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Welcome to the Unofficial MAO board! Now through the final night of the pageant, there will be contestant links, commentary, AND REPORTS FROM ATLANTIC CITY. Stop back often, there will be plenty to talk about!


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Date Posted: 23:07:23 08/31/14 Sun

There is a pageant God! I absolutely LOVE her. And I loved that top 3. I would have been happy had that gone any way out of them. This soooo reminds me of USA--she just was beautiful, engaging onstage, might not be the most eloquent speaker, but just great all around and captivating. And she's beautiful. I HOPE she wins Idaho next year and we will get to see her at Miss America. And with Sierra looking strong, this might be a real breakthrough year for Idaho. Congratulations to the judges for not crowning the typical type. Thanks for going old school--to the ones that stood out onstage and you knew exactly why they were there.

What was wild to me when watching the pageant is that it seemed like you went back to the 1960s. I just couldn't help but thinking this is the kind of place that your glory days winners came out of. I could see Judi Ford, Debbie Bryant, Debbie Barnes, Pam Eldred, Terry Meeuwsen, etc. being sponsored by the Rotary Club or Jaycees. It's kind of cool to see there are still places left over like that. LOL I guess you can tell I am not a Midwest person. It's just fascinating to me.

More later!

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Date Posted: 14:46:11 08/31/14 Sun

Megan’s Youtube channel

I think that Cierra is in the pink shorts.
Cierra is at approximately 20:00 into the video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQM_KqFzisA (in Russian)

Interview starts at approximately 10:55
Interview starts at approximately 9:05
Beth’s Youtube channel


Notes: There are over a dozen clips of Mackenzie forecasting the weather. I only loaded two, but they can be accessed via Youtube. Also, there are clips on Youtube of Mackenzie singing. However, since she is not performing this talent at Miss America, I decided not to put them up. She also has a Youtube channel with one of her songs, but mostly other non-related videos.

Note: Alex has a Youtube channel, but it does not have any related content.


Amanda’s Youtube channel









Talent (starts at 1:00, plus pageant highlights)

Note: Kailee’s performance starts at approximately 2:00. You can also see her onstage question at around 6:05 and her evening gown presentation after talent.

Evening gown and Interview
Evening gown starts at approximately 2:20 and interview starts at approximately 5:25
Paige’s Youtube channel with additional talents and her reporting



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Date Posted: 14:42:06 08/31/14 Sun

Note: This is her singing, which she is not going to be doing at Miss America, but you can get an idea of her stage presence
Note: She is part of a troupe, she seems to be the one with the darkest hair
Caitlin also has a Youtube channel, but it is uploads of other people speaking

Malie's Youtube channel:



Link to Isabel Inserra's Youtube channel, with 20 videos of Marina's singing and appearances


Interview starts at 1:40




Maggie’s Youtube Channel

Talent and Interview


Note: Audra has a Youtube channel, but it is videos that she liked and has uploaded

Note: Aly has her own Youtube channel but only has videos that she uploaded


Note: She is part of the ensemble, playing fiddle
Note: The above video is first listed, but the second video features a different ensemble.

Lacey’s interview starts at approximately 11:30
Pageant highlights with clips of Lacey’s talent and swimsuit:


Note: This is a compilation of her reporting clips
Highlights from swimsuit starting at 1:47
Highlights from evening gown starting at around 1:50
Jade’s Youtube channel:

Lauren’s Youtube channel

Interview (Radio)
Note: This is a part of a troupe
KT’s Youtube channel


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZrA6DeyS10 (this has some singing)
Jasmine’s Youtube Channel



Interview (group interview)
Interview and Talent

Interview and Talent
Ellies Youtube Channel

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Subject: The contestant videos are here, with over 300 clips of your favorites!

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Date Posted: 14:35:09 08/31/14 Sun

Hi everyone!

It's about that time. Time to sit down, look at clips of your favorites, and figure out who your top 15 will be! I made that prediction post a few days ago, but after seeing a lot of the videos, I can tell you that this is indeed a great group of contestants. In years past, you could tell who the haves vs. the have nots have been. This year, a lot of the contestants are put together, look great, and are well-spoken. I'm going to put up a separate post of what I thought, but I have changed my mind on a few, solidified what I already thought, and some aren't as strong as I thought.

Interesting to note: Some traditionally strong states like CA have a lot of web presence, as they did last year. But, I was hard pressed to find a video of NY or OK. In fact, unless you understand Russian, I can't guarantee that you will get much from the lone video that I found. If any of you have any additional videos that I might have missed, please feel free to post them or email them and I will gladly put them up. This was a real labor of love for me. I put in a lot of time, but I think this is a great resource. And what's nice is there are several sendoff videos. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the contestant videos!

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Subject: My Fearless Top 15 Predictions...and my picks for Miss America before the competition starts

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Date Posted: 17:38:20 08/27/14 Wed

Hi everyone!

The fun starts THIS WEEKEND! The contestants will be leaving for Atlantic City and the next time we see them, they will be competing for Miss America. How exciting! This year, it seems like things are back to normal. Last year, it felt a little strange having 2 pageants in 1 year. And it felt awkward in a way being back in Atlantic City. At first, anyway. But now, it's like we've settled in and everything is back to normal, where it should be.

So, there's been a lot of speculation about who the new Miss America is going to be. This year has been interesting. First of all, the hype and declarations of the next Miss America seem to be around only two contestants--Alabama and Mississippi. I would say CT comes next, but I still see AL and MS as the main two. The only time recently I can remember that it was this concentrated around 2 contestants was 2009 with the showdown between Katie Stam and Chasity Hardman. And we know how that went. I think this year is going to be interesting for several reasons. The past 4 Miss Americas no one saw coming. NOBODY saw Teresa save a few judges. The pageant public sure did not. The year after, I think some like myself had Laura in the top 10 and there was some talk about Betty Thompson winning, but it wasn't a foregone conclusion to most fans. Mallory was not talked about much, but Ali Rogers was. And last year, most people expected Nina to make the top 10, but the hype was around OK and VA last year. In years past, some of the heavily hyped contestants did not make the top 15 at all. So, it's always interesting to see how the hype goes. This year, I think it's a foregone conclusion for a lot of people that Alabama is winning. The same went for Mississippi, especially when she was crowned but it seems like every time there is a new picture or something of Alabama, the proclamations begin. Me personally, I don't see either of them winning. I'm not sure you can count Alabama out, she is indeed a competition queen that knows the teen system well. There are differences between the systems, and what works well in one may or may not work well in another. Furthermore, I don't see the first MAOT to ever compete to win. But most importantly, I see Caitlin right out of 1995. If this was 20 years ago I don't think this would even be a competition. But it's not. She is extremely pageanty and has that old persona. It hasn't worked for a while now. Could this be the year? Yes. But the overall trend is away from programmed competition queens, which is what Caitlin is. Jennifer Berry was the last one that fits this description. And it's possible that if she's that strong onstage, Caitlin could win. But I just don't see it, based on the winners we have been having. You've got to be young and modern, or glamourous like Laura. With regards to Jasmine Murray, I don't see a lot of charisma. I think her strengths are her talent and the fact that she was on American Idol. She knows how to compete in a much tougher environment than Miss America, and that will take her far. But the big drawback when she was on Idol is that she's just wasn't engaging. And personality is huge in this system.

So, who do I think might be the next Miss America? Here's who I think has a great chance of making the top 15:

AL—I doubt I even have to explain this, but just in case, she’s a competition queen. She knows the system.
CA—Right now, she is one of my frontrunners. From what I understand, she beat a very competitive group at Miss CA, one of the most loaded state competitions. Second, she’s well-rounded across the board. And you know how CA has been lately. But at the end of the day, there’s a charisma about her and even seeing her talent, you can tell she just lights up a stage. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her personally as well.
CT—I’ve seen her, and she’s good. A lot of charisma and she’s beautiful. More importantly, she comes across as a compassionate person who loves nature, and that tends to connect many of us.
FL—One of the main reasons I have her is because replacements do well at Miss America. The last FL replacement made the top 10, and I think it will repeat. Plus, Florida has been doing well of late.
ID—Yes! The minute she was crowned I just knew it. Then, I saw her video. She’s very natural, very bubbly, and has a great message. Plus, she’s got a rockin body.
IA—A great personality and strong talent. Plus, IA has been on a great roll lately and I’m sure she will be every bit as ready to go as was Jessica, Mariah, et al.
MS—Another competition queen who has had experience on a major reality competition. Plus, she’s from a bona fide competition state.
NJ—I knew from the minute she was crowned that she was someone special. She’s very compassionate, intelligent, a young woman of today who also is very relatable. She would be one who I think would appeal to a lot of different people. She also looks good in a SS. I wouldn’t call her talent amazing, but she will hold her own.
NY—I expect her to at least make the top 10. I explained it before, but someone with cup singing as a talent and a bad gown who won has something to make up for it. She seems like she’s got a great personality, too, plus very intelligent.
OK—It’s Oklahoma. Nuff said. She’s a beauty, with a strong swimsuit and gown. And rest assured she will be well versed in everything else come competition time.
TX—It’s Texas, first of all. If last year proved anything, TX gets in just about no matter what. But Monique is strong across the board. She’s one of the few I think could be a double preliminary winner.

