The 20 Head-to-Head Challenge Winners were announced last night during the dress rehearsal. Will the new Miss World be any of these lucky girls? Or will it be one of the 15 judges’ picks? We will soon find out!
GROUP 1 WINNER: Italy – Conny Notarstefano
Austria and Bahamas were also standouts, but it was this gymnast who struck a balance between beauty and brains. She enters the Top 40 with an additional ace up her sleeve: She placed 3rd in Talent.
GROUP 2 WINNER: Argentina – Avril Marco
Cote d’Ivoire was the most stunning, while Bolivia also gave a fine performance, but they were outran by this blue-eyed belle. Despite winning in 1960 and 1978, Argentina had to wait 29 years before achieving this feat. Congratulations to Avril for ending that drought!
GROUP 3 WINNER: Nepal – Nikita Chandak
Chile was also impressive in this round, though her overcooked responses might have been polarizing. But really, we should have seen it coming from the swarms of Nepalese flags in all the comment threads.
GROUP 4 WINNER: France – Aurore Kichenin
Jamaica seemed to have the upper-hand in the episode, so it’s both a surprise and a relief to see this gorgeous thrill-seeker advance this early.
GROUP 5 WINNER: Colombia – Maria Daza
It seemed like this round was Cook Islands’ to lose, but this Latina also exuded charm. Also, never underestimate the support of a pageant-crazy nation.
GROUP 6 WINNER: Bangladesh – Jessia Islam
Speaking of not underestimating support…While it seemed like this girl was the weakest in this group, the voting populace propelled her to her country’s first ever placement. Congratulations and welcome to the finals, Bangladesh!
GROUP 7 WINNER: Macau – Wang Lin Lan
Congratulations are also in order for this Chinese SAR. Arguably more sophisticated than the Mainland delegate, she secured Macau’s first ever placement due to Dominican Republic’s Sports victory, which begs the next question…
GROUP 8 WINNER: Mongolia – Enkjin Tseevendash
Will this girl’s Multimedia Challenge win also pave the way for Russia or Kenya to advance through this round? Or will the Judges’ telecast picks expand to 16 or more?
GROUP 9 WINNER: India – Manushi Chhillar
This was a no-brainer. But somehow, we wish she won a Fast Track – ANY Fast Track – early instead, then the equally-stunning El Salvador could have a slot.
GROUP 10 WINNER: Indonesia – Achintya Holte Nilsen
Another no-brainer. Her country just won Miss International and now they’re hungry for more crowns.
GROUP 11 WINNER: Moldova – Ana Badeneau
China will be saved by the judges anyway, but Ukraine seemed to be the most charming. In their stead, we now have Moldova’s first ever placement. Congratulations!
GROUP 12 WINNER: Guatemala – Virginia Argueta
Her Central American country has been competing since 1976, but it only started gaining ground in 2011. Props to Virginia for continuing that momentum and surpassing her 65th Miss Universe stint!
GROUP 13 WINNER: Liberia – Wokie Dolo
With Nigeria and Malta already in the Top 40, it seemed like New Zealand’s round to lose. But cue another surprise: Liberia has earned its first placement since 1999.
GROUP 14 WINNER: Venezuela – Ana Carolina Ugarte
Don’t be mad anymore, Osmel! Not only has Ana improved on her Miss Venezuela 2013 showing, she’s also ended her country’s 5-year drought.
GROUP 15 WINNER: Peru – Pamela Sanchez
Citing Maria Julia Mantilla, the last Peruvian to win and place in Miss World, as a person she looks up to may have proven to be her lucky charm. That, and her alpaca skirt.
GROUP 16 WINNER: Mexico – Andrea Meza
She shares the same classy, sophisticated vibe as her compatriot Carolina Moran, who placed 2nd Runner-Up 10 years ago, and don’t be surprised if she becomes the highest-ranking Latin this year.
GROUP 17 WINNER: Philippines – Laura Lehmann
Both her country and her camp can now rest easy knowing that Mariel De Leon has been vindicated. And it’s hard to imagine a pageant without her speaking onstage. Though expect a rematch with Miss Thailand once the judges’ votes are in.
GROUP 18 WINNER: Vietnam – Do My Linh
As expected, Spain will have to be saved by the judges. This girl has both the charisma and her country’s support. Her Beauty with the Purpose placement should give her more mileage.
GROUP 19 WINNER: Lebanon – Perla Helou
United States wasn’t expected to advance through this round, but Korea seemed to be the likely alternative. It’s great that they didn’t pass on this Lebanese beauty.
GROUP 20 WINNER: Kazakhstan – Gulbanu Azimkhan
It’s true that she was the most striking, but Cape Verde and BVI seemed to be on the cusp of an overdue breakthrough. This feels like a safe choice.