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Pageant Guru Message Board
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The Week Courtesy of Ernie Koneck
The Road to Miss America Board Courtesy of yrralh
Ascent from Obscurity by Lavern Cameron
Amazing Win, Amazing Loss: Miss America Living Happily, EVEN After by Angela Perez Baraquio
Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain by Kate Shindle


Subject: Favorite place for autograph cards. Looking for a company who designs and prints with good pricing.


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Date Posted: 14:54:50 10/22/14 Wed


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Subject: Does MAO post her schedule for the month anywhere? I'd like to see her if/when she comes to my area


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Date Posted: 14:47:30 10/21/14 Tue


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Subject: Personalized merchandise for titleholders: Shutterfly coupon 40% off sitewide


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Date Posted: 12:58:29 10/22/14 Wed

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Subject: My Format Ideas for Miss America Broadcast


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Ernie Koneck
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Date Posted: 23:04:28 10/12/14 Sun

Overall, the biggest problem I have with the telecast is that what the general "non pageant" public sees does not represent what the program is all about, it is often demeaning to the contestants (this year in particular), and a viewer who didn't understand the ins and outs of MAO judging will generally not understand how or why the winner wins. So to address these concerns, and to get some self-respect back in the program, here's what I would suggest. Note: It's highly likely this format would require more than 2 hours, but hey, it's one night a year. And all the live awards shows usually take 3-4 hours, so I don't think the length is a big deal.

Contestant intros: Girls introduce themselves, mention their educational background/status, and identify one benefit of the program (other than scholarships) that they have received from competing in the program. (Note: In rehearsal, the contestants, would each have to identify 3 main benefits, then one would be chosen by the producer for each girl, so everyone doesn't say the same thing. Also, the order of intros would be non-alphabetical to separate those contestants who did mention similar/same benefits.) Finally, for each girl, there would be a super on-screen showing how much scholarship money she had earned to date from MAO, including any awards presented during pageant week.

Top 15: Personally, I prefer seeing 15 compete on final night over 10. The more the merrier. And I may be in the minority on this, but I think the eliminations after each competition make for a more exciting show. The top 15 would be based strictly on competition scores from the 5 areas of prelim competition. There would be composite attribute scores, but those wouldn't come into play until the top 5. So the 15 semi-finalists would actually start the night even - all prior scores eliminated.

Also, there would be no switching to a 6-10 scale on final night, and competitions would be judges at face value, NOT taking into account their ability to do the job. As far as I'm concerned, their ability to do the job is captured in their interview score, and to a lesser extent in the other 4 competitions combined. If they have made the top 15, chances are they can do the job of Miss America, some better than others of course, but no one at that point would be an embarrassment to the organization.

The only scoring change I might suggest is to increase on-stage question to 10% and cut swimsuit to 10%. Also, on-stage questions would NOT be about their platform (mostly what you get are girls repeating the 30-45 second "sound bite" about their platform they have all perfected by the time they get to MA. As a result, in about 80-90% of the cases I've seen personally, their answers don't directly answer the questions they're asked. So instead of platform questions, I would focus on questions they might actually get asked as Miss America - interesting items from their resume, current events - but only if they are directly relevant to young women (i.e., nothing about ISIS, but education funding, sexual assaults on campuses, frat & sorority hazing, how millenials plan for their careers in an uncertain economy, rising costs of higher education, should everyone go to college, etc.)

So the top 15 are announced in random order, and still photos of each girl in ss and gown are shown, as well as a very brief sound bite from their interview.

Top 15 would first compete in evening wear (20% of their final night score). Based strictly on that competition, 12 would be announced as moving forward to the 2nd phase of competition, and 3 would be eliminated. And the 3 eliminated would be announced in placement order, 15th thru 13th. Each eliminated girl of the night would be given 20 seconds to express her feelings at that point. (I believe 99% of all contestants would say something positive, but if the occasional rogue contestant is bitter and shows it, so be it. I think it reflects poorly on her as an individual, and not on the program.) Now, since most people don't see Miss America live and in person, evening wear would also serve as a "videogenic" competition and judged not only on how the girl looks live, but on how her looks translate to video. The judges would view videos of each contestant's evening wear presentation, which might take the format of a "red carpet" appearance with a "reporter" asking about her dress. (Please, no more Tony Bowls or anyone dressing ALL the contestants.) The reason I put evening wear first, is that it would most likely eliminate the semi-finalists who are the least attractive. The 3 eliminated contestants would receive "Emerald" scholarships of a certain value (higher than any non-finalist scholarship).


