|Subject: Finally back from Vegas, and I've had time to process everything that went down this past weekend. I've put together a few thoughts on contestants, production, the direction of IMG, etc... Sorry if this ends up being long, but I have alot on my mind.|
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Date Posted: 11:49:34 05/17/17 Wed
What a fantastic time I had in Las Vegas meeting up with old friends I've met over the years, and meeting new ones at every corner. To those of you who have never been, I encourage you to go. It really makes being a pageant follower 100x more enjoyable when you immerse yourself into pageant weekend.
Now on to business... I liked when Shanna Moakler came up with two lists of top 10 predictions the night before finals. Its what everyone in Vegas was doing after the Director's meeting with IMG. Its not my place to say what was said in this meeting, but it was apparent after speaking with several directors that IMG has forever changed the face of the Miss Universe Organization.
A few comments regarding IMG, and the Miss USA production:
- As a loyal pageant follower, I'm okay with their decision to modernize the system. I think a little bit of brains wont hurt anyone. But its a tough sell when trying to diminish the swimsuit competition, or the idea that beauty is not as significant anymore. There has to be a healthy middle ground.
- THE JUDGING PANEL - While I think each judge had their own merits, I think it was a horrible judging panel as a group. IMG's emphasis on diversity was pretty evident here. But in my opinion, I don't think the current Minnesota contestant had any business judging this year. I don't think you should ever judge the girl who beat you that same pageant season! Carson was great. And I'd be fine with him judging every year. Where was the straight male judge? No straight guy? So much for diversity.
- While we are on the topic of diversity... We get it IMG, you are showcasing diversity. But the cramming it down our throats was too much. When you have to present it the way they did, it just comes off as too contrived and forced to be genuine. I totally could have done without the segment where they had contestants at a round table discussion talking about immigration policy. (biggest eye roll of my life).
- I loved the opening number. It was the best I've ever seen. Fantastic from start to finish. I just wish they could have kept the format where the contestants introduce themselves. Give them a little more air time.
- The entertainment was phenomenal. Pitbull was perfect, really got the crowd on their feet. And while I'm not really a country fan, Brett E. did a good job singing the evening gown song.
- BRING BACK THE TOP 15! I cant help but feel that having a top 15, and allowing a few more contestants to make the cut, would have squashed a lot of the criticism regarding the Top 10. Seriously, they could have done it, and they should absolutely bring back a top 15 next year.
Now, down to the actual competition:
- Understanding the direction IMG is going, and estimating who the prelim judging panel was interested in, I wasn't surprised by the top 10. I don't think any of them were horrible selections (although I'm still scratching my head over Missouri). But the confusion in the crowd was that sooooo many great contestants (favorites and frontrunners) were left behind clapping. I know that happens every year, but it was too "in your face" this year.
- I did like the top 10 competing in both swimsuit and gown. But my goodness, give them more than a 7 second runway walk. Stage time for presentations have been getting smaller and smaller every year. There is not doubt in my mind this is part of the ratings problem. No competition, too much fluff. Bring back the girls!
- Two onstage questions. Really? I think one question is more than enough.
And now to the contestants. A brief rundown of what I can remember:
MISS USA (D.C.) - I truly do not understand all of the hate towards this girl. She was not my pre-pageant pick, but as soon as she walked out in opening number, I knew she was our winner. She had amazing stage presence, tons of confidence. And she really nailed every phase of competition. Regarding the onstage question... Some of you need to realize this is a pageant, not a political rally. I really don't care where their opinions fall on the political spectrum on any topic thrown at them. As long as they are able to back it up and be solid communicators all year, that's all that matters. If you disagree with anything she said, take it up with your local legislators.
1st RUNNER UP - NEW JERSEY - New Jersey was good. I think she clearly benefited from the message of diversity. Any other year there is no way she would have advanced after the swimsuit phase of competition, where I thought she had one of the worst walks in the pageant. But she was good in evening gown. I figured she would be in Top 3, and when she was I ranked her 1ru, which is where she landed. Congrats to her.