I think the rest of the top 15 could come from the following group:
GA—Georgia is Georgia. While I’m not overwhelmed with her, I wasn’t last year with Carly and she did well. GA makes it if they have someone competitive. It’s a fact.
HI—When Stephanie puts her hair up and gets onstage, she’s very beautiful and regal. If she’s got the interview and personality to back it up, she will be there. Another thing to consider—she was picked by at least one former Miss America and an impressive judges panel at Miss Hawaii, and they had some strong contestants to choose from.
IL—They have been doing well since the 2012 pageant, and it seems like they are getting back to their days of old. Marisa has been competing for 5 years, I think, and that can only help hone her competition. She competed against 2 top 10 at Miss America candidates, 1 who was a preliminary SS as well.
KY—Kentucky is Kentucky as well. They’re a state with a proven track record. I almost have her in my top 15 but I am not 100 percent convinced yet. Also, with her story, I think she will win the judges over.
LA—She’s not one I initially had as potential until I saw her video. I remember being impressed with Hope Anderson in her video and she made it in. Same goes with Lacey. And, LA has had much success over the years. I’m sure if she’s got something, she’ll be there.
MI—She’s very pretty, would do great in SS, and seems to be a strong dancer. It will all come down to interview.
MO—I’ve said it all along, she could make it in, and I’m still saying it. Her big drawback is talent.
OR—Another one that I didn’t see coming until the videos, but I like her presentation. She seems intelligent, well-spoken, and charming all at the same time.
TN—I’m not 100 percent convinced on this one, but you have to consider what TN has been doing at Miss America as of late. She seems like a good speaker as well, and that will get you far.
VA—Never count VA out. I believe she is a former OT and has good talent.

I still think you could see AR, you can never count them out. And, I'm going to listen to the Wisconsin folks. States usually have a way of knowing when they've got someone, and I've heard it this year. I'm not 100 percent convinced on either of them, but I'm not counting them out.

So, who do I think could be Miss America? I've got it down to two:

Texas--I'm not quite sold on this, but she seems to be one of the most well-rounded contestants. If she has a decent interview, and I think she won interview at Miss Texas, I think what she brings onstage could win her the title. She's got the looks for it. I don't know, I'm having a harder time explaining why, but I just think she could be it.

California--Right now, if I was betting, Marina would be it. And I can easily tell you why. First, I have heard nothing but good things about her personally. She is said to be caring, personable, compassionate. I think all of those things will bode well with this year's judges. But secondly, she just seems to come alive onstage. I have heard the criticisms about her not looking in candids like she does onstage. Doesn't matter. She's not competing on a walkway at Disney World. She'll be onstage, where she just sparkles. She's also strong across the board. While I think it might be a hard time for her to win talent, she's strong enough. When I watched her performance, it was very heartfelt. I got a lot of emotion from it. Plus, she's got a rocking body. I think she's just one of "those people" and has the competitiveness onstage to back it up.

Miss Wild Card--I say that because if this year follows the trend, Miss America is going to be someone that is either not being discussed or being discussed very little. Or, maybe for the top 10. Who do I think it could be? Impossible at this point.

This is just my opinion, but I think it's going to be a traditional Miss America state that wins. I'm not sure that you get a 2011 where an obscure state wins. Either tomorrow or Friday, I am going to put up a post about who wins at Miss America, so stay tuned. Statistically, I am right ;)

So, what say you?

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Subject: I was just watching Live From the Red Carpet

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Date Posted: 20:06:39 08/25/14 Mon

And all I saw was red, red, red. And that's fine with me, because it's my co-favorite color (along with blue, go figure). So what does that mean for the Miss America pageant? You will see a sea of white, boring gowns. Maybe if you're lucky, one with a mermaid bottom. You won't see anything like the beautiful, simplistic gown that Heidi Klum wore. Or, you'll see a sea of black/nude dresses like Leigh Taylor Smith wore almost 6 years ago now.

Just sayin ;)

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Subject: 2014 Contestant Video Rundown

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Date Posted: 16:20:27 08/21/14 Thu

Well, it’s about that time again! We ALMOST had a year without your typical pageant girl. Miss MD gets the 209312 razzie for ruining the almost perfect “I’m not your typical pageant girl” year. The goal next year—not one contestant says “I’m not your typical pageant girl”. I hereby call it the 209312 challenge. Challenge on, class of 2015!

So, the videos. As with other years some good, some not so good. Overall, these seem to be not as produced or put together as in years past. Some, anyway. Some were good. Some states you are starting to get the same video year after year (I’m talking to you, New York) but if it works, don’t fix it. What I look for in a video—I don’t look for cheesy or contrived. I like when you get a sense of who a contestant is, what her life is like outside of pageants, and a bit about her life story. As always, you don't judge the videos per se. But you can get a very good idea of how a contestant communicates, and if she's got something for interview. Also, see how a contestant presents herself. If she can sell it well on a video, she can sell it to the judges. Here is what I thought:

AL—I am getting a bit wary of the constant name dropping of her charity and she’s getting very one-dimensional. That being said, it seemed like a nice video.
AK—I would call it average. She’s cute, though.
AZ—Kind of cheesy and silly. Very pageanty.
AR—Kind of what you are used to from Arkansas as far as the video. She comes across as very nice, very humble, and someone I would relate to if she won Miss America.
CA—Same video you get from California every year. I do like that they highlight different parts of the contestant’s lives. I get a real likeability from her.
CT—You all know how much I like Acacia. This video did not do it for me. Something about it was very off. It wasn’t very professional. It seemed like bad acting. Miss CT from last year was much better.
CO—She’s a very pretty girl and I like what I saw out of her from Orlando. But this video doesn’t do much to highlight her. At times, it seemed like she was reading from a cue card, and then she spoke very rapidly at times.
DE—Nice and inspiring, but would have liked to know a little bit more about her. I just felt like I didn’t get a good idea of who she was.
DC—Winning! Anytime you can get the future host of the Late Show to appear in your video, you’ve done something right. I also like that it was lighthearted. I must admit, even though I’m a politico, I have no idea who that representative was. I think she's very cute, and I hope she makes the top 15.
FL—Like DE, she surrounded herself with children. She’s kind of a flat speaker. I have her making the top 15 at this point, but she’s got to be a bit more animated.
GA—Average. I do like the videos where you get a chance to see where a contestant is from and who they are, and she did a good job with that. Kind of the same as last year’s Miss GA.
HI—Same as GA. And I think she’d be an excellent veterinarian. I am not counting her out either for a spot in the top 15.
ID—There’s something about her. I think she came across as very genuine, committed to her platform, and someone that would be an excellent role model.
IL—I don’t know, it didn’t quite work for me. Kind of silly, not put together well.
IA—Nice. The only thing I would say was the music was a bit melancholy.
IN—If there was any doubt that she came from a state that has loads of fertilizer, this should prove it. I am assuming her ED lives near some, too, because no one would allow their titleholder to act this weird on the first video that you’re presenting of yourself to the public. I love non-conformists, don’t get me wrong, but some of the cow stuff or whatever she was doing made her seem like a child.
KS—Wow. I never knew she had such a tragic life, and I’ve seen every webcast of MO. I thought it was very well done, not overly sappy, very mature, and she is a real survivor. I imagine last week had to have been very hard for her. I think she’d be an excellent Miss America.
KY—Also very nice. She seems like a very nice person, too. I would be very happy to have her represent us for a year.
LA—Very well done. She’s very well-spoken, she presents herself very well, as well as her accomplishments. I hadn’t paid too much attention to her before, but after this video, I think she could do well at Miss America.
ME—She is absolutely adorable and stands no chance whatsoever in Atlantic City if that is how she acts.
MD—Well, she just ruined the “I’m not your typical pageant girl” streak ending. It wasn’t a bad video but I tend to shut down to someone after that nonsense statement. She’s a dead ringer for Melissa Rauch. Maybe she could play Bernadette’s evil twin in an upcoming episode of the Big Bang Theory.
MA—No, just, no. She is no doubt accomplished and she could have done a much better job of presenting that. It was silly.
MN—Average as well(it felt like an infomercial for the state of Minnesota, although MN is a beautiful state) , although I really thought it was sweet to put her pageant sisters in her video. That impressed me a lot.
MS—She was very well-spoken in her video. It was a bit thick with the American Idol shtick, but she’s playing the game well. That’s what she needs to do. I still think she needs more personality, but she is very articulate.
MO—She’s beautiful and that was the worst video I’ve ever seen. Or should I say, lack of video. She twirls around and doesn’t even say anything about herself.
MT—Cute. I love seeing the culture of our different states, and she did well bringing it into the video. And she’s got GORGEOUS hair.
NE—I apologize to Rachel Foehlinger for whatever the judges were smoking the night they chose Megan over her. This was the most boring video I’ve ever seen. I get no personality whatsoever.
NV—Average, although it was nice to hear about her musical accomplishments. Not very inspiring, though.
NH—I liked the science references. It was cute, and she tried to be original. I think she did a good job of presenting herself. I look for her to be a strong finalist for the STEM award.
NJ—I don’t think this was the best produced video ever. It just seemed like she grabbed a camera and threw something together. But see what I mean about her? Despite the poor video, she’s a great speaker and there’s just something about her.
NM—Very cute, and I liked seeing her farm. I also think she was very direct in her answers.
NY—OK, how about we make a generic NYC video with the background, and just edit the new titleholder in each year. I say, do what works for you but this is just a carbon copy of the last two years. As far as Kira, she’s very well spoken and I expect her to do well. In fact, after hearing her speak, I see the “it”. There’s a part of me that is entertaining a three peat, although highly unlikely.
NC—Okay, nothing memorable. The only thing I would say is at times, she seemed like she was going to burst out into laughter.
ND—Aside from the camera swinging around at the end, I thought it was good. She seems to have a lot of personality. I wouldn’t be disappointed if she made the top 15 at all. She seems very cute and likeable.
OH—She’s is a very pretty girl and she has a real cuteness about her. But the video wasn’t that good. She tries to be cutesy in a way that doesn’t work. I hope that this isn’t what we see from her at Miss America, because I think with polish, she could easily walk away with the crown. I’m afraid she doesn’t have it. Also, she looked to be reading.
OK—Also the same kind of video as we’ve seen before from them, but good. I felt like I got to know a lot about Alex. The only thing I would say is to use better language. Don’t say “slums”. It’s a very judgmental word, especially when you are doing it as charity work. “Impoverished” would be a lot better, or just choose to say on a missions trip, or whatever.
OR—Like Louisiana, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to her, mainly because I didn’t know a lot. But this video showed me a lot. She is very well-spoken, very natural, and very goal oriented. I also think she is very humble and very nice. Maybe we’ll see Oregon back in the mix of things again.

PA—Silly at the beginning, good in the middle, silly at the end. It was a good attempt. PA’s videos can be a bit outlandish at times. I would say, though, quit the talk about being from Florida. You ARE representing another state.
PR—Very pretty girl and a great message. I felt like she can connect with people, and seems very compassionate.
RI—She did a good job of articulating herself and her accomplishments. It sounded a bit like she was just rattling off MAO talking points, but she was good enough. I just didn’t get a lot of charisma, though.
SC—They are also starting to do the same video year after year. In fact, I think I saw that same girl before. That being said, I thought it was very good. She seemed very natural and well-spoken, and very compassionate.
SD—A lot of personality in this video. It was a bit “edited”, and sometimes she seemed a bit manic, but at least it had some personality.
TN—Very well done. I think she did a great job of describing CMN without being patronizing. I think more personal stories like this should be told. Hell, I’d even use this as a commercial if I were CMN.
TX—I expected more from Texas than a video in an airport. Underwhelming personality, and sounded either rehearsed or that she was reading off of something. Also, try and stay away from the word “ethnicities”. It sounds very stereotypical. Cultural background is a much better term that sounds more contemporary.
UT—I realize you’re not competing for the Academy Awards, but you want it to be a little bit better than this. She sounded like she was reading the whole time, everything was cheesy and contrived. No one seemed natural. This was pretty bad, and I usually like who Utah sends. I don’t know much about Karlie, I was hoping to get to know her, this didn’t help at all. This makes a bad first impression.
VT—Well, she was sweet and to the point. I would have liked a little more, and she talked a bit fast. She’s a cute girl, though, and she seems like a real go-getter.
VI—Very cute and seems like a compassionate, kind young woman. I’d love to see a Miss VI make the top 15 one of these years.

VA—I was wondering why she was doing the flash card thing, and then when she finally started speaking, I got it. Very nice and thoughtful. I like her message.

WA—Oh my god, why did you have to bring the classy Nicole Renard into this atrocity? One was as bad as the other.
WV—A bit bland, but she seems very genuine.
WI—She seemed like she was reading a script, but I am definitely going to check out her website. I liked that she talked about her family but did not dispense with the typical pageant family phrases.
WY—Like MT, one of my favorite western states, I enjoyed that she spoke about her life and brought the culture of it into the video. I enjoyed it.

In my opinion, the best videos were DC, LA, SC, and TN. The worst were, in my opinion, AZ, IN, MA, MO, and WA.

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Subject: When picking your pick for Miss America

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Date Posted: 17:36:17 08/17/14 Sun

Keep this in mind:


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Subject: The 2014 Judges Panel

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Date Posted: 11:12:05 08/14/14 Thu

Good afternoon/morning everyone, depending on when you read this! It's still early in many parts of the country. This morning, the judges were announced. As always, we fans spend a lot of time analyzing the judges picks. After last year in particular, I think all bets were out the window. I thought for sure with the preliminary panel that we'd get nothing but Southern, traditional contestants, but we didn't. And the winner did not fit the overall mold of those judges. This year,we are back to one panel. That experiment didn't last very long. There has been a little bit of talk over these past few weeks that Nina pulled a Gretchen Carlson on final night. Meaning, if you read William Goldman's book (I highly recommend if you haven't done so already), he said that Gretchen was in 10th place going into the final night, and the judges just picked her the final night. Mallory H. has alluded that Nina wasn't the favorite going into Sunday night. Things happen with judging,as you know. So, onto this panel from this year. LOL I asked someone to have on GMA and I could call them to see who the judges were, since I couldn't see it live. She said that the announcement was very quick, and she tried to write down their names. Some we all heard of, obviously. And then she said something about a McDonald. I asked who and she said "I don't know, I think her name starts with an A". LOL then I started yelling about OMG, Audra McDonald is on this panel. I would love Audra McDonald to judge someday. What a wonderful, talented performer, singer, everything. But we were both mistaken. So, here was my thinking:

First, this panel is more random than some we've seen over the years. That was the first thing that came to mind. It is a very diverse group of people. The one thing that I thought of, however, is that the year Lee Meriwether judged, there was also a high ranking officer from the Navy and that was a panel that chose Katie Harman, who was a delight. But these judges do not fit any kind of mold, at all. And I think that's a good thing. There are people on this panel who are known for certain things (like Kathy Ireland) who have strong opinions about things, but they are only one judge. You are going to have to appeal to everyone across this board.

Second, and this is important--two of these judges served within the last 5 years. What that means, I can't say, but I don't remember recycling judges this soon over the years. It's been only 3.5 years since Marc Cherry judged. Although, I like him. If you have the interview tape, he was a lot of fun, wasn't intimidating, and seemed to love the process. He's also spent years creating comedy genius with the likes of Betty White. He selected Teresa, and I know from the press conference afterwards, he actually voted for her. Shawn Johnson was on the panel that selected Caressa Cameron, so I'm a bit suspect. However, she did not ask many questions in interview, and seemed overpowered by some of the stronger personalities there. This year, I don't see the personalities nearly as strong (more on that in a minute), but she's at least young enough and relatable to the contestants.

