Last night I decided to tune in and watch Miss America. I have watched the pageant almost my entire life. I had read for weeks Miss South Carolina’s Ali Rogers was the hands down favorite. Even the odds makers in Las Vegas had her as the favorite (even though you can’t legally bet). So with all the hype and expecting a good competition I settled down in front of the television in eager anticipation.
The show seemed to start out alright. The first 10 contestants emerged from the Las Vegas Sign Museum. As I watched I couldn’t help but notice none of the woman could dance. Now normally we would see one or two that can’t keep up but all of them? Next we watched the contestant introductions from various venues in Las Vegas. When I saw the rooftop of the Rio and characters from Cirque de Soleil, Vegas managed to get in free advertising. The views alone were enough to make want you to pack your bag for your next vacation.
I’m used to seeing Miss America’s of past days coming out wearing matching cute dresses. Instead what we got was a group of women in super casual wear (some even wore jeans) parading around on the stage.
Finally, it was time for the announcements of the 15 finalists. I scratched my head wondering why 15? Seems like a lot. One by one, the lucky contestants that made the cut came down with the surprised faces and screaming family members and fans. Then there was a big surprise. For the very first time judges picked a 16th finalist. My first thought there must have been a tie. It was never explained. Of course, the 16th contestant acted surprised when she heard her name called to join the other 15 finalists.
There was barely enough time for the home audience to see who actually made the cut because the host hurried the women off the stage to go get dressed for the swimsuit competition. Now this part of the pageant I have never liked. Every year there is some sort of controversy about women parading around in the swimsuit. The little I did watch (I used this as a time to get snacks) these women had bodies that were completely uneventful. I don’t recall any fake breasts or overly muscular bodies.
The next segment took us to the evening gown. When the first woman came on to the stage I knew there was a problem. See, in years past Miss America usually had a singer serenading the woman as they showed off their gowns. Instead we watched the women who were not selected forced to sit on the stage in their casual wear to watch the finalist show off their gowns. In earlier years all the women donned their gowns. Somewhat disappointing not only for the audience but I’m sure for the women as well. I know the contestants spent a lot of money on their gowns. Participating in pageants is not cheap. At the very least perhaps these contestants should have received the chance to show off the gowns. But hey what do I know.
Speaking of gowns, I don’t know who or how the contestants selected the gowns they wore. One gown looked like a wedding dress. Most of the dresses did not fit properly on some of the women nor did the dress compliment them. Did they not have these dresses altered?
The show only went downhill from here. The talent competition was by far the worst I have ever seen. The first talent, baton twirling all she did was very basic baton twirling. I know because I used to twirl so I know the moves. Then there were the “singers”. I believe it’s safe to say none would have made the first cut on American Idol. The tweets on Twitter back this statement up.
Then there were the tap routines. While it was cute (if you are 5 years old) I certainly wasn’t impressed.
Then the unthinkable happened. The camera moves over to the contestants who were not selected and the big announcement came. The women were hungry. They were so busy preparing for the pageant they didn’t have time to eat.
Okay, I’m from Las Vegas, the culinary capital of the world. There are several restaurants and food courts in and around Planet Hollywood. The hotel itself has some fine eating establishments and you mean to say these women went hungry?
To satisfy the hunger, a man appears on stage with a huge tray of doughnuts. I believe the waiter was to look like he was offering a doughnut to the hungry beauty queens (a joke) but it didn’t work. I actually saw a contestant grab a doughnut off the tray and the camera caught her holding it with a “I wonder if I should have done that look”? All I could do was shake my head and think wow, this is a hot mess.
Next, it was time for questions from the judges. By now I had tuned out and started doing other things when it was time my favorite, Miss Iowa to answer her question. Miss Iowa, Mariah Cary (that was really her name), question was to explain her opinion on marijuana being legal now in some states. She was nailing it with a good answer until she made the fatal mistake and said “she only supports the use of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes”. Again, I took to Twitter and the tweets seem to come 1000 per minute. Ouch.
At that moment Miss Iowa sealed her fate! She wasn’t going to win.
It was finally time to announce the winner. Former Miss America Laura Kaeppeler (at least this tradition wasn’t changed) came out to the stage to give her farewell speech and thanking the organization for her wonderful year. Was it her or the dress? The dress was an awful choice for her.
Then it was time for the grand finale. We all know by now Miss South Carolina did not win. The coveted prize went to Miss New York’s Mallory Hagan.
After the show was over I took to Twitter and began reading the tweets. I felt somewhat vindicated knowing some people felt the same way I did.
Today I am asking myself a lot of questions. I’d like to know what happened to the Miss America organization? As a girl and young woman I dreamed of being Miss America one day. I would practice the “walk” many times through the years. I read in the news this morning this was the highest watched Miss America pageant in recent years. (Probably because it’s not being shown on CMT – remember the year that happened). Probably more telling than anything this year’s show lacked diversity. There were more blonde haired women in this year’s pageant than I ever remember. Also, there wasn’t any one woman who stood out, except for Miss Iowa. She was a brown-haired beauty that had a beautiful natural smile. Sadly though, I think she had the name thing against her and really messed up with her question.
I know Miss America has gone through a lot of problems over the past few years. The brand has been sharply criticized by feminists, women’s organizations and the public in general. There is the loss of sponsors. It is fitting the pageant be telecast from the Las Vegas Strip. The city needs the advertising and the revenue to bring back the tourism. There is just one problem: the show is always associated with Donald’s Trumps Miss Universe franchise. The pageants are different like night and day.
I kind of chuckled to myself last night when I heard the big sponsor was Amway. I didn’t even know Amway still existed. I’d say many people were scratching their heads wondering what Amway is.
The reality is the show is no longer relevant. While the winner walks away with a $50,000 scholarship package there was no mention from any of the contestants about their educational pursuits. Only the platform they will work for. While that is admirable, the pageant has always been about education. Think smart, intelligent young women who attend college.
I hope the Miss America Organization reads the posts on social media. What they tried to do didn’t work this year.
If it’s any comfort when the winner was taking her walk I hummed the words to the song made famous by Bert Parks, there she is, Miss America….