Top 12 would compete in talent. Now this might be confusing, but I'll suggest it anyway. The 12 talents shown on the broadcast live would be the 12 highest scoring talents of the pageant. Some of the final night 12 would certainly be in that group, but some wouldn't. This way, the most talented non-finalists would be showcased instead of contestants who are strong in everything but talent. For the contestants in the top 12, who don't have "top 12" talents, 30-second clips of their prelim talent performance would be shown, and their prelim talent score would carry over onto the final night tabulation. It's the best way I can think of to stop making the talent competition a joke to the rest of "non-pageant" America. Talent would account for 30% of the final night score. Again, the eliminated contestants would be announced as finishing in either 12th place or 11th place overall. They eliminated duo would receive "Ruby" scholarships - higher value than "Emerald" but not as much as the 10 survivors will get. During talent, there would be pop-ups on the screen but they would be more like "graduated Magna Cum Laude in 3 years" and not "is afraid of the dark." Every pop-up fact would be something that makes the contestant look good, not silly.

The top 10 would be determined based their combined scores from talent and evening wear. So the actual split in scores at that point is 60% talent./40% evening wear, so you most likely eliminate the least talented contestants among those remaining. The top 10 would compete in swimsuit, accounting for 20% of the final night score, primarily because no one wants a chubby Miss America. In this case, contestants would be judged not only on their live presentation, but on photos taken while they model. The judges would view the digital photos as well as the live presentation, so this becomes a "photogenic" competition as well. The audience would see the digital photos when the judges do, so they can make their own evaluations. After swimsuit, 3 finalists would be eliminated, and identified as 10th, 9th and 8th place. This elimination would be calculated as approximately 42% talent, 29% evening wear and 29% swimsuit. The 3 eliminated contestants would receive "Sapphire" scholarships - again, more than the Ruby and Emerald awarded to already eliminated semi-finalists.

There would be 7 finalists remaining after swimsuit. Each of these 7 would participate in the 4th and final round of competition, on-stage interview. Notice it says "interview" not "question." A journalist or former Miss A would be given the job of conducting a 2-1/2 minute interview with each of the top 7. About 3/4 of the interview would be devoted to getting to know the contestant, based on info from her resumé. The remaining 45 seconds or so would be a current event question, preferably of the same type as the prelim on-stage questions - items of concern to young college women, not world crises that are more suited for the President or Secretary of State. (Personally, I think it's great, in a way, that the pageant forces contestants to learn about current events, but really, when was the last time any of you saw a Miss America being questioned about the Middle East - there's always a crisis there - or solving the problems in our messed-up political system or the economy. If they really knew the answers to those kinds of issues, then the prize shouldn't be a scholarship, it should be a position in the President's Cabinet! Seriously!)

Now the person conducting the interviews would have been given all the contestant resumés and platform statements ahead of time, to prepare the more personal questions they wanted to ask. The current events questions would be on a "Wheel of Fortune" spinning wheel or a dartboard, and the contestants would spin the wheel or throw the dart, and whatever question was closest would be the one they get - so it doesn't look fixed for anyone. Plus it might lend itself to funny moments (say a girl can't hit the dartboard to save her life.) Also, each of the final 7 would be assigned a number based on the random order in which they were called, and the questioner would draw numbers out of a fishbowl to determine the order in which the final 7 were interviewed. The on-stage interview would count for 30% of the final night score. I would borrow the old USA sound-proof booth and have the girls called out of there one at a time. They leave the stage after their interview. The on-stage interview is a chance for the audience to get to know more about each finalist, and an opportunity for the contestants to express their individuality.

So at this point (are you still awake?), there is one final elimination based on all 4 competitions - 30% interview, 30% talent, 20% swimsuit, 20% evening wear.) 5 finalists are announced as the 20XX Court Of Honor, and 2 are awarded "Diamond" scholarships, more than the other semifinalists but less than the top 5. They would be identified as 7th and 6th place.

With the final 5, the competition scores are now eliminated and the "composite attribute" scores assigned after prelims come into play. They account for 50% of the final results. The other 50% is based on the final ballot the judges now fill out. The big difference with the current final ballot is that it isn's so heavily waited to the winner ( e.g., 10 pts for 1st, 5 for 2nd, then 3, 2, 1. Rather it would go back to the traditional ballot weighting - 10 pts for 1st, 8 pts for 2nd, 6 pts for 3rd, 4 pts for 4th and 2pts for 5th. I think this weighting makes it less likely that a judge can bury "their choice's" closest rival.)

So while the judges are balloting additional non-finalist talent winners are announced (the ones who actually performed during the talent competition would have been announced at that point) with brief clips of their talent, along with non-finalist interview winners, and overall winners in every competition.

Finally the four runners-up and the winner are announced.

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Subject: Please help !!


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Date Posted: 21:36:17 10/21/14 Tue

I am starting to compete in some prelims and hopefully will win one in order to go on to the state pageant. This will be my first time competing in the Miss division. I am having trouble coming up with a song for the talent portion. I am an alto and not really into ballad-type songs. I have been looking on Bill Wolfe's website and everything there looks very "old school". After watching the Miss America pageant it seems like talent needs to be relevent and fresh--(no jokes about the red cup!) Any ideas and suggestions would be so appreciated!! Thanks!

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