Third, this panel does have judges that will appeal to certain contestants more, and I see them having an advantage. One thing that was of concern to me was that Caitlin Brunnell would have an advantage if there was an NFL judge. Voila! This will help her tremendously. Although, she's got to appeal to more than one judge, as do all of the contestants. And I do think Donald Driver is mature enough not to let that influence him. The entrepreneur on the panel (who admittedly, I never heard of) is going to likely feel a bond with New York due to their cultural background. And God help the contestant who suggests a 2 state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. I say that in jest, but Kathy Ireland is very strong in her conservative beliefs.

So, at the end of the day, what does this panel have in common? Two things. First of all, they are real achievers. Not that the other panels have not been, but there are several entrepreneurs, athletes, and for once, two champions of Dancing With the Stars. Believe me, their personal lives are most impressive beyond a dancing competition. But these are also judges who are heavily involved in charitable causes. Donald Driver, Shawn Johnson, Kathy Ireland all have their own charitable outreaches. Most importantly, I see this panel as very kind, non-egotistical people. They are not controversial at all, and they all seem to have a real streak of humanity in them. The only one I can't say for sure is the businessperson and the Army commander, I don't know much about them. But the rest of the panel seems to be warm, kind people and I think they will select a Miss America as such. I really think you will see someone with a big heart, that is humble, and will appeal to a lot of people. Overall, I think this is a great panel of judges. And they've got their work cut out for them.

I will end with this--the Miss America Organization fumbled on this announcement in a major way. It wasn't announced until yesterday afternoon, there wasn't much press about it at all. And when I tried to check their Twitter account, nothing was mentioned directly after. Furthermore, the official press release is tacky. It sounds like a seventh grader who was trying to impress his English teacher wrote it. How many times did they have to use the word illustrious? Once is plenty. It's also a word which is very superlative. And star-studded? Star-studded means Oprah, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and George Clooney will be there. Why not just put it as it is--an accomplished, impressive panel of judges who are leaders in their respective fields. See, that sounds much better.

There's my take on this. How about yours?

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Subject: State Executive Directors telling contestants which local to do

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Date Posted: 17:39:08 08/07/14 Thu

Local directors guide contestants to their pageant, but I am hearing a state executive director telling contestants which local to do. It also happened last season with this ED. How are you able to do this? Since when does MAO allow this to happen.

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Subject: Elizabeth Fechtel speaks out

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Date Posted: 13:54:15 07/01/14 Tue


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Subject: Weekend Roundup

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Date Posted: 02:17:30 08/03/14 Sun

Hi everyone!

It's a big weekend in the pageant world, particularly if you are between the age of 13-18. Best of luck to the new Miss Teen USA and Miss America's Outstanding Teen. I will not pretend to be the biggest fan of the MAOT system, but I wish the new MAOT nothing but the best. I don't follow it, but I have heard NOTHING but good about Olivia. While to me this seems like nothing more than a regionalized pageant (and tonight's results reinforced that), I do think we've got a non-traditional winner that was a bold choice. From what I understand, she is a proponent of support for families who have autistic children. That's a great platform. Lord knows families who have a loved one with autism needs all the support they can get. Also, I thought Miss South Carolina was a good choice. Pennsylvania was my favorite, I hope we see more of her in the future. Also, New Jersey is a lovely young lady. All I could think was how perfect she would be for the MAO system.

The one good thing that comes out of MAOT week is that we get to see some of the Miss titleholders for the first time since their state pageants. I have been most impressed with what I have seen this week. Most have looked really good, and you can tell many are on their A game already. One of my biggest pleasant surprises of the week has been Miss North Dakota. She looks great! If the way that you look makes a statement about your chances, there's something about her I am liking. I can't wait to see what she brings come pageant week. Also, Miss New Mexico and West Virginia are some of my pleasant surprises. But my favorite surprise--Miss Maine! She's very cute, she's one of those who are cute and pretty at the same time, and she looks great. Plus, she's got big, engaging eyes. There have been some who you knew were going to look good, and they sure do. That group would include Oklahoma, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia has been looking good as well. I think Mississippi is looking very well put together, and Missouri has been looking good, too. New Jersey has been looking good. I have been liking New York because back when I actually cared about fashion (lol), I had my unique sense of style. I like someone who likes what they like and are bold enough to do it. There have only been a few who have not impressed. Something about Minnesota, can't explain it, she has a strange demeanor that comes across on pictures to me. But the big no for me is Maryland. For lack of a better term, she looks mean. She never has a smile on her face, she has an angry look in her eyes.

Now, I wanted to mention two contestants that are getting NO attention that jumped out at me. The first is Colorado. I realize that Colorado does not have the best record, but she looks very put together. I like what I see. The other one, and this is mystifying to me, is Michigan. She looks great, and quite frankly, after seeing her, I have her as a possible preliminary swimsuit winner. (Have you seen those legs?) From what I know of her, she is a dance major and that is her talent, so I expect it to be good. This is also Michigan, who had a Miss America within the last 7 years. The nice thing is, message board hype (which has been very limited this year) hardly determine who wins, so I'm sure she will be just fine. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her.

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Subject: So far.......and looking ahead

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Date Posted: 15:57:01 07/13/14 Sun

Well, the new Miss America has been crowned in her state! And she's just over two months away from being crowned the new Miss America. To put that in perspective, what were you doing on Mother's day? If it is that fresh in your mind, that's when we'll have our new Miss America! I'm getting excited.

Like many of you, I've gotten to see more state pageants than I ever have before. So, I am getting a better perspective on who to keep an eye on, who is bringing what, etc. I also try and draw my own conclusions. So, here is who stands out to me, who I've been keeping an eye on, etc.

CA--It is always competitive. However, Marina beat a lot of competition. I liked her and Caylynn Simonson, as well as Jordan Krinke, but those two dropped this year, unfortunately :( CA is one you automatically have to move to the front of the line in terms of Miss America contenders. But Marina seems to have the total package. You can't necessarily judge people's Twitter remarks. However, I was reading Mallory's Twitter, and she had nothing but glowing remarks about Marina. It takes a Miss America to know one. I've heard many stories over the years about formers picking the winner, etc. I'm not saying I think Marina is the next Miss America, but I have no doubt she's going to do well.

NY--She won overall interview at Miss NY. If the last two years have told us anything, it is pay attention to a New York interview winner. Furthermore, she did a cup performance which me personally I wouldn't give more than a 4 to. And her gown, maybe the color was pretty but no one would mistake her for Michelle Warren. So, I say, she's got something special about her. I don't think New York will three peat, but she could go and be successful. I want to make one thing clear, though. I am fascinated by Kira. I didn't know much about her before she won, and I was pulling for the long competing Desiree Wiley to win. She's a great contestant and she's had the unfortunate draw of having to compete against a second runner-up and two Miss Americas. So, I was kind of hoping for a crown for her. But, I also am fascinated by the Russian culture, and Kira just seems so cute. So, while I might sound critical, I'm just trying to say despite her weaknesses in competition, she's got something special, or else she wouldn't be headed to Atlantic City.

AL--She obviously knows the system, and is purportedly strong across the board. I don't think she will win, but I think she is strong enough to make the top 5. I wasn't a big fan of hers when she won MAOT, but maybe she's toned it down a bit.

CT--The first time I saw her compete was in 2011, and I remember thinking that Connecticut could have a Miss America there. She's got something special about her. And there is no doubt in my mind that her time competing in New York will have helped her gain valuable competition skills. She looks fantastic. Even her appearance says that she wants to win. I can say having seen her she is strong across the board. The only concern with her is that she doesn't seem to have the strongest speaking skills.

TX--I will be up front and say something about her is off putting to me. I was hoping for Christina Tang or Kathryn Dunn to win this year, but Texas is very tough. So, it's not like I am disappointed. Many of my favorites in TX never won, or other states for that matter. I can't put my finger on it, there's something that just jumps out about her that kind of gets me. Although, it doesn't matter. She seems to be strong across the board.

ID--I know she's only been crowned last night, but something about her really stands out to me. She has a special glow in pictures, she looked great in her crowning shots, and even in candids. Sometimes, I think when you go from a state like Idaho, you have to let the judges know that it doesn't matter if you are from Idaho. Something about Sierra seems to tell me she will let them know. I can't explain, I just have a feeling about her.

OK--Let's face it, she will be right in the mix. And that would make me happier than a hog in slop. LOL that's how they say in Oklahoma, don't they?