2nd RUNNER UP - MINNESOTA - Pretty blonde. But I cant help but think her inclusion in the Top 3 was to round out the message of diversity. She seemed very pageant-patty every time she spoke, whereas the others seemed composed and natural. I really didn't care for her pants evening gown. And I guess it didn't hurt her chances that a Minnesota competitor was beaming at her with a huge smile as a judge. I understood her in top 10, not top 3.
TOP 5 - SOUTH CAROLINA - SC grew on me throughout the pageant. Seemed really composed and very prepared. But what I liked most about her was how genuine and sweet she really came off. Not forced, just very naturally positive. I thought the gown was great on her. Once she was in top 10, I had her in top 5. Once she made top 5, I actually had her making the top 3. Good job SC.
TOP 5 - ILLINOIS - I think she's pretty. But I didn't understand her inclusion in the top 10. I thought there were better candidates for that spot. I found her dress too similar to Deshauna's from last year. And her short stature was really evident in swimsuit. I would not have had her in top 10, or top 5. But good for her. I hate conspiracy theories, but someone also pointed out to me her work as an actress on a FOX series could have also had a hand in her final placement. Seems plausible.
TOP 10 - NEW YORK - I was up and down with New York. But she was deserving of her final placement. Her gown was probably my favorite in the Top 10. Didn't like her hairstyle though. And she looked awesome in swimsuit.
TOP 10 - CALIFORNIA - I loved everything about California, and had her in my Top 5. She was a great cross-section with what we pageant followers love about pageants, and the direction IMG seems to be going. I was surprised she did not make the Top 5. Gown was polarizing. I heard many loving it, some not so much. I like it.
TOP 10 - TENNESSEE - For as much hype as she received before the pageant, she fell flat for me in prelims. Nice figure in swimsuit, good presentation skills. But truthfully her gown was too neutral and made her blend into the background. She is pretty, but it just didn't translate for me when she was on stage. Good top 10 pick, but I did not have her making top 5.
TOP 10 - ALASKA - She did nice in prelim swimsuit. Evening gown Dracula wife look had me a little confused until it was explained. I admit, I was surprised to see her in Top 10. But she wasn't a bad pick. Maybe could have made top 5 without her confusion in swimsuit finals?
TOP 10 - MISSOURI - I don't understand her inclusion in the top 10. Not because she was bad. She did good enough in everything I guess. But I could have picked 20 contestants left clapping who I would have put in her place, even with the new IMG direction in mind. Having said that, I liked her gown. She looked good in it. And the story of her being the first black Miss Missouri USA was nice. It may have carried her into the Top 10.
ALABAMA - Great gown. I liked her more than I thought I would. I thought she had a shot at making a top 15, but a top 10 would be tough.
ARIZONA - Nice figure. I liked her gown. Seemed very stiff though.
ARKANSAS - For as much as I liked Arkansas before the pageant, she really faded into the background in Las Vegas.
COLORADO - Had some momentum early on in Las Vegas. Had one of my favorite interview outfits. Her gown was safe. Would have liked to see her push the limits with her figure in gown. Another one who could have benefited from having a Top 15.
CONNECTICUT - Being kind of low on my list after her snapchat takeover, I was pleasantly surprised with CT. I didn't have her making the cut, but she did better than I thought she would.
DELAWARE - I was so thrown off by her social media posts right before going to Vegas, about how one year ago she was suicidal, now she is on her way to Miss USA. That's fine and all, but it just seemed way too much. Trying too hard to have a story. Beyond that, I really liked her. Tall and pretty. I wish her hair would have been a little longer. She had a nice gown. Thought she would get a little more love after prelims than she did.
FLORIDA - I hate to be negative. But I would have sent several other delegates from Florida who I know could have killed this competition. The whole Florida controversy sucks, and should have never happened. But I just think Florida wasn't as competitive as some of the other top notch contestants.
GEORGIA - After all the hype, prelims put Georgia in a new category. I figured she was not going to make the cut. She was just too curvy in my opinion. HOWEVER, watching her in dress rehearsal (she made the top 2), she is so beautiful. I could have looked at her all day. I don't think her gown did her any favors whatsoever. Her styling seemed off.
HAWAII - One of my favorite pleasant surprises of the pageant. For getting little attention pre-Vegas, she came to compete. Very strong in all phases of competition. And I loved her gown.
IDAHO - Good job.
INDIANA - Good job.
