Miss Universe Preview: The Favorites

The finale of the Miss Universe pageant is only nine days away, and betting is starting to get heavy. I wrote about a few of my favorite contestants, including Miss USA, here. With the betting odds firming up, it is time to check out the favorites.

Currently in first place is Miss Colombia, Andrea Tovar, at 4-1. After last year’s fiasco, when Miss Colombia was mistakenly crowned the winner only to have to yield the crown to Miss Philippines, Colombia perhaps has the honor coming. I featured Miss Tovar in my previous post, but here is another photo. She could well be the winner:

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Second in the current betting is Valeria Piazza, Miss Peru. (No relation, as far as I know, to Mike Piazza, recently voted into the Hall of Fame. Certainly no physical resemblance.)

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The linked betting site lists Lenty Frans, Miss Belgium, as the number three contender at 13-2. This is puzzling as Miss Frans is not Miss Belgium in the Miss Universe contest. She recently competed for Belgium at Miss World. The actual Miss Belgium is Stephanie Geldhof, whom I also featured in my prior post. I hope those bettors aren’t wagering a lot of money. Here, once again, is Miss Geldhof:

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The Miss Universe site has been revamped within the past few days. The new site is harder to navigate and includes hardly any pictures. This wouldn’t be happening if Donald Trump still owned the pageant! This is the only photo on the Miss Universe site of the fourth most heavily-bet contestant, Miss Nicaragua, Marina Jacoby:

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A few moments on Google Images can improve on that portrait:

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So far this year’s Miss Universe pageant hasn’t generated much news. No real scandals, no recent terrorist threats–although we did note last August that the Islamic State has threatened to bomb the pageant, which will take place in Manila. For those who don’t think much of beauty pageants: if ISIS hates them, they must have some merit.

Candidly, I don’t think this year’s field is as strong as some. That may be why bettors are heavily favoring the traditionally successful Latin American countries. Miss Puerto Rico, Brenda Jimenez, is currently number five at 8-1, which means that I inadvertently featured three of the top five in my initial roundup. Here is another photo of Miss Jimenez:

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All worthy contenders, no doubt, but I still think the judges could do worse than to select Miss Guam, Muneka Joy Cruz Taisipic:

Miss Guam Muneka Joy Cruz Taisipic blows

More to come. In the meantime, here is a swimsuit preview. Take that, ISIS!

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