Some others that I think have a decent chance at placing:

NJ--All along, I said that Brenna Weick was going to be the one to put New Jersey back on the map at Miss America. However, I think Ciera could be the one to end the drought. She is a very articulate speaker. She's competed for several years and has been a decent competitor. But all of a sudden, she's come to life. She came to win, and she won. Do I think she's the next Miss America? Probably not. But I think given her strong interview, and everything else about her competitions are good, she could easily make the top 15. She's also a very humble, very likeable young woman who is going to have a wonderful career.

HI--I saw the pageant and I didn't quite see her coming until they started announcing the awards. This is how I figure about her. There is a real changing of the guard in Hawaii these past few years. A lot of have aged out, you aren't getting a lot of returnees. Some seem to be going to USA, like the lovely Moana Hari. She would kill it in swimsuit if she came back to the Miss America system. I think she should. But, I digress. My pick for the crown was Keilani Carr. She didn't disappoint, and she would also kill it in swimsuit. But all of a sudden, this first time competitor comes and pulls off a win in a very competitive state. Off stage with her hair down, she looks very plain and unforgettable. Onstage, she looks very regal with her hair up, she's very captivating. If that Miss Hawaii shows up, she could easily win over the judges and win Miss America. I could see her winning the whole thing or going home empty handed.

MS--I'm sure she's got enough competition savvy and is well rounded enough to make the top 10. I am not really too big a fan of hers. Unless she has grown a personality, I don't see her doing much else. She's very bland and boring. At least she was during her time on American Idol.

MO--There are some contestants that most people say 'no way' and I've heard a lot of that particularly about Miss Missouri. I could be way off here. But I have a feeling that she's going to at least make the top 15. It doesn't make sense, particularly as weak as her talent is. But she has a lot of presence. A lot. And despite that talent, she beat out the heavyweights of Mary Bauer and Jeni Dixon.

I am going to post this in a future post, but you are going to assume at this point you will see a lot of the Miss America regulars--Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, etc. I don't know much about Florida at this point, but the replacements have a good history at Miss America. I did watch the TN pageant, and after the Q&A, I had Hayley Lewis winning. Until that point, I had Kaleigh Bullard, and the minute she opened her mouth, it was all over. IF she could get herself interview help, and plenty of it, she could be Miss America. I think she might want to give it a try at USA, I could see her winning. She is one of the best swimsuit presentations I've ever seen in my many years of pageantry. To me, Lewis was the only one without any holes. This is Tennessee and she follows the mold of the fried blonde hair winners. She has a decent voice. If she's got anything, she'll be there. Kentucky and Arkansas are a bet to be at least a first round appearance.

So, tomorrow, our next Miss America is picking her place. Here's a rundown of how I would pick if I was some of the contestants:

I don't know who is a killer swimsuit this year, but CA might want to go in Sigma. I don't think she would win talent unless she's in a really weak group. I would try for swimsuit first. Or, possibly Mu if she wanted to win. Mu isn't a particularly strong swimsuit group. Although, Mu was very competitive last year. It's not a group for slouches.

CT--At first, I was feeling Alpha for her. She could definitely win a SS preliminary. Although, I could see her going into Sigma and taking talent depending on who is there. I think CA, CT, AL and TX will be fine no matter where they end up. But if they want to win, they might want to be very strategic. Also, OK looks great in a swimsuit. I would try and go for that win. She shouldn't do Alpha, though, I heard her talent is very weak. Haven't seen it yet. NJ might do well to have her interview early, I think I would choose Mu if I were her. This year in particular, I think it is important to win a preliminary. In all the years of Miss America, it only happened once that a non onstage preliminary winner ended up winning three times in a row. It was 2002-2004. Erika Harold won interview and we can assume Deidre Downs also won. But that is rare, and I'm not sure that it's going to happen again. Although, you can't go basing on that. I'm just saying how things tend to trend. I'm sure Mallory won interview, not 100 percent sure Nina did but it wasn't her stellar swimsuit or difficult talent.

Lottery picks are important enough. If you're going to rise to the top, you're going to rise to the top no matter what. You don't have to worry. The ones that should be more concerned are the ones that are bubblers. For instance, last year, Annie R., Miss PA, was towards the end of Sigma. She impressed me, but didn't make the top 15. I think had she been earlier, she might have at least fared a bit better. I'm looking forward to it tomorrow. And of course, I'll be posting my winners and losers in the lottery. I'll be honest, this year I don't know a lot about the contestants, so it will be more of a shot in the dark. I'm going to start the talent video search soon, so maybe I will know more. One last thing of note: Contestants that are early in Sigma or Alpha have nothing to fear. I think the only place with regards to placement that is at a disadvantage is way at the end of Sigma. I might go back and study that sometime, but you don't see a lot of late Sigmas advancing.

So, here's to a great lottery tomorrow, and please, post your thoughts as well!

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Date Posted: 01:12:34 07/16/14 Wed

Top of the evening!

So, the lottery is all finished. The next step is to hone that talent, practice your walk, and plenty of mock interviews. Miss America is 2 months away! It will be here before you know it.

Sooooo.....the lottery. Same as other years, Sigma filled up rather quickly. There were 11 contestants in Sigma just in the first 20 choices. And as usual, Mu filled up very slowly. Although, you can't say that a slow start is a strong finish. I see three solid competitors out of that group. And, some good talents will be there as well. Last year, Mu talent was well above average, and I have no doubt it will be this year. Overall, I wasn't impressed with the choices. I think it's going to make for some very interesting preliminaries. I do think Sigma seems strong, but maybe not as strong as other years. And as usual, Alpha on paper seems to be the weakest. But I think it will be filled with good talents. So, here's the good, the bad and the ugly. And, the iffy. A lot of iffy this time.


Virginia--She had a chance to pick well, and she did. I don't think she's the strongest in this group, but it was good to pick later in a group that was not full. I think she's right at the point to shine.
New Jersey--I don't think she will win a talent preliminary, but she could very well win swimsuit in this group. I actually thought she won swimsuit at Miss NJ, probably should have. And with interview, she's right in the mix of things. I also think she's going to stand out more in this group.

And that's it.

Connecticut--If you've read this board you know how much of a fan I am of Acacia. I am not sure about this pick. At the time, she was picking right before CA, who I think most people know is going to be a strong competitor. And it's possible if they showed up in the same group, Acacia would not have a chance at a preliminary win. Also, I don't think she would have won talent in Alpha. From what I understand, Iowa is very strong in talent, and I think Ohio picked by that point. Now, I'm not a huge ventriloquism fan, but judges seem to go for it. Nebraska is also supposed to be very good. Sigma was filling up quickly, and there were some strong competitors there already. She would totally be out of contention for a preliminary win the way it stacked up. So, I think Mu was a good enough choice. There are two plusses. First, she is at a good interview spot, and that's the most important. She's at the spot where interviews really start to pick up. Teresa won from around that slot a few years ago, as did Kirsten H. Second, if she was planning on going head to head with a strong competitor, she put herself ahead of a very strong competitor in Alex Eppler. It was gutsy. The only problem is that I am not sure she will win a preliminary, which I think is important this year. I would just about bet she could have won Alpha SS. I still think she could win Mu SS, and it's probably better to go before Alex Eppler, from her vantage point. Her predecessor was early in Mu, like 4 or 5 and made the top 10.
New York--Cup singing on talent night one? Although, Texas was abysmal and made the top 10 from Alpha last year. At this point, if they like her in interview, they'll forgive the talent. However, I think she's a strong competitor for the SS preliminary in that group. So, it's not all bad.
Missouri--she was one of mine who I thought could win a preliminary SS. She still might, but going dead last in the group on the strongest swimsuit night is going to be the kiss of death. And there are other strong competitors in that group.
Mississippi--I think she'll be fine, but I also think she would have been better suited to Alpha. I only remember her singing from AI, and she's good, but there are surprisingly some stronger talents in that group. I also think that she could have contended for Alpha SS, but she probably won't in this group. It was a bold move, though.
Wisconsin--It was either first or second, neither of which is good to be in. But, someone's got to go first. I think she should have picked the second slot if she had the opportunity to do so. I guess from her perspective, she was confident and decided to lead the way. Also, it's a classy move to Miss Arizona. But it's so hard to go anywhere from Mu 1. Although, it has produced a SS winner in 2009 and talent winner in 2012, as well as talent in 2007. So, it might work. I'm just concerned about interview.

