I can remember when I was child just how exciting watching the Miss America pageant was. (Of course, a lot of things excited me as a child that don't any more. Eg. Sean Cassidy, Mark Hamel, McDonalds. grin) I didn't follow it per se, but when it was on, we certainly watched it. Perhaps my parents thought it was lame. Well, I do remember my dad and mom making commentary and often disagreeing with the judges about who went through. There weren't a lot of options as far as what to watch back then, but still it was a big deal. I hadn't watched one in years until a few weeks ago.
Now I know why.
When did it become so lame? Remember when the young women were actually pretty and less, um, plastic? Remember when they didn't have past winners talking about their high heel shoes and plugging the sponsor? (And the Miss America shoe line is ghastly! You'd have to kill me to get a pair of those on me. Even then, my corpse might spontaneously combust in protest. Of course, I'm not a fan of high heels, but I can admire well-designed shoes. But I digress...) Seriously, remember when the contestants could choose their bathing suits? Something must have happened because now they don't have any options, really. Just a few choices between one black bikini and another. No personality. Pretty soon, the contestants blurred into the same person with varying skin tones and hair color. Even those differences didn't make it any easier to tell them apart.
There was one--Miss Delaware--who had lost her hair when she was very young, so she wore a wig all of the time, except when she was home. At home, she just liked to sit around with her family with her wig off. I know this because they showed us a video of her doing it, and she played that bald card as long as she could. Now, I admit that it's great she hasn't let something like this keep her from pursuing her dreams, but, honestly, had I heard about her hairless state one more time, I would have puked. She made it all the way to the talent round where the judges cut her. Thank God! She had on en pointe shoes and proceeded to cavort about the stage like a three-year-old child pretending to do ballet for the first time. It was...pathetic.
Another of the contestants chose to sing Nessun dorma. For those of you unfamiliar with Nessun dorma, it is a very famous Puccini tenor aria from Turandot. It's glorious when sung by a tenor. Not so much by a soprano. She should fire whoever advised her to sing that. Any voice coach with a shred of knowledge would have given her something else. I am sure they just pulled it out of a "famous aria" book. One word: painful.
Only Miss Arkansas had any talent, and she didn't win. She was first runner-up and was a decent ventriloquist, yodeling with her mouth closed. The seventeen-year-old who did win played the piano. Eh, she was okay, but kind of sloppy. Honestly, for that level of competition, I expected more from all of them.
The funniest part of the competition came during the evening gown section. The gowns were what one would expect to see, some more flattering than others. No, no one tripped, although that would have been somewhat funny, if humiliating. No, instead, little bubbles popped up on the screen with information about the contestant as she promenaded across the stage. For instance, Miss Hawaii ate termites in Uganda and is a princess in a small Cameroon village. (HAHAHAHAHAHA) Another contestant once saved a child while on lifeguard duty. (Really? You didn't save an entire family and their beloved pet hamster, Roxie? Only one child. How disappointing!)
Charlie and I were cracking up at these bubbles. Can you guess what Miss Delaware's bubble would say? Perhaps something like: Once in an emergency situation, I used my wig to stamp out a fire and saved our family farm. (Okay, I'm being cruel, but I'm not too far off the mark, and it did mention something about milking a cow on the farm while getting a manicure. Okay, not the manicure thingy, but it was that ridiculous.) I don't know who came up with the idea, but, um, they need to nix it and fast. It pushed the competition past lame and into farcical.
Now that I've dissed on the Miss America Pageant organization, I do have one good thing to say: they provide more scholarship money to young women than any other. The winner is awarded not just the crown, but a $100,000 scholarship. I'm not sure what the runner-ups get, but it's a goodly sum as well. And all of those pageants leading up to this one also award something like $5,000 for the local ones and $25,000 for the state level. (Perhaps more, I really don't know.) I knew someone who competed in them. They helped pay for her education. So, that's good, but--and this is a big "but"--somehow, this whole franchise needs to change. If they are going to be a beauty pageant, don't pretend to be something else. Require real talent, real beauty (not breast implants--there were a lot of those and also a pair of saggy breasts in a twenty-year-old. Where did that come from?), and poise. Either don't change it, or change it completely because this in the middle isn't working.
So, did any of you see it? Do any of you care? Am I just ranting to myself? (g) It wouldn't be the first time I did that. (g)