Did the stars just align for Catriona Gray to win the Miss Universe crown? » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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Did the stars just align for Catriona Gray to win the Miss Universe crown?





Few days shy from the much-anticipated coronation night of Miss Universe 2018, fans worldwide are especially excited over the announcement of major, major changes in the pageant.

Exactly 94 aspiring queens are readying themselves to slay the stage according to a new “format” bared by the Miss Universe organization.

Philippine representative Catriona Gray herself confirmed the matter via Instagram Live video posted Tuesday, revealing she and her fellow candidates were already briefed about it.

The new format will see the candidates trimmed initially to the top 20 – five representatives from Europe, five from Asia and Africa, five from North and South America and also five slots for the “wild card” candidates. Last year, only 16 aspiring queens were left standing from the first cut.

The top 20 will then have a 15-second statement until the judges cut them down to 10. The Philippines has an impressive track record in the pageant world, always making it to the top 10, at the very least, so it won’t be surprising to see Catriona on the list.

There is no live voting this year. In the past, public votes helped determine one of the candidates who would make it into the top 12.



Filipinos have actively participated the online voting in show of support to the country’s representative.

The remaining ladies will then compete in the gown and swimsuit rounds, which would eventually yield the top 5.

The top 5 will do a Q&A to determine the final 3. After which, the three aspiring queens will try to answer one question that can change their lives forever.

If Catriona makes it to the top 3, many believe she can nail the Q&A portion effortlessly, the same way she did in the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 pageant.

On having an interpreter (like what Maxine Medina did in the Miss Universe 2016 pageant), pageant blogger/coach Norman Tiñio said in an interview on “Umagang Kay Ganda,” that he sees no problem should Catriona get one on Dec. 17, finals night, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Interpreters are usually availed by non-English speakers like the representatives from Latin America. Since Catriona is a Filipino-Australian, she speaks English fluently.



“It’s an advantage for her,” said Nicole Cordoves in the same interview. She is Catriona’s good friend who also served as one of her coaches.

Nicole noted one of the most crucial parts of the pageant is the preliminary competition, which happens tomorrow, Dec. 13.

In it, the judges will have a closed-door interview with the contestants.

Based on the experience of Ariella Arida, Miss Universe 2013 third runner-up, the judges usually ask personal questions.

“They (judges) really want personality more than the beauty. During the interview, you have to be charming, you have to make yourself interesting in their eyes,” she explained.

Nicole revealed she advised Catriona to be spontaneous during the interview.

“The one-on-one interview is really different. It has different content unlike the Q&A portion on stage, wherein you have to be articulate all the time,” she explained. “With this one, you shouldn’t rundown your personal life like it’s a resume. Your answers should come from your heart.”



The Miss Grand International 2016 first runner-up expounded, “In Catriona’s case, the challenge is to humanize her because she has that ‘dyosa’ aura, so we advised her to be more relatable. Show her other side, like she also has fears despite standing strong in front of the judges.”

Early this week, MUO President Paula M. Shugart confirmed the inclusion of renowned Filipino designer Monique Lhuillier on the judge’s panel. Also for the first time, the 2018 juries are all composed of women to serve as role model for the contestants.

Catriona has been consistently included in the “hot picks,” listed by Miss Universe fans and critics all over the globe.

Will Catriona clinch the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe crown? Did the stars just align in her favor with these changes ?

We pray.

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