Rhode Island and Hawaii--I always liked Ivy from her TN days, but I'm afraid she's going to get completely lost in this group. Same for Hawaii. Unless she goes into interview and wows, I'm not sure what she can do against the heavy hitters in that group.
Tennessee--same goes. I don't know if she actually picked, because it seems like her time expired, and then she went into the last spot. Does anyone know for sure?

Miss California! She could have gotten a prime spot in Alpha and there were a few left here and there in Mu. But, she decided to put herself first in Sigma. I was like, damn! when she did that. No better way to throw down the gauntlet than leading the way. It's always a great spot, anyway. That's amazing confidence. One of the gutsiest moves I've seen since these lotteries have gone online. My only slight concern is that she might have put herself out of the running for a preliminary in swimsuit, that group is going to be tough.

Sigma gets congested quickly. For the last 4-5 years, it fills so quickly. In the last 10 years, Deidre, Lauren, Katie, Mallory and Nina have come out of Sigma to win. So, the odds are good. I can see the appeal. But I am not sure that there has been a three in a row. I would have to go back and look, or maybe someone knows that can post. It usually evens itself out. At the end of the day, you have to be your best and show up ready to win. That's how you'll make it out of each group. And please, don't get caught up in the statistics. I am just throwing some of this out, and see that there are some advantages and disadvantages. Interestingly enough, over the past 10 years or so, we are starting to see more lopsided results. Common sense says you have to attribute it to the lottery. It's the common denominator here.

So, here is who I see advancing from each group:
Confident AL, CT, OK
Possible VA, KS

Confident NY, NJ
Possible IL, otherwise I'm afraid I don't know much about that group to make a judgement

Confident CA, MS, TX
Possible AR, FL, HI, TN, MO

SS--OK, CT, possible AL, VA, or KS
Talent--AK, DE, PA

SS--NY, NJ, possible MD, GA, IL, ID
Talent--IA, NE, OH

SS--CA, SD, TX, MO, possible FL, HI
Talent--MS, TX

Two things of note:

First, OWN did a wonderful 1 hour show about Vanessa Williams this week on MasterClass. I highly recommend it. She speaks very candidly about her experiences. I really walked away with a whole new respect for her. Not that I didn't have it already, but she really, really struggled more than most to get where she is today. OWN repeats it shows regularly. My schedule is saying that it is going to air again Tuesday at 6 p.m., however their schedule is subject to change, so please check back.

Second, Atlantic City is taking a major hit. It is very possible that 3 and 4 of the casinos are going to be closing if they do not find a buyer. One is Trump Plaza, which would close right after the pageant. The legendary Showboat is in the same position, although it may close before the pageant. Very sadly, they are talking around 8,000 jobs could be lost before it is all said and done. This does not bode well for the future of Atlantic City. And it can't be good for the pageant. Part of the hit they took was because of casinos opening in neighboring states. Vegas is more of a gambling destination, but AC is definitely draws the east coast. I realize AC's history is not one of small town American ideals, but for the workers this will affect, this is devastating. And it is going to affect the economy badly.

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Date Posted: 13:49:28 09/18/13 Wed

I got to see the Kelly Ripa interview last night, and I can say I have more insight into why Nina won. She has a presence about her. And, she looks great. She will easily go down as one of our more beautiful Miss Americas. The hosts were clearly found her engaging. I see she has that quality, which is very important. I must also say, I was impressed with her parents. They went over to I believe Crystal's parents and the mothers hugged. Nina's father seemed overjoyed as well. Right now, with all of the controversy over the negative Twitter postings, Nina is getting a lot of press. And the media seems to be behind her, rightfully so.

I want to like Nina. But I just can't get on board with her. I have tried. I found myself warming a little bit until I heard those comments that she made on Extra. It may seem like I am blowing this out of proportion, but the way that she laughed off the comments that she made was not becoming. I think she would have been better off saying something to the effect of it is in the past, etc. I don't think you should ever laugh off insulting someone else. Interestingly enough, I think Mallory likes Nina more than Nina likes Mallory. So, putting that aside, I just don't get a sense of who Nina is. Mallory was fun, spunky and real. Laura was laid back and compassionate. Teresa was personable and perky. I just don't know who Nina is. The only real thing I know for certain is that she is the first India native to win Miss America. I didn't actually know anything about her scholastic ambitions until she won. And I don't get a sense of what her personality is. I don't get a sense of her, the essence of who she is. I do get clearly that she fashions herself the modern day Vanessa Williams. I think the comparison is a bit lofty, although I get the correlation. There are two things I keep coming back to. First, she doesn't seem to have much humility. I don't think she seems very down to earth. There is a definite air about her. Second, I am not too enamored with what she is saying her motivation was to win Miss America. She said that she wanted to be the first Indian native to win Miss America. That is a fine aspiration, and one which she should be proud of. But is that the only reason that she is competing? She has said this on several occasions. I know when I knew I wanted to be Miss "whatever was in the stars for me", I really saw it as an opportunity to serve other people, children, and my community. Now, everyone is different. Not everyone gets in it for the chance to serve others. Some get in it for scholarships, some get in because they love the competition, And you can probably bet that there are very few people that enter for 100 percent altruistic motives. But, I have once yet hear her say she is proud to serve, that she wants to meet with the children, etc. And, there is the issue of how she has handled the scandal surrounding her. I just am concerned that she is phony and will turn it on around people, and then be different in private. I know there were plenty of young women on that stage that were very genuine and you would have no doubt who they were.

I guess what I am trying to say is that when I can understand "why" she won, I can't connect with her. There is no doubt how good she looks. She is one of our few winners who could go to USA and win. And I guarantee you she will get a lot of good press this year. She does seem more modern, and I really think this program is headed in a different direction. I hope that we get to see some redeeming qualities these next few weeks. I am not saying that I dislike her. I am just saying that out of all of our winners in a very,very long time, something personal seems to be missing. That is the essence of who Miss America is supposed to be. She's supposed to be personable and someone who, while representing young women, should be relatable. I don't know who Nina is and I don't feel like you can connect with her.

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Subject: I AM NOT DEAD

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Date Posted: 20:15:58 06/21/14 Sat

No, really! It's really me. I am so glad that it's pageant season once again! And it's shaping up to be a good one. Am I to understand that goddess Alex Eppler is going to Atlantic City? At least if Damaris couldn't make it, we get Alex. And I'm sure she's going to continue Oklahoma's long streak. I'm also excited about the possibility that Vermont might be making their first appearance in the top 15.

Tonight is Miss Tennesse, and I will be tuned in. This has been a most impressive year there. I have a feeling that if Kaleigh Bullard wins, I might have seen my first Miss America crowned at her state pageant. She has incredible presence. The only thing is, if I would base her speaking skills on the onstage portion, I don't know. Tennessee doesn't really place that much emphasis on interview, though. And if that's the case, I am hoping Sarah Stokely or Jessica Haas takes the crown. Actually, I think Jessica has been giving Kaleigh a run for her money all week. It will be fun to see. I'm also hoping that Kara Mitchell makes history in Ohio tonight. We'll see in a few hours!

I must apologize for being away so long. I have been really considering closing down this board after Miss America, I'm not sure, though. I just haven't had the time to devote to it. But that's for a future date. The cool news is, I'm not exactly sure the logistics, but I'll be in Atlantic City once again!

Here's a stab at my top 15 for Miss TN:
Maria Shepard

I'm not sure about anyone after Ketron, but we'll see. It seems like the rest have had a great week. I'm going to say that the obvious wins, Bullard, but I am not ruling out Haas or Stokely.

We'll chat more after the pageant!

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Subject: Former Pageant Contestant Still Making Music

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Date Posted: 16:04:25 11/29/13 Fri

Bought the pre-release of a former Miss NJ's album after reading this online last week in the music news on the examiner: http://www.examiner.com/article/giving-back-comes-first-for-international-diva-tr-s-hanley-millman. It arrived this am and have to share. The vocals and orchestrations are amazing. Some great original and little know songs which will be been fresh material for future contestants. She also has photos from her prelim talent night on www.facebook.com/treshanleyfanpage in one of her photo albums.

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Subject: So, I'm curious if you received a copy of this year's Miss America interviews. I received mine awhile ago and have watched it several times. If so, curious as to how you thought the interviews went.

