Cup of the Americas/Copa de las Americas - 2011
¡Ninel - Numero Uno!
She's a familiar name in Mexico, for everything from pop albums to telenovelas to the national version of Big Brother. But Ninel Conde admittedly was a new name to us, when she was recommended for the 2011 Cup of the Americas. The best "G-rated" picture we could find of her hair (if you know what we mean) didn't seem like the best, due to blue stage lighting. But a great hairstyle can shine through anything -- and Conde did, to win "La Copa" for Mexico!
The United States had won two Cups of the Americas in a row, and every international tournament it entered since 2003. But "La Bombon Asesino" put that run to death, by crushing the curls of U.S. contender Alyson Footer in the final with a 77-percent majority. Conde finished strongly after starting slowly with a Match 1 draw against Panama.
Some Hair Fans thought the real "top two" contenders met in the semifinal round, when Conde conquered Colombia's contender. Shakira had to settle for third place, dominating Dominican Republic favorite Amelia Vega with 89 percent of the votes in a Consolation Final which was a rematch of group play.
We searched for the country with the best hair in North America, South America and the Caribbean -- with each country represented by only one woman. After a month of open nominations, a live drawing for Cup groups, two national qualifying weeks and six weeks of round-robin matches, three group champions and a "wild card" advanced to the playoffs....
RED GROUP/GRUPO ROJO
MEXICO: Ninel Conde.
A pop singer won a qualifying round over 2007 finalist Jacky Bracamontes, then overcame an early draw to win a closely-matched group.
Conde 9 points, Venezuela (Stefania Fernandez) 5, Brazil (Gisele Bundchen) 4, Panama (Jordana Brewster) 1.
BLUE GROUP/GRUPO AZUL
UNITED STATES: Alyson Footer.
The Houston Astros blogger and "Best Curls" Crown Award winner was the surprise survivor of a four-way qualifying fight, then overcame three better-known names.
United States 10 points, Canada (Avril Lavigne) 8, Puerto Rico (Maria Celeste Arrarás) 5, Barbados (Rihanna) 0.
GREEN GROUP/GRUPO VERDE
After failing to win a match in the 2003 Cup, the pop/rock star rolled up big scores this time to claim the top overall seed. But as so often happens in our tournaments, the #1 seed missed the final.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Amelia Vega.
A former Miss Universe and current model/entertainer, she captured the wild card with a dominating Match 6 win.
Colombia 14 points, Dominican Republic 10, Antigua & Berbuda (Sharon Tazewell) 5, Jamaica (Yendi Phillipps) 0.
For results, standings and a match schedule, click here.
SUPER-HAIR NATIONAL RANKINGS, AFTER CUP OF THE AMERICAS 2011:
1. Mexico 2. United States 3. Lithuania 4. Colombia 5. Greece
6. Iran 7. Dominican Republic 8. Belgium 9. Canada 10. Spain
11. Netherlands 12. Australia 13. Kuwait 14. Venezuela 15. China
Some flags courtesy ITA's Flags of All Countries; used with permission
Past Cups of the Americas: 2007 2003
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