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One contestant I always really liked was Nicaragua, Xiomara Blandino, at Miss Universe 2007. That was a somewhat weird pageant for me, but I always thought Xiomara was a breath of fresh air. I didn't love her evening gown, but I was still really taken with her.
She is called into the Top 15 at around 1:25 in this video.
[> Subject: Through the years, there were a lot on my list. My answers are based from the previous decade and I selected just one in each category. I think Great Britain was under appreciated and should have moved into the top 5 in 2013 (replacing Brazil). Belgium was under appreciated in 2015 and should have moved into the top 10 (replacing Japan).
[> Subject: I'll add 3 more: (1) Telma Sonhi (Angola '04), one of my soft spots that year. I was thrilled when she made it! I'll never forget her close-up on the MU site. She was a very under-the-radar delegate throughout her stay in Ecuador but had the most endearing personality and lovely smile. Her aura reminded me of Yulia Lemigova (USSR '91). Loved her!! (2) Elena Ralph (Israel '05), who flew completely under the radar for me. I remember noticing her beautiful face in her Fadil shot, but I didn't have her on my list. Well, was I surprised! I loved her energy and natural beauty. She could easily have made the next cut, but the top 5 were very deserving. (3) Laura Goncalves (Portugal '11), a sentimental favourite. I noticed her early on for her stunning face and excellent communication skills but had her bubbling under after prelims. Again, I was very surprised during finals! She definitely deserved more appreciation and will always be remembered as Portugal's first semi-finalist at MU.