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THIS SPACE OPEN FOR PAGEANT SEASON 2014! Welcome to the Unofficial MAO board! Please stop back for regular updates, as well as last year's popular 53 contestants interview and talent videos post. Sit back, click, and make your predictions!

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: Elizabeth Fechtel speaks out

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


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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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