MANILA — Amid the buzz surrounding Rabiya Mateo’s performance in the Miss Universe national costume show, pageantologists and beauty queens reminded the public that it will have no bearing in Mateo’s final scores in the pageant.
“National costume is not a factor in the prelims scoring. It’s categorized as a special award, showcasing the diversity and culture of candidates and their countries,” veteran Pinoy pageantologist Ameer Gamama of Missosology told ABS-CBN News. “Hindi siya kasama sa criteria for top 21 finalists.”
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray said as much in her comment supporting Mateo.
Reacting to Mateo’s apology to “disappointed” fans, Gray wrote: “@rabiyamateo does not need to apologize! She worked that stage and PER-FORMED [clapping emoji] National costume is a segment to celebrate culture and a country’s identity, but isn’t a part of the scoring towards the crown. Kaya laban lang, Queen!”
Miss Grand International 2020 first runner-up Samantha Bernardo also stressed that unlike her recent pageant, where performance in the national costume was part of the judges’ scores, the same has no bearing at Miss Universe.
“Ang daming pagsubok ni Rabiya, pero kayang-kaya niya niyan,” Bernardo told ABS-CBN News.
Veteran pageantologist and international beauty contest judge Norman Tinio also told ABS-CBN News that the national costume show does not factor in the final judging.
“Preliminary scores for the top 21 slots will be based on the closed-door question-and-answer sessions with judges, swimwear and evening gown presentation,” he explained.
One slot has been reserved for the candidate with the highest number of fan votes online.
Tinio also released to ABS-CBN News his prospective list of top 12 candidates. It includes the delegates of India, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Philippines, Curaçao, Romania, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and Czech Republic.
Tinio stressed, however, that the list may change depending on the performance of the 74 candidates in the preliminaries this weekend.
Mateo is also still in the latest round of top picks of the Missosology panel. Gamama said their top 10 list, as of now, includes the representatives of Puerto Rico, Romania, Venezuela, India, Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica , Brazil, and Vietnam.
They are followed by representatives of Thailand, Australia, Jamaica, Peru, Czech Republic, Nepal, Colombia, France, Cambodia, Curaçao, and Ukraine.
In the online talk show of Miss Universe skin care partner Olivia Quido on Friday in Hollywood, Florida, Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup and Miss Universe 2014 top 10 finalist MJ Lastimosa emphasized that the preliminary rounds are the crucial point in selecting the top candidates.
“This is where you have to convince the judges that you deserve to advance forward,” Supsup said.
“Especially for the Philippines, we’re near the end of the lineup,” Lastimosa added, referring to the alphabetical order of countries. “It’s important to reset the stage again to impress the judges.”
Supsup and Lastimosa have praised Mateo’s grit and strong showing in the pageant’s events so far.