Aside from funerals, pageants are perhaps the most superstitious endeavor of man. If you read blogs and forums long enough, you will notice several beliefs far-fetched but, amazingly, historically grounded.
In Miss Universe, there is apparently a bias for the girl whose name ends with an “a,” because since Dayana in 2008, all winners’ names ended with an “a.” Some also note that a country that gets a first runner-up finish one year may likely win the crown the next, as USA (1953-54), Australia (1971-72), Canada (1981-82), Puerto Rico (2005-06) and Japan (2006-07). Not once have we heard pageant camps design a candidate’s wardrobe around her “element.”
These come from the urge to better predict whether a candidate will place at the pageant. For Filipinos, the most essential question now is: Does Maxine Medina stand a chance?
Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz said “No,” an answer that shook the pageant world. She noted Medina’s chances were “one in a million.”
She did clarify that she was not doubting the Philippine delegate’s abilities, only the political scandal that would ensue if we win this year—“It will be a shock” (as Olivia Culpo’s victory in 2012, a reference we cannot let go because mesheket).
Safe was Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s response to the issue, during a side event at Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas.
“You know, there are 86 candidates and I think all of them have an equal chance of winning the crown,” she said. “The place doesn’t matter. A back-to-back has happened before.”
That’s basically 1-in-86, right?
We didn’t stop at quotes, though. After weeks of obsessing about facts and a failed attempt at mastering odds and probabilities, we list data that might just inform your own deductions about Maxine’s chances.
 The hometown girl has won the crown seven times. See Table 1. However, she has also been snubbed in 15 editions.
 A back-to-back win at Miss Universe happened once, with Venezuela’s Dayana Mendoza and Stefania Fernandez in 2008-09. In three other instances was a country so close, the delegate ultimately finishing second: 1994-95 (India); 1996-97 (Venezuela); 2014-15 (Colombia). Pray hard, mga ’teh.
 At Miss Universe, the strongest sash factor—when delegates get a boost because of the country they represent—are with USA, Venezuela and Philippines, per Sash Factor. To see these territories’ all-time performance, refer to Table 2.
 Has a single country won the crown multiple times within one decade? Yes. At Miss Universe, it has happened in every decade but the 1970s. USA won two titles each in the 1950s, 1960s and 1990s. Venezuela got double victories in the 1980s and 2000s. So has Puerto Rico after winning in 2001 and 2006. Can Maxine do it for the Philippines within this decade?
 Pia’s determination made it possible for her to bequeath the Miss Universe crown in her homeland. It has happened 11 times before this edition. Has the girl that represented the host country fared well? Results are mixed. Oh no. See Table 3.