Did the dress make MJ Lastimosa lose?
Given this side-by-side comparison of both gowns designed by Colombian Alfredo Barraza (left, Miss Philippines MJ Lastimosa and right, the newly crowned Miss Universe Paulina Vega of Colombia), are netizens correct in saying there was sabotage? (Photos from MissUniverse.com)

A lot have expressed their utter dismay over the disappointing loss of our Miss Universe contestant Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa.

In the days leading to the coronation night, beauty pageant experts and observers have predicted that MJ would at least land the top five, if not win the crown itself. A US ratings website even boldly forecasted that “Miss Philippines would win the Miss Universe crown.”

But, alas, she failed to make it—the first time for the Philippines since Venus Raj won 4th runner up in 2010.
Pageant followers and netizens point to one reason why her journey ended in the semis: the gowns she wore at the pageant that were designed by Colombian Alfredo Barraza. According to posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, MJ’s gowns were “trash” and “paled in comparison” to the eventual 2014 Miss Universe title holder Paulina Vega, Barraza’s compatriot. They also blamed Binibing Pilipinas pageant director Colombian Stella Marquez-Araneta, who allowed Barraza to design for the Philippines bet. Is it a conspiracy? You be the judge!