? Israel hasn't won since 1976 when Rina Messinger took the crown in Hong Kong. Israel also hasn't placed since 2005 so Yityish is also a highly anticipated delegate to end Israel's drought in the semifinals.

Pictured here we have the lovely Denny Mendez with some guy named Brad Pitt.
Denny's never too busy for a fan!!!

Yaritza Reyes, Miss Dominican Republic 2013Luna Voce, Miss Italy 2013And while we're talking about Denny Mendez (who was born in the Dominican Republic and later moved to Italy), let's talk about those countries who are also sending outstanding delegates this year. The Dominican Republic is being represented by Yaritza Reyes who is not only a stunner with gorgeous hair but she is also a talented singer and guitarist and had a very applauded win in her home country. It is rare that a black woman gets crowned in the Dominican Republic even though there is a large black population in the Dominican Republic so Yaritza's win is also considered groundbreaking. The Dominican Republic has been doing well in recent years, winning the crown in 2003 thanks to Amelia Vega as well as having 2 2nd runner ups in 2005 and 2008 and placing as 1st runner up in 2009 but they haven't placed since then so is it time for a big comeback for the land where your heart flames to the rhythms of merengue? And what of Italy's representative? The stunning Luna Voce! Well, she is the latest hope for Italy to capture the crown. The reigning Miss Universe, USA's Olivia Culpo has Italian roots but the land of culture, pasta and fashion is another country that yet to capture the crown. In fact, Italy is the highest ranking country in the list of Who Has the Most Miss Universes? without a winner. Italy does have 2 1st runner ups: Bond girl Daniela Bianchi in 1960 and Roberta Capua in 1987. Italy hasn't placed since 2008 and Luna Voce is experienced as she has competed representing Italy at Miss International 2008 and Miss Earth 2009 and while she didn't place at either pageant, she would go on to win the Top Model of the World contest in 2012 so Luna's experience is paying off and one can only wonder if she can go all the way at Miss Universe this year. It may also help that Yamamay, A Touch of Italy is this year's swimsuit sponsor.

Here Comes THE Ukraine Again
Falling in My Head Like a Memory

Ukraine - Olga Storozhenko
Often the country of Ukraine is mistakenly called "the" Ukraine because people are so used to saying the U.K. as the abbreviation for the United Kingdom and Ukraine sounds close to U.K. but this year could very well be Ukraine's year as this year's delegate Olga Storozhenko is an absolute stunner who really could take it all. Although, I'm a bit unclear as to how well a win by Ukraine would be received by the Russian people as Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine's recent good track record at Miss Universe can be traced back to 2004 when Ukraine's representative Oleksandra Nikolayenko did not place among the semifinalists at Miss Universe even though she did make the top 10 when she competed a few years earlier at Miss World 2001. This displeased Miss Universe pageant owner, Donald Trump so Oleksandra Nikayolenko was invited back the next year to be a judge for Miss Universe 2005 and then Ukraine finally started making waves at Miss Universe getting its first semifinalist placement in 2006, then also placing in 2007. Ukraine made it all the way to 3rd runner up in 2010 and 1st runner up in 2011 so will Olga be THE Ukraine star and could this be Ukraine's year to take it all?

"The Deal Is I Don't Like To Do It!"

Dominique Vanderknecht, Miss Switzerland 2013Czech Republic - Gabriela Kratochvilova During the 1999 Miss USA pageant, 1st runner up, Tennessee's Morgan Tandy High was one of the few contestants competing that year with very short hair. When asked what the deal was with that, she replied, 'The deal is I don't like to do it! So that's the reason why I have short hair!' Having short hair didn't stop Morgan High from going all the way to 1st runner up and if anything, short hair seems to help certain delegates stand out. Two delegates sporting short hairstyles include two other favorites this year: Switzerland's Dominique Rinderknecht and Czech Republic's Gabriela Kratochvilova. Both of these countries have never won the crown but have had sporadic successes. Switzerland's highest placement was in 2006 when Lauriane Gillieron placed as 2nd runner up but they haven't placed since 2009. Enter fresh-faced Dominique Rinderknecht who is sporting that popular sleek, short hair so one can only wonder if it will help Dominique in a big way. The Czech Republic did have a 4-year streak in the semifinals placing from 2007 to 2010 and the Czech Republic has managed to capture other major International titles such as Miss World in 2006 and Miss Earth in 2012 but the fight for a Miss Universe crown seems to be an uphill battle for the Czech Republic so can Gabriela do it?

What's in a Name?
Australia - Olivia Wells
Australia currently has the longest running streak in the semifinals at Miss Universe. They have placed every year since 2008. This year, Olivia Wells hopes to make it 6 years in a row for the land down under. Australia won the crown twice in 1972 and 2004. The win in 2004 by Jennifer Hawkins seems to have brought on a resurgence in the interest in pageantry in Australia as Jennifer Hawkins has achieved considerable success in Australia. But no Miss Universe has had the exact same first or last name as another. The closest match is Margareta (1966), Margarita (1973) and Margaret (1978). Olivia Wells has the same first name as the reigning Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo and the same last name as Miss Universe 1972, her country's own Kerry Anne Wells so will Olivia Wells be able to defeat the odds and become the third Miss Universe for Australia and therefore become Australian Gold??

So those are my prethoughts for now and after I have had a chance to review the early pictures and online close-up interviews after the delegates arrive, I will post a quick run through of what I think of each delegate, then a few days after the preliminaries, I will analyze each delegate and then post my final predictions so stay tuned!




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP