Dear Pageant Girl,

So here we are in Vegas, and as per the Miss Universe 1996 anthem, yes the feeling is indeed electric.

The events and parties have been fun, and while we havent had much of an opportunity to see the girls, what will make this trip most memorable, especially for us that are here, are the fans.

I have never seen a crazier bunch of people in my life.


Over the last 36 hours we (myself, DPG VIC, DPG QLD, DPG Craig and DPG USA Paula) have been watching and monitoring the girls and after much deliberation, blood, sweat and tears we have finally come up with our Top 16.

This was one of the most painful processes but it had to be done.  Some girls had to be left out of the list, so for those who did not make the list, we wish you luck and nothing would make us happier than you proving us wrong on finals night.

And so with less than 24 hours to spare below is the official DPG Top 16 list in no particular order.  How does it compare to yours?  We wont be telling you who we think will win – all the girls deserve to win and Im sure whoever wins tomorrow night will be deserving of the title.

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Many people will be rolling their eyes but the reality is (and bias aside) Renae is probably our strongest competitor to date since Rachael Finch. Her body rivals that of Laura Csortan and her years as a dancer and model has served her well. You can’t argue with the fact that whenever Renae is on stage you just cant take your eyes off her.  Her strong commercial look will be an asset to the Miss Universe Organisation.  Can she win the crown? We will find out on the night!

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Sure she stumbled a couple of times during evening gown competition and she doesnt deliver the best interview but we can’t deny the fact that China has turned it right up again this year. This girl too has amazing stage presence and works that runway like it was nobody else’s business.  She mustve delivered one of the most memorable interviews; “I want to be friends with a tiger.”  Bless. Definitely one of the stronger Asian representatives. So what’s this I hear that Miss Universe may be heading to Asia next year?  Hmmmmm…..

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We were unanimous when it came to Croatia. This girl is pure class all the way. Hands down one of our favourite evening gown performances of all time. Croatia has been making a mark in the last few years, can she take it all this year?  Watch out for this one…

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Despite what we have heard and what we have seen here in Vegas no one can deny the fact that Janine is a pro and is here to win. Yes she may come across as a tad overcooked and distant but the girl has a great look, a memorable walk and an incredible support system. With Philippines losing to Mexico a couple of weeks ago in the boxing ring, the Filipinos are counting on Janine to bring honour back to the country by bringing home the Miss Universe crown. No young woman should have that kind of pressure put on her.  We wish her luck.

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Bodine has been on everyone’s radar for an entire year and yes, she has been en pointe from Day 1. This girl is fierce. Admittedly she has had some of the gloss rub off here in Vegas with so many amazing girls but she has stood her ground and will no doubt make the Puerto Ricans proud.  One thing I noticed though is that Bodine is incredibly photogenic – she will be a successful model regardless of what happens.

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Personally, I couldnt stand Venezuela when I saw her crowned.  THERE. I SAID IT.  But watching this girl the last few days, she has converted me and I am not officially part of her fan club.  Irene has an amazing body and possibly one of the most endearing girls to hit the stage.  Venezuelans are known to be cold hard competitors but there is something very warm, fresh and natural with this girl. She has a Jennifer Hawkins vibe to her and some people say she can take it all.

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We LOVE Kimberley. I hate her gown but I have to say, Kimberley had the most amazing transformation since being crowned Miss Malaysia. I used to think she looked far too similar to Thailand, but it was a different woman who arrived in Vegas.  We are loving her tanned complexion and her new and improved body! Im not sure if she will win as I think she seems to pale next to Janine, but we would be surprised if another strong contender from Malaysia misses out on making the semis. Congratulations to Andrea Fonseka with her work on Kimberley.

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BAM!!!  Everything about this girl is marketable and without a doubt will make the ideal Miss Universe. Looks, personality, intelligence. Melinda is by far the strongest candidate South Africa has sent to Miss Universe. Possibly the biggest threat to Australia’s chances it would be good to see both blondes as top 2 (we havent seen two blondes battle it out since 2004). South Africa was another unanimous decision for all of us.

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I personally detested Mexico’s evening gown but it would be good to see Mexico up there with Philippines and have two battle it out on the beauty stage. She works that stage like a pro and has a fabulous figure. Lupita sure knows what she’s doing with Karina.

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Admittedly I paid no attention to Tamar until preloms when this girl burned the runway and WORKED that dress! She completely took my breath away and is the couture diva of the pageant. Not sure about her interview but it would be wonderful to see Georgia up there in the semis.

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Marie for me gave the most endearing interviews. She has a quiet elegance on stage and has a presence about her that is very…royal. One of the sweetest girls in the competition, we want Marie to make it because we actually like her!!!   She would make a very sweet Miss Universe.

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One of the most beautiful faces in the competition I originally (and still do) wanted to leave her off the list but DPG QLD, VIC and Kooey fought for Diana. I hated her styling during prelims but she is undeniably beautiful.  If Kosovo doesnt make it into the semis her supporters have promised to buy me a cocktail each.  I’m already preparing myself by drinking lots of water.

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If Yendi looked like Beyonce, Chantal looks like Solange. This girl from Queens is FIERCE.  Jamaica divided the DPG camp but because Im the boss, Im putting her into the list (I had to sacrifice Colombia to get Jamaica in).  Here’s hoping Jamaica doesnt disappoint.

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One of the stronger blondes of the competition and a pleasant surprise. Paraguay turned it up this year and as a result booted off this list some of the usual suspects from Latin America. We think she’s top 5 material….

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Nothing would make us happier than Talia winning Miss Universe if our girl doesn’t make  it through. We knew Talia was pretty prior to coming to Vegas but seeing this girl work the stage and talk the talk we have fallen head over heels in love with our Tasman sister! We will definitely be cheering for Talia on finals night!  Hopefully the prelim judges know what theyre doing and put Talia through to the semis at least.  The best delegate from NZ in YEARS. Good luck New Zealand!

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The most controversial inclusion in our Top 16.  Personally I think USA will be excluded from the semis but my fellow DPG staffers have fought for Olivia’s inclusion.  Despite a good interview and having one of the most beautiful faces in the competition, Olivia has been a non-event for me here in Vegas. Her choice of evening gown for the preliminaries was questionable (why would a young lady age herself like that?).  I do believe that other candidates such as Poland, St Lucia, Tanzania, Bahamas, Belgium and Sri Lanka are more deserving of this spot, but we are a democracy here in DPG Land and nothing would make me happier than Olivia proving me wrong.  Olivia, I do like you,  and being Renae’s roomie makes you family.  Im normally not a subscriber to the “sash factor” theory, but I will make an exception this time…

Watch this space closely as we cover the finals at Planet Hollywood!