Before we begin, go buy this shirt from Brooklyn + West. It’s my new favorite wardrobe item, and I want all of you to feel the same joy I do when wearing it.
[Please excuse the fact that this was the first time my legs saw the sun this summer, and the giant bruise on my right thigh from smacking into the bed post during a frantic run to the kitchen for some water in the middle of the night.]
Alrighty, onto Miss USA:
When I explain to the general population that Miss USA and Miss America are not the same thing, people get very confused. So let me break it down for you.
Here are the technical differences between Miss USA and Miss America:
- Miss USA and Miss America are owned and run by different organizations (USA is the one formerly owned by Trump)
- Miss America is the old-timey one, dating back to the 1