Monday, January 14, 2008

Miss America - Reality Check

So I had to watch Miss America Reality Check, this new reality show on TLC consisting of all 52 contestants living in a house and competing in challenges before they actually compete for the crown.

Okay, who thinks this was a good idea? Anyone? I mean it's not enough for these girls to have to go not only through a local pageant, and then the state pageant, but then they have to compete on a reality TV show before the actual pageant? And the point of this is what exactly? Oh, the winner gets a measly $10,000 and some Crest Whitestrips for their pains.
Oh and since when does the Virgin Islands count? What's up with that? And why not Puerto Rico? They're citizens too. For years it was all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Why confuse things and add more contestants? Just my opinion.

I can't help feeling that this show is making a mockery of a show that people already consider to be a mockery in the 21st Century. Seriously with all the reality shows on television, being a beauty queen is not what it's cracked up to be anymore. Even Donald Trump has a reality in the works featuring Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe since they all share an apartment in one of the many buildings that Trump has littered the city with.

I remember growing up loving watching the Miss America pageant, culminating in the year that Vanessa Williams finally became the first Black Miss America in 1983. As a budding actress, I used to think it would be cool to be part of the pageant, plus I had tiara envy. Seriously, I've seen it up close, it's a pretty cool crown. But then they pressured Vanessa to resign after those nude photos came out and I lost all respect for the pageant after that. She only had two more months to go in her reign. I seriously doubt it could have damaged the pageant anymore than some of the stupid changes they've come up with over the years.

The contestants playing a version of Jeopardy? Testing their current event knowledge? Puleeze. Everyone watches pageants for two things, the swimsuit competition and to make fun of the contestants during the talent portion. Now they've eliminated the top ten doing talent, and you only get to see the top 5. What's the fun in that?

I went to see the Miss America pageant in 1985 in Atlantic City when Miss Mississippi won, and it was a hoot. Miss Michigan's talent was karate, and she had a plastic box with her name in engraved on the side, filled with broken glass which she jumped in and stomped around during the talent portion. It was brilliant! Miss South Caroline clog dancing? Love it. Contestants doing ventriloquism, bring it on. Performing magic tricks? Yes. Doing a monologue? Not so much. Who can forget Kaye Lani Rae Rafko doing a tahitian dance in a big ole headress, shaking her hips? Excellent!

Who cares about their platform? Seriously, it's nice to know that they're interested in an issue, but the only reason they came up with this is because Leanza Cornett spent her whole year talking about AIDS, which they didn't want her to do, and it was successful. But it's like asking the contestants on America's Next Top Model to pick an issue.

I know that the pageant officials still like to believe that Miss America can be a role model, but not when they make her do challenges like Friday's episode Called Are you Smarter than a Miss USA contestant and 3/4 of the contestants failed and had to jump into the pool. Miss Florida actually freaked out because her make-up was going to be ruined. Seriously that's what you're worried about?

And we had our dramatic moment when Miss Illinois declined to cut her hair unlike the other contestants who took the advice of Kim Vo and Napoleon Perdis. Because of her convictions Miss Illinois was in the top 3 of the evening. Oh and the judging is called "Tops and Bottoms," sending every gay man in America into hysterics.

Oh and the judges for this show are an editor from US Weekly, a photographer, and some stylist. That's how lame this show is. Where's Carson Kressly when you need him? Michael Urie from Ugly Betty had to be the worst host in the world. The expressions on his face say it all, he knows he's slumming.

Miss Alaska caused controvesy because she did a war cry when they cut off her ponytail leading to some kind of weird intervention where apparently the other contestants told her off. Unfortunately we didn't see that bit, just her weeping and apologizing, which totally didn't lead to a Kumbaya moment, since the other contestants seemed not to care.

And Miss Utah got points off for not knowing how to pose before a camera, and showing up with dangling earrings and full make-up at the pool challenge as a joke. The judges were not amused with her. And she keeps using the fact that she was in the army as an excuse for not being girly. Then why did you enter a pageant?

I think the time has come for Miss America to leave the airwaves or they need to come up with another way to reinvent this pageant. I'd hate to see it end because it is an American institution.


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