MANILA, Philippines — After a good showing in yesterday's National Costume competition, Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo continued to rock the preliminaries with her canary yellow Ema Savahl swimwear and topaz-hued Furne One-designed evening gown.
And two days to the final show, Rabiya broke the one-million mark on her Instagram account - making pageant history as the only entrant to have accomplished such a feat.
After introducing the all-star selection committee, the preliminary round started with a mini-fashion show of the candidates wearing Sherri Hill dresses. The brief exposure simply readied the girls for the next two rounds of competition.
Bursting with energy while doing her signature "Hala Bira" walk, Rabiya scorched the runway in her in custom-made bikini, to the cheers and approval of an adoring crowd.
The other standouts in the swimsuit round were Colombia's Laura Olascuaga, Dominican Republic's Kimberly Jimenez, Indonesia's RR Ayu Maulida Putri, Mexico's Andrea Meza, Nepal's Anshika Sharma, Peru's Janick Maceta del Castillo, Puerto Rico's Estefania Soto, South Africa's Natasha Joubert, Thailand's Amanda Obdam, USA' s Asya Branch and Venezuela's Mariangel Villasmil. Uruguay's Lola de los Santos was the only contestant who made a minor trip while doing her pasarela.
Some countries frequent their winning streaks, while others lose steam and fizzle out from the competition.
Earlier yesterday, Rabiya aced the closed-door panel interview, wearing Ram Silva's immaculate pear-encrusted creation with Pia Wurtzbach's earrings.
"Hello, everybody! So, I just did my closed-door interview. To be honest, at first, I was shaking - my hands were shaking! But when I was there, everybody was so funny. They were, like, making me laugh. And I rapped! Can you imagine that I rapped? I did an Eminem in front of these judges and two of them were former Miss Universe. I did it guys, I did it!" gushed a beaming Rabiya in a social media post.
As reaction to the whole National Costume ruckus online, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, in a social media post, said that "Rabiya Mateo does not need to apologize. She worked the stage and PER-FORMED. National Costume is a segment to celebrate culture and a country's identity but not a part of scoring towards the crown. Kaya, laban lang, Queen!"
And, "Laban!" our queen did, who looked resplendent in her topaz-colored, form-enhancing beaded evening gown with a bustle train. The Furne Amato creation echoed the color of her swimwear. In a pageant of this magnitude, a color scheme is a crucial detail, as it reflects consistency and direction.
The other standouts in the evening gown show were Cameroon's Angele Kossinda, Canada's Nova Stevens, Colombia's Laura Olascuaga, Curacao's Chantal Wiertz, Dominican Republic's Kimberly Jimenez, Jamaica's Miqueal Simone, Mexico's Andrea Meza, Nicaragua's Ana Marcelo, Puerto Rico's Estefania Soto, Thailand's Amanda Obdam, and Venezuela's Mariangel Villasmil. Ukraine's Yelyzabeta Yasyremskaya nearly slipped during her catwalk.
In the break between the two categories, the Miss Universe Organization showed reigning queen Zozibini Tunzi in her last photo shoot, before relinquishing her crown to the next winner.
Since its nascence in 1952, participating countries at the Miss Universe competition have always strove to, at least, make it to the semi-final round. While a few seemed like perennial favorites, a huge number still have to earn their first Top 20 selection vote.
Here are the top 20 countries with the most number of Top 20 placements from 1952 through 2019.
1) United States of America - 62
2) Venezuela - 42
3) Brazil - 38
4) Colombia - 34
5) Sweden - 29
6) Philippines - 24
7) South Africa - 24
8] India - 23
9) Puerto Rico - 22
10) France - 20
11) Germany - 20
12) Israel 20
13) Mexico - 20
14) Peru - 20
15) Australia - 19
16) Japan - 19
17) Canada - 19
18) England -19
19) Fnland - 18
20) Spain - 13
After the preliminary round unfolded, who do you think will make it to the Top 20? And who will be the lucky candidate to win the 21st spot from the online fan votes?
In a few hours, we will know the answers.
Hosted by reigning queen Zozibini Tunzi and Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Tebow, both from South Africa, the preliminary competition was beamed live on the Lazada and iQiyi apps as well as on the live coverages on Miss Universe's social media channels on YouTube, Facebook and IGTV.
Catch the live coverage of the 69th Miss Universe edition over the A2Z channel 11 network on Monday, May 17, at 8 in the morning.