WI fan
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Date Posted: 01:21:36 11/04/13 Mon

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Subject: The pageant "fulcrum" is swinging back to normal

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Date Posted: 12:45:52 11/16/13 Sat

After a few really good years in all systems (save MAOT), it looks like we are back to normal. Miss Universe pretty much proved that. After Laura and Mallory, we are back to an interview queen that didn't stand out at all onstage. (And that is not to mention all the baggage that comes with her.) And Miss Universe was a major disappointment. Venezuela is nothing we have not seen before. I thought Spain was young, cute, fresh, and had the face of a Miss Universe. After a few good years where we have had pleasant surprises, the judges picked the same old same old same old. I didn't even pick her to win Miss Venezuela, although that goes to show how much I know.

I guess I am just frustrated. When I was growing up, most pageants had clear standouts, likeable winners, and some variety. I thought the MAO was finally on a different course and its not. I thought Miss Universe was getting away from the same old same old and that's what we got again. I will say, at least the USA/Universe system has some variety. You did have Angola win 2 years ago, you get the Wendy Fitzwilliams every now and then. Meaning, they were pleasant surprises and out of the box. Laura and Mallory were very popular and very well-liked. Now we are back to the same kind of winner from 12-15 years ago--an interview queen that no one saw coming.

I guess we just hold out for the next 10 years or so until someone awesome comes along. It was 10 years between Katie and Laura.

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Subject: Miss Universe tonight!

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Date Posted: 16:43:44 11/09/13 Sat

And I almost missed it. I'm not sure why, but I thought it was closer to Thanksgiving, to be aired during the week. I happened upon a commercial by accident, thank goodness.

I am hoping for good things from Erin Brady. I am also rooting for Mexico, I had the pleasure of watching the pageant and I like her. I saw Venezuela, not really on board with her. I also have sentimental favorites like France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Phillippines--they always send great contestants. Half to most of the time I am disappointed with who wins. It will probably be the same this year.

But it wasn't the case last year. Congratulations to the outgoing Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo. She has done an amazing job, is a beatiful young woman, and has a great future ahead of her. That includes a Jonas brother, from what I hear. See, great things CAN come out of little Rhode Island!

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Subject: Miss Mexico will also air on Univision!

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Date Posted: 14:46:05 10/13/13 Sun

It is slated to air next Sunday, both at 4 p.m. on local affiliates and 7 p.m. on the Univision cable network. It is listed as Nuestra Belleza Mexico 2013.

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Subject: Miss Venezuela is on today!

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Date Posted: 09:12:41 10/12/13 Sat

I just saw it on the schedule. I was looking for this for a while, but I didn't even see this as of a few days ago. Apparently, it is on twice for some people.

Here is how you can check to see if it is in your area:

If you don't have a local affiliate, you can check to see if you have it as an actual cable station.

This is a great pageant. If you love glitz and glamour, be sure and tune in.

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Subject: Pageant Alert!

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Date Posted: 23:22:24 09/27/13 Fri

Sorry this is so late, but the Miss World pageant will be airing tomorrow morning at 8 p.m. Eastern on E! I am not sure what some of the other airings are for the rest of the country, I am guessing 7 Central/Mountain and probably 8 a.m. Pacific.

Believe me when I say, this is nowhere near the production value of Miss America or Miss USA. But, it's a pageant, and we are all pageant junkies here. I am going to DVR it and watch it when I get up.

Tune in and enjoy! We should be coming up soon on some pageants on Univision as well. Venezuela and Mexico usually air. There is nothing on my schedule for the next 2 weeks, but I will keep my eyes open and let you all know ASAP. If you have never seen one of those, you haven't lived. Take the old Miss America pageant and multiply it by 50.

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Subject: This article is awful. Missouri is listed at Ky, facts are wrong.

Bikini Bodies.
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Date Posted: 15:17:53 09/19/13 Thu

Please check this out and look at Miss Florida's legs. Surely that is photoshop, right?


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Date Posted: 02:37:45 09/16/13 Mon


It was a great night at Boardwalk Hall. The energy was unbelievable. I swear if my car ran on the energy in that room I could drive to Alaska tomorrow. What a great evening! I think I saw some pageant royalty, I think I saw Jordan Krinke, the new Sweetheart there, and I think I saw Angela Venditti.

A COMPLETE review will follow in the morning. It was a zoo tonight in AC. There were huge crowds, a lot of congestion, but it was great. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sooo, if you heard weeping and gnashing of teeth, it was coming from Miss Mississippi. LOL, OK, just kidding. I don't think anyone was surprised but her. It was really great to see some different faces. And I am so thrilled for Minnesota. It was also nice to see Connecticut and Missouri in the mix of things tonight.

As for our new Miss America? I am somewhat surprised, not surprised but still kind of surprised. I wouldn't have picked her from what I saw onstage. Although, there were some major holes in all of the contestants, I will address tomorrow in my review. The bigger question I have now is what is going to happen in the press? I have a feeling the MAO might have some problems here. I have a wait and see attitude about the new Miss America. I lost respect for her after I found out the story, if I am being honest. Maybe there is something we haven't seen. I think she will be good enough at maintaining what Mallory started. She looked great in her evening gown.

I just want to note--it was REALLY, really loud in BH. When Nina missed her cue, it was kind of awkward. Then it seemed like later the hosts missed their cue that they were back on the air. A lot of mishaps tonight. I am pleased to repeat that each former Miss America seemed to be happy with their accomodations ;)

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be home. This year will always be special to me for that reason. And there were a lot of great contestants.

I will post my full report in the morning!

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Subject: The night that was, Miss America 2014!

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Date Posted: 16:35:18 09/16/13 Mon

Well it looks like I was half right ;)

I said that this could go to a non-preliminary winner, and I was right. I just had the wrong one. What a great night it was in Atlantic City. If my car would run on the energy in that building, I could drive to Alaska. Then I could hang with Michelle Taylor. I am telling you, the place was electric. But it was also really, REALLY loud. Even when people were not cheering, it was still pretty loud. I also think the hosts missed some cues due to it. But it can be forgiven. I can't tell you how many people were just so genuinely thrilled to be home. I *think* I saw Jordan Krinke, the new Sweetheart, and I also think I saw Angela Venditti. If anyone has any information if they were there, please let me know. Otherwise I am making an appointment with the optometrist.

The top 15
Overall, I wouldn't say that anyone truly surprised me. I didn't really have AR, KY or TX, but I did initially have KY on my top 15 list. She fell out after this week, but this is a state with a good record. They'll get it done if they have the goods. I guess I could have made a case for AR but there were some others left standing. Same goes for TX, although she really should have only lasted 1 round. The way this year was, I wasn't really surprised anyone was left standing or was called in. I was really proud of Shelby Ringdahl for making it in. It's too bad we didn't get to see her talent. And I wanted her to make it in, but Iowa just didn't have the goods onstage. I still think we have some work to do in this system on getting beyond some of the same old same old judging, but more about that later.

SS Competition

Overall, we saw some good presentations this year. I thought everyone looked good. I thought that everyone was at least on par, except for MO. She didn't seem very confident, she seemed very tentative. I had her going out that round, and I wasn't 100 percent sure Minnesota was going to stay. Texas didn't seem confident, either. I didn't think AR would last, she wasn't a stronger competitor and just seemed okay in swimsuit. Those would have been my pick, but I could have put Kentucky in that spot as well. However, if they would have been able to give the rest of the top 15 some MS' complete and bona fide cockiness, they might have all propelled to perfect 10s. For the life of me, I never saw a presentation like that. I really never saw someone that hung up on herself. It came across as arrogant. And I suppose the judges didn't like it, either. In this round, I thought that the best was OK and FL. They both had good, confident presentations. I thought FL actually rocked it even better than OK did.

I was surprised to see MO get past swimsuit, and she looked great. That gown was a perfect choice for her. She's tall, statuesque and can pull it off like those of us short of stature can rarely do. Although, it was all for naught with that complete mixup onstage. I've seen it happen at least once before, back in 1997 during the swimsuit competition. But Shelby just kind of stalled, and I wasn't sure what happened. She seemed very hesitant, but she also did in her swimsuit. CA didn't do quite as well as she did the preliminary night. I didn't like OK's dress and her presentation was just okay. I thought Nina's dress was great and I think it complemented her in every way possible. WI was about the worst, it seemed too big for her and she seemed like she couldn't move. But she was about the only one that was subpar. At that point, I had MO not making it, even though I really wanted to see her talent. She just seemed awkward and not very confident. You can get away with that in 1 competition and advance, but not two. I also think Texas should have exited at that point, but I had a gut feeling she was about to be in. I thought maybe Wisconsin would head forward. She seemed to have that spunk, and they had the piano ready. My guess is that she was going ahead or they wouldn't drag that heavy thing out.