IOWA - Another pleasant surprise. Had a lot of people talking after prelims.
KANSAS - After prelims, she was in my top 10/15. Great gown presentation. And her height made her look fantastic. I thought she would make the top 10.
KENTUCKY - Good job.
LOUISIANA - In the old days of Trump, I think Louisiana would have been a lock for top 10, maybe top 5. She was one of my favorites after prelims. I loved her gown. And she had tremendous stage presentation in both rounds of stage competition. I was worried that she would come across too "TEEN" but she did not. Good job Louisiana!
MAINE - Good job.
MARYLAND - Loved her, except for the over the top faces she was making in prelims. They were distracting, and she did not need the distraction. Could have easily made it. Wasn't totally surprised she didn't. But she was in my Top 10.
MASSACHUSETTS - I really loved her in prelims (from my computer). I definitely would have put her in my top 10. But seeing her in dress rehearsal (she made top 2), she really read very young to me. But like I said, I liked her.
MICHIGAN - Very intriguing. I've liked her since she won her state title. Really came across as an exotic eastern European in prelims, which I favor. May not have had enough punch to make the top 10, but I thought she did great!
MISSISSIPPI - One of my pre-pageant favorites. I think Mississippi may have been too blonde, too pretty, and actually too normal to advance. Another one who could have seen success in the Trump era.
MONTANA - One of my favorite gowns of the competition.
NEBRASKA - Everyone loved her after prelims, but I couldn't get her snapchat takeover out of my head, which was one of my least favorites. Pretty girl (resembles Marissa Powell).
NEVADA - Strong presentation skills in both swimsuit and gown. Another one who may have fallen victim to being too pretty and too blonde to make the cut. Could have been Miss USA if she would have made it a few years ago. And I really wish we could have seen her finals night gown in competition.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Great gown. Good job.
NEW MEXICO - Good job.
NORTH CAROLINA - Would have been Top 5 if she competed a few years ago. Gorgeous face. Not a huge fan of her evening gown though. I thought she looked like an Academy Award. Bottom line, I think she fell victim to IMG's new direction...
NORTH DAKOTA - Good job.
OHIO - I ended up liking her much better than I thought I would. She was much prettier than I expected her to be. Her gown was polarizing with the pink cape part. But it kept me looking. Overall good job.
OKLAHOMA - One of the most underrated faces of the pageant. This girl was stunning when I saw her up close. Her gown was a miss. Most people didn't favor it. I wasn't as bothered by it, as it was different from the rest of the pack.
OREGON - I liked her from her snapchat, but she did not come as prepared for this event as I would have liked.
PENNSYLVANIA - Natural beauty. Seemed a little timid compared to some of the others.
RHODE ISLAND - Pretty. I thought she could have made the cut.
SOUTH DAKOTA - Nice job.
TEXAS - Could have made the cut. Probably should have made the cut. Did everything right.
UTAH - Best face of the competition. Was not a fan of the styling. Put this girl in a simple, white, sheet dress (Oxana) with a ponytail... Could have been an entirely different finish for her. I thought her gown was pretty for a red carpet on J Lo. But it was too much for this event. Made her look very broad and boxy. Her walk seemed a little uncomfortable. But she is the first contestant I've ever liked wearing a one piece in swimsuit. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of her.
VERMONT - Good job.
VIRGINIA - Could have pulled out an upset if she made the top 10. Was a very pleasant surprise in prelims. Would have made the top 15 a few years ago under Trump.
WASHINGTON - Lots of people liked her. Good job.
WEST VIRGINIA - Started getting lots of hype in the last few weeks. I never really had her in my top group of girls. But she looked nice in prelims. Good job.
WISCONSIN - Seemingly a great personality, and looked like she was having the time of her life.
WYOMING - Came on stronger than I expected her to. Pleasant surprise.
Final thoughts - We have entered a whole new world of pageantry from the Miss Universe Organization. I'm okay with women of accomplishment, but I hate the notion of a "story" will get you far. I want to know, what have you done as a result of that story. I hate a crutch. Also, I pray IMG understands the importance of beauty to their brand. Otherwise they are nothing more than a hybrid of Miss America and Miss World. And Miss America pays their contestants. Sooooo.......
