Miss Mexico: Jimena Navarrete (+700)
Oddsmakers consider this dark-haired beauty a solid favorite to walk away with this yearâ€™s honors. Wikipediatells me Navarrete was studying nutrition before she realized sheâ€™s drop-dead gorgeous and doesnâ€™t have to bore herself with education. Thatâ€™s for ugly people.
There hasnâ€™t been a Mexican winner since 1991 but Navarrete has got a great chance to snap drought. I mean, look at this girl. They donâ€™t come any hotter.
Miss Russia: Irina Antonenko (+700)
Okay, here weâ€™re talking about a lady whoâ€™s just classically beautiful. Itâ€™s like she should be starring opposite Humphrey Bogart on the silver screen.
I read a story saying she took home $100,000 in prize money for winning the Miss Russia pageant. Normally, that type of monetary cushion would deter me from backing her, but since 100,000 rubles is only like $3280 in the U.S., I think sheâ€™ll still be hungry for the main event.
Miss Ireland: Rozanna Purcell (+750)
This is your pick if you like bad girls. Purcell is taking heat for some topless pictures she took leading up to the competition. I donâ€™t get why everyoneâ€™s bent out of shape about it. We all know that topless pictures are classy as long as youâ€™ve got body paint on, and she did.
Besides the Miss Universe committee approved the photo shoot and, when you really thing about it, Purcell was just showing off some of herâ€¦ ehemmâ€¦ physical attributes.
Miss USA: Rima Fakih (+750)
Okay, so Fakih is probably the first Lebanese-born Muslim to win Miss USA. And while you might think her religion would hold her back from showing off the goods, youâ€™d be dead wrong.
The 24-year-old is just as comfortable strutting her stuff on stage as she is wrapped around a stripper pole. You heard me right. Fakih won a pole dancing contest in 2007 as part of a Detroit radio stationâ€™s â€œStripper 101â€ challenge.
Now thatâ€™s a special talent.
Back to the handicapping. Fakih has a degree in economics and is planning on going to law school after her pageant days are over. That means sheâ€™ll be able to handle herself when it comes to the question period.
Miss Venezuela: Marelisa Gibson (+750)
Apologies Ms. Gibson but Iâ€™m ruling you out right away. The last two Miss Universes have come from Venezuela and a natural hat trick just isnâ€™t going to happen. Look, itâ€™s not a reflection on you. Youâ€™re smoking hot and Iâ€™m sure youâ€™re sharp as a tack too.
But back-to-back-to-back jacks for Venezuela? Not happening. Call it the Steve Nash rule.
Miss Columbia: Natalia Navarro (+900)
Not much info floating out there about this Colombian bombshell. Hereâ€™s what I can tell you: Sheâ€™s 23 years old and taking finances at Florida International University.
I guess thereâ€™s a lot of press coverage in Columbia on the national pageant, so she should be used to the spotlight.
You remember that Roxette song She’s Got The Look? Navarro has the same look the Swedish band was talking about.
Miss France: Malika MÃ©nard (+900)
Donâ€™t you just get the impression from Menard right away that sheâ€™s someone you can take home to mom but is just a frigging demon in the sack? I know I do.
Turns out my instincts were right. She told Donald Trump and the rest of the Miss Universe organizers to go pound sand when they asked if she would participate in the topless, body paint photo shoot.
That could win her some points with some of the judges.
Miss Philippines: Venus Raj (+900)
Hereâ€™s my showstopper.
Some other things to know about this 22-year-old neck twister:
Sheâ€™s well practiced. She works as a part-time model and has been entering beauty pageants since she was 17.
There was a national uproar when Raj was stripped of her Miss Philippines title because of an error on her passport. The backlash was big enough that the organization let her reclaim the title just days later.
Miss Australian: Jesinta Campbell (+1200)
Age might be working against this girl from down under. Campbell is only 18 and while her mom will argue that Jesinta is mature beyond her years, she still stumbled badly during the question period of the Aussie pageant.
Iâ€™m pegging her as a longshot despite her knockout looks.
Miss Brazil: DÃ©bora Lyra (+1500)
Suddenly I feel the urge to take an extended vacation to South American. Lyra is the third Latin American lady in betUSâ€™s top 10 list of favorites for Mondayâ€™s spectacle.
Lyra would be a feel-good story if she won this yearâ€™s Miss Universe. She started modeling when she was 8 years old and reportedly started dreaming about becoming Miss Brazil by the time she turned 12.
I love ending on a sappy note.