OK--She sang better on preliminary night. She really sounded off key last night, at least live. She also seemed to hit some sour notes at the end. To me, this was the beginning of the end for her. I also heard a lot of hype about her singing. It is true that she is good, but she is perhaps a bit overrated.
Then there was that complete mishap where Nina did not hear herself and GA stepped off. I don't know how Carly in any way shape or form heard her name. Maybe she just took the opportunity and ran with it ;) But then NY finally got up and did her thing.
NY--I was a bit underwhelmed at the beginning of the dance. But when she started twirling on the floor, it looked good. The crowd loved it. It was definitely a talent that hit its stride at the end.
KS--She started out okay. But I think the song was not good for her. She looked really good, her gown was very pretty and she looked elegant. At times, she sounded very shrill.
CA--simply beautiful. She looked gracious, everything she did was with emotion. And when she started to twirl, she was exquisite. The crowd really loved her. One of the best of the night.
CT--I liked it. I liked it better than Betty Thompson's performance, because Kaitlyn was not afraid to own the stage and dance around it. She moved a lot more and had a lot more energy. Where I think that Betty T's was more "polished", I think Kaitlyn was much more engaging and enjoyable. I wish her much success in her dancing competitions in the future.
GA--I heard good things about her talent. Didn't see it last night. Some of the notes she hit were plain dreadful. I figured this was the end of the road for her.
TX--I'm not convinced she should have been there in the first place, but this just sealed the deal. She clearly doesn't have a strong voice, but I don't think that arrangement helped. She just ran out of gas.
MN--Exquisite. I was so excited that we were going to get to hear it. I knew we wouldn't probably get to hear Shelby, but I was so glad that the crowd and America got to see the abilities of Rebecca.
MD--I realized something, that when she was singing up close, a little bit, she reminds me a bit of a young Carly Simon. But she doesn't have her voice, unfortunately.
I knew at that point FL was the one moving on. And she didn't disappoint. And, she was gaining steam. I honestly thought after that, there was a chance she was going to win. She just kept gaining steam the whole night. I knew she was headed to the top 5. At that point, this was my top 5:


To me, these seemed the most consistent, had the best stage presence and really stood out the most. I knew TX, GA and MD hit the end of the road with their weak talents. I thought KS was holding her own but her talent wasn't that good, either. I didn't have NY really standing out at all, so I was surprised she made top 5.


OK--She pulled out a verbal gun and shot herself right in her red boot. First of all, she shouldn't have made that joke at the beginning. I wasn't quite sure where she was going with it, and it didn't make a lot of sense. Secondly, when you say that she's an artist just like me, it just doesn't come off well. If a question could lose you the pageant, there you go. She just presented like a loose cannon, very unpolished and very immature.
MN--By far, the best of the top 5. She was eloquent, didn't take forever, spoke with confidence, and made a joke at the end. Honestly, I thought that she just might have won herself the whole shebang then and there. She was cute, relatable, and well spoken.
CA--Lucky her, she got the Syria question. But unfortunately, she started to use a lot of pause breakers and she sounded like she couldn't get the question out that she wanted to. It wasn't the worst I've ever heard, but I think she didn't sound clear. Especially towards the end.
NY--This is a gotcha kind of question. It is very hard when you have to stand up and say whether or not someone's actions were right. I think she gave a very diplomatic answer, and she sounded confident. I wasn't overwhelmed with her response, but it wasn't bad. It was just oka for me.
I knew at that point FL was going to be the last one called.
FL--I think her immaturity was showing here. That was one heck of a hard question. How can you possibly answer that question in 20 seconds? As you can tell with the kerfluffle last night, you can't. But it is also one of those questions that if you hear a young white woman who really isn't wise in the ways of the world spouting off solutions to, it can be offensive. Do you think a pageant contestant has the answer to those problems? Would you be offended if they stood onstage and you were unemployed and faced these problems? I probably would. I don't think it was the most sensitive of questions they could have asked. To her credit, she did take from her personal experience and tried to answer. But then it ended up being much about her trip to Atlantic City, and then she got cut off. I still think it came off not in the best light, if you are unemployed and struggling, how do you get lavish evening gowns and costumes? It was probably not the best way to come off.

At that point, I wasn't sure who was going to win. I didn't have NY winning, I had her dead last. I thought there was a chance that FL might actually take it until that answer, and I also factored in how her overall speaking skills were. Common sense said that this belonged to CA or MN. I had a feeling she wasn't quite there, MN. I thought maybe there was something that might be holding her back, but she did so well all night, coupled with her question, that she would win. CA, to me, was the most consistent, she would be very marketable, intelligent, social media savvy, I thought she would win. The only thing I could say about both her and MN was that somewhere along the line, there was just something not quite there. MN didn't have loads of extroversion. CA at times seemed just sort of there--good at what she did, but maybe a bit of a personal connection missing? OK started to lose it in talent and I could have seen her lose places based on that horrid answer. But I knew she was a competitor and OK comes to win. FL made sense in 3rd runner up spot because she just seemed immature and had speaking issues. But she did have a great night. So, this was my guess:

4th ru--NY
3rd ru--FL
2nd ru--OK
1st ru--MN
Miss America--CA

I was getting more surprised as NY's name was not being called out. Then, when she was standing next to Crystal, I thought to myself "Could she really win this thing?" I didn't think so, but then again something put her that high to begin with. Honestly, on stage, I don't know what it was. Maybe there's something I was missing. But I didn't get her win based on what she did last night. I said she came to win, and she did. But I just didn't see that "it" factor. It could be that she didn't have some of the "holes" that some of the other contestants had. Also, according to one of our board regulars here, she beat Mallory as interview winner at Miss New York. Keep in mind, New York has been on one hell of a streak lately. It was the most competitive of all state pageants this year. And you knew sooner or later, we were going to have an OT win. That was a given. We knew that whoever won was going to win big. You automatically had to consider whoever won a top contender at Miss America. I would really like to see the interview DVD to see if that sheds some light. At this point, I have kind of a wait and see attitude. I am not sure you get a real likeability factor like you did with a Mallory, or a Teresa. No one can complain that we got a non-attractive winner this year. She is very pretty and she looks great in a gown.

But there is the elephant in the room. What happens in the press now? I understand already there are some complaining about her win due to race. I knew that was going to happen, the same thing happened with Rima Fakih. It's unfortunate, and sometimes I think we are going backwards rather than forwards. In no way, shape, or form do I think her ethnicity influenced her win. And I will not even entertain some of the other criticisms I have heard. That is the press from today. But we can't ignore the press from the other days. I don't know what part of this is true and are rumors. I don't know if there is a tape or not. But the fact that she apologized, I think that at very least, her judgement was poor. If it does come out, in fact, that she was making racist statements and there is evidence to back it up, they are going to have a nightmare. Especially the fact that she is trying to promote diversity. It would be akin to promoting child abuse prevention and then going out in public and slapping a child in the face. It could be that there is a real story that no one knows about. It also very well could be that the MAO knows the whole story and was not uncomfortable with it. I guarantee this will all come out if there is some validity to it. I believe that there is on some level. I think at any rate, this should be a valuable lesson to all titleholders out there. You have got to always watch who you associate yourself with. But if that was really what was in Nina's heart, is she all for naught? You will have a very hard time getting someone to take her seriously. I really, really think the MAO should have thought about this long and hard. They had to know she was a contender. And they HAD to know what comes along with Nina as a winner. She never once said that these rumors were untrue. But I am not going to judge until I know all the facts. None of us do at this point, so I think it's best to just stick with what we do. I just don't want to feel like our Miss America is a fraud or a phony. There were plenty of young women who would gladly stand where she is and be honest about who they are. All I can hope is that the truth comes out.

It was a great night, and one I think that will be special for many who love the pageant for a long time to come. You can go home again. I'm going to be writing some other thoughts up later on today, so stay tuned! But this is the complete review, and feel free to add your thoughts about last night's pageant, the winner, the talent, anything!

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Subject: Ratings are up!

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Date Posted: 12:46:59 09/16/13 Mon

My full review will be up shortly! But here is some information we will all be happy to see:


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Subject: First of all, thank you for this board! Does anyone know of any ustreams/livestreams tonight? Dying here on the west coast.

thank you!
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Date Posted: 14:22:37 09/15/13 Sun

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