Last edited by author: Wed May 17, 2017 11:59:17
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- Sorry this was so long! :) (NT) -- ICEMAN, 11:50:03 05/17/17 Wed
- What can we expect from the state competitions? Are they telling the contestants what they are really looking for? (NT) -- State pageants, 12:44:31 05/17/17 Wed
- Iceman!!! Thank you, I have not read yet but anxiously will read later this afternoon. (NT) -- Vegas, 13:43:41 05/17/17 Wed
- Iceman, you articulate what I was thinking yet couldn't vocalize: "We get it IMG, you are showcasing diversity. But the cramming it down our throats was too much. When you have to present it the way they did, it just comes off as too contrived and forced to be genuine." (NT) -- Thanks!, 13:51:08 05/17/17 Wed
- Thank you ICEMAN for your review and insight! I always look forward to reading your posts. Do you think these changes are solely for the Miss USA program or will they be carried over to Miss Universe as well? (NT) -- cdnguy, 13:59:07 05/17/17 Wed
- DC walked out and you knew she was the winner? No way. You can't even pick a winner at state level. But your posts do make me laugh. And not having a straight man judging doesn't mean the panel wasn't But I'm not surprised by your comment. (NT) -- fan, 14:31:47 05/17/17 Wed
- ICEMAN, thank you for giving us an in-depth analysis of your likes and dislikes regarding this years pageant. I agree with you about the direction of the pageant with IMG at the helm. Frankly I'm disapointed in so much that they have done, and not done. (NT) -- pageant pearl, 14:31:50 05/17/17 Wed
- Thanks for this ICEMAN! It is so nice to get insight from someone who was on the ground at the pageant. I do have a question about the comment you made for a couple of girls that they were just too blonde and too pretty for the new IMG format. In your opinion, if the same level of blonde and pretty girl who was, let's say, attending law school/med school/graduate school graced the stage at MUSA, do you think IMG would let her be crowned? Or, are you suggesting that there is a level of beauty that will never win this pageant again, no matter how accomplished the beauty is? (NT) -- Tux, 14:45:20 05/17/17 Wed
- I know a very accomplished contestant in this year's pageant whose bio was wrongly characterized by MUO (I.e. The facts were wrong and when it was pointed out to them they used them during her evening gown walk anyway). Additionally, the rhyme used in her swim presentation was designed to make her look like an underachiever. None of her achievements, many of which were noteworthy by any standard, were highlighted, at all, whatsoever. She happens to be Caucasian. I'm uncertain as to why each contestant cannot be judged on the basis of their best achievements. In this new era, ethnicity and not achievements is what gets you in the top 10. (NT) -- IMG - Let's create a winner by making everyone else look bad, 15:11:19 05/17/17 Wed
- Fabulous review, ICEMAN! I agree that a str8 guy should judge because that is a sgement of the population that has a POV that Carson, for example, simply doesn't possess! The more diversity, the better the result. (NT) -- dude, 15:16:27 05/17/17 Wed
- Thank you, iceman. I was also there and so bored with the calculating stories and theme of forcing multiculturalism in that it didn't feel natural. It felt rehearsed and forced (NT) -- *, 15:22:47 05/17/17 Wed
- Nice review, ICEMAN. I can't help but think these changes are MORE than about finding an ambitious girl with a "story" but reflective of an AGENDA. I am extremely confused as to how "diversity" can be a theme to a competition. I understand AND AGREE with diversity in the workplace, colleges and any fundamental right related to living a comfortable life. I sincerely do not understand how it could ever appropriately be a theme to a competitive hobby. Should we demand "diversity" in sports or any competition for that matter? Overall, this contest was not even remotely fair and the competition was unethically and poorly managed by MUO and IMG. (NT) -- MUO/IMG = Race Baiters, 15:30:33 05/17/17 Wed
- Thanks for the review! Great read! I always enjoy hearing your perspective. (NT) -- Suebee, 15:49:35 05/17/17 Wed
- 1 Who was on the 2 lists sxoxo had? 2 i agree divercity was shoved down our throats 3 the judge should not judge someone she competed with 4 The opening number while good did not showcase the ladies and I did spot one moment ( it went past so fast I am not sure of this) where the dancers made a obscene gesture. (NT) -- betty, 16:19:06 05/17/17 Wed
- I agree the diversity talk really came off as fake, well intended, but came off as over playing and fake. And YES, FOCUS ON THE GIRLS!! Let them intro themselves, Name, Age, City and State, it's tragic people didn't get to hear every single girl intro themselves, the majority of viewers didn't see the SnapChats, the behind the scenes YouTube stuff, the videos on the website; if they are trying to cater to the average viewer they failed on intros again because they have no idea who the girl is and they just know her state from her sash for the 2.5 seconds she was on screen as they said "Alabama". (NT) -- Anon-ie, 16:20:58 05/17/17 Wed
- I quit reading after you said Pitbull was perfect. You must have been having vision and hearing issues during the performance. (NT) -- Ugh, 16:30:58 05/17/17 Wed
- The younger girls may not have a chance if they want accomplishments and huge success. Someone that is a college student may not cut it. (NT) -- JMO, 16:35:46 05/17/17 Wed
- Iceman this is probably one of the best reviews you've ever done and you made some really great points. I don't hate where IMG is going but please don't eliminate the beauty aspect I think you can have both. I understand the top 10 based on speaking content it made sense BUT nobody can tell me that the faces of the pageant were so terrible in speaking that they couldn't make the top 10. I don't think Kara was a bad choice but I did not think her answer was the best her win was left field like deshaunas in my opinion. My main issues with the whole thing is that people not knowing who they're looking for and especially the contestants and the fact that it seemed very predetermined. (NT) -- South star, 16:40:58 05/17/17 Wed
- This is one of your best post's. (NT) -- WilliamNYC, 16:42:44 05/17/17 Wed
- Thank you for your review. Unfortunately, when you are spending several thousand dollars for a pageant (even worse if you win) it makes it difficult if you don't even know the criteria you are looking for. I wish they would be more open and specific. We will see if this increases the number of contestants. I doubt it will. If you are going to spend the time becoming "accomplished" you might as well do the America system. (NT) -- I don't think this changes the downward trajectory of this system., 16:48:57 05/17/17 Wed
- Lets be real about FL though. Genesis would not have made top 10 with this new criteria. And I Can't imagine her how her fans would have acted. I think Linette was right in line with the new criteria imho. (NT) -- south star, 20:21:21 05/17/17 Wed
- Most execellant review! To someone who questioned it, I can indeed attest Iceman had DC as a front-runner before the show, as we had lunch right after the final dress rehersal. I totally agree that, while it's a message I certainly believe in, "diversity" was an agenda pretty much shoved down our throats the entire show. And there OUGHT to be at least ONe T & A judge, right?? I'm sure we'll survive the direction change just fine. It's just an adjustment. (NT) -- Tiki-Java, 20:29:44 05/17/17 Wed
- I agreed with just about everything you mentioned. Would ya look at that! First time for everything. haha Thanks for including your thoughts. (NT) -- Broccoli, 20:45:23 05/17/17 Wed
- Excellent review, my friend. (NT) -- Former, 21:28:59 05/17/17 Wed
- Great summary and I am in agreement. I was terribly disappointed by several of MUO's choices and believe their selection of judges was not thoughtful. I'm ALL about girl-power but beauty and styling should be meaningful -- otherwise you end up being a hybrid of Miss America! (NT) -- Catherine Cates - NYC, 22:27:28 05/17/17 Wed
- Iceman, thank you for this! I think youre spot on as usual. I think this new direction however will destroy this pageant as it alienates the masses and keeps the market for contestants too small thus state pageants will lose money. IMG will ultimately lose money also and Miss USA will either go up for sale or dissolve! (NT) -- Sad but true, 13:05:10 05/18/17 Thu
- I just don't understand if their theme this year was Diversity, Why didn't they tell the directors that last year? What will be the "Theme" next year. This is where the credibility goes out the window. (NT) -- Use your words and tell people what your criteria is!, 14:28:57 05/18/17 Thu
- I believe it has always been their theme. Think about the top 5 last year: one Caucasian, one Latina, two African Americans and one Asian. (NT) -- IMG has been consistent. We are finally catching on., 14:42:42 05/18/17 Thu