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Top-performing candidates at Miss Universe 2017

From left: Miss South Africa is among fans' favorites for Best in Swimwear; Miss Philippines for Best in Evening Gown; and Miss Canada for Best in National Costume. Photos via Facebook/The Awesome Pageant Era

MANILA, Philippines — Excitement was high at the Miss Universe preliminary events, even as the venue for the national costume, swimsuit and evening-gown competitions was underwhelming.

The Miss Universe Organization has not released official videos and photographs from the proceedings, so this story is based on eye-witness accounts of fans, who were lucky to be at the events.

The showcase of culture in dress form (and contraptions) at the national costume competition has no bearing on the preliminary scores, but it offers a glimpse into a contestant’s heritage and identity and can propel a candidate’s prospects.

In the swimwear section, the contestants wore Yamamay designs in either black or white in two pieces, except for Misses British Virgin Islands, China, Guatemala, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon; and when there was uproar from her countrymen, Miss Iraq will switch to a one-piece suit at the finals.

The evening gown segment was when the audience knew who among the 92 candidates have the strongest stage presence, and therefore have the best chances to advance to the final rounds on November 26 (November 27, 8 a.m. in the Philippines).

The national costume competition was held on November 20 while the swimsuit and evening gown portions happened later on in Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

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With their stellar performances at these events, these candidates are the front-runners, so far. But, because the interviews were held behind closed doors, we have no idea who has the much-needed requirement of having excellent communication skills.

 

Best in National Costume

The Asians and the Latinas take this more seriously, as they very well know that their lavish presentations can translate to tourism revenues for their countries.

Among fans’ favorites are:

Japan - Momoko Abe

Indonesia - Bunga Jelitha

Thailand - Maria Poonlertlarp

Myanmar - Zun Thansin

Venezuela - Keysi Sayago

Canada - Lauren Howe

Mexico - Denisse Franco

Nicaragua - Berenice Quesada

Spain - Sofia del Prado

 

Best in Swimsuit

The models and athletes, with their toned physiques, have the advantage. But as the Miss Universe Organization, with its wholehearted embrace of body positivity, also celebrates the more womanly Reuben-esque forms such as co-anchor Ashley Graham.

This batch has a fair share of full-figured women such as Miss Ecuador, Daniela Cepeda, taking over the mantle from 2016’s Sierra Bearchell of Canada, who finished in the Top 8.

The ones with the best figures, with some having the best walks except for the over-excited Miss Thailand, are:

Angola - Lauriela Martins

Brazil - Monalysa Alcântara

Colombia - Laura González

Croatia - Shanaelle Petty

Indonesia - Bunga Jelitha

Israel - Adar Gandelsman

Italy - Maria Polverino

Mexico - Denisse Franco

Peru - Prissila Howard

Philippines - Rachel Peters

Puerto Rico - Danna Hernández

Romania - Ioana Mihalache

Saint Lucia - Louise Victor

Spain - Sofia del Prado

South Africa - Demi Leigh Nel-Peters

Venezuela - Keysi Sayago

 

Best in Evening Gown

They were graceful in their evening gowns, though some of the gowns were not exactly the most beautiful. Venezuela, Philippines, Indonesia and Spain also slayed the runway in this portion. South Africa’s gown was a misstep though that might not hurt her chances at all.

These are the standouts according to pageant fans:

Australia - Olivia Rogers

Egypt - Farah Sedky

Finland - Michaela Söderholm

France - Alicia Aylies

Great Britain - Anna Burdzy

Korea - Sewhee Cho

Lebanon - Jana Sader

Malta - Tiffani Pisani

Nepal - Nagma Shrestha

Netherlands - Nicky Opheij

Poland - Katarzyna Włodarek

Russia - Ksenia Alexandrova

Sri Lanka - Christina Peiris

Tanzania - Lilian Maraule

Thailand - Maria Poonlertlarp

USA - Kára McCullough

 

Who among these beauties will be crowned Miss Universe 2017?

 

RELATED: How to vote for Philippines' Rachel Peters in Miss Universe 2017

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