Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Miss America Sucks

Caught a little of the 2008 Miss America Pageant over the weekend. It seems the Miss America Corporation has been spending a lot of time, money, and effort trying desperately to revamp the Miss America image to re-attract a waning public and reach out to younger viewers. My opinion:

Hated it!

The pageant was the finale to a several weeks-long reality show called Miss America Reality Check where all 52 girls (including Miss DC and Miss Virgin Islands) all lived in a house for a few weeks and tried in vain to update their traditional big-haired, over made-up, mega-sequined, toothy selves. They had makeovers, practiced new walking techniques, even attempted question & answer sessions - each attempt a struggle to recreate Miss America into a contemporary young role model.

You know who ended up being crowned Miss America? The contestant who was probably the most big-haired, over made-up, maxi-sequined, toothy blonde: Kirsten Haglund from Michigan. Her evening gown looked like Liberace's drapery shears.

Hated it!

Her talent? I think she sung "Over the Rainbow", but she went flat so many times, it was hard to tell - what you could hear of it anyway (for an aspiring Broadway performer, she's got a pretty weak upper register). Kirsten was probably the most traditional looking candidate of the group. In one fell swoop, the 7 judges undid what an entire corporation was struggling to achieve. I don't think Michigan's gown was the prettiest, nor, certainly, was she the most talented. She won on looks, because she LOOKS like Miss America - like Miss America has ALWAYS looked.

But enough about her. Back to the pageant itself. The host this year was Mark Steines from Entertainment Tonight, who was either very nervous or just sucks at live television. He dropped more lines than T-Mobile. He was frequently awkward and horrible at ad-libbing. Yeah yeah yeah, he's married to a former Miss America. Yippee-freaking-skippy. So as a host?

Hated it!

And you know what else sucked? The entire pageant.

The field of contestants was narrowed down from 52 to 15. Oops, excuse me, 16. The judges chose 15. The happy thumb-jockeys at home chose one additional. So can you guess which one the judges are not going to move along as one of the 10 semi-finalists? Yep - the one they didn't choose in the first place.

And the judges actually didn't move 10 women into the semi-finals. They chose the 6 who would NOT advance. Steines was mucho apologetic and griped several times about how he hates his job, and then announced one by one the 6 women who were eliminated. Example:
Steines: And here's why I hate my job so much - to have to do this. The next contestant who will not be moving ahead and will have to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and move on . . .(dramatic pause) . . . Miss Minnesota.

Entire audience: AAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
[insert Debbie Downer music here]

It gets better.

The just-cut semi-finalists don't get to go backstage and cry a little. No, no. That's too traditional. Instead, they get to stay on stage and join the other losers on risers and sit there throughout the rest of the show. And to add insult to injury, Clinton Kelly from TLC's What Not To Wear is over there to cheer them up and give them doughnuts.

What nuts??

Doughnuts.

He called it a carb fix, which is not to imply that any of the contestants could possibly have an eating disorder.

The whole thing looked like a high school production. With the exception of adding a DJ to spin all the music on stage (what intern thought THAT up?), there was nothing modern about the pageant. Beauty (oops, sorry . . . Scholarship) pageants have been losing popularity steadily for the last several years. In a world of video games, Wii's, Playstations and X-boxes, pageants just aren't interesting anymore. The whole thing is sexist and degrading and frankly I'm shocked it's been around as long as it has. I originally started watching the reality show because I love a good cat fight. But these women are all so polite and polished, it was more like watching 52 Rebecca's on Sunnybrook Farm.

Miss America's years are numbered. I doubt it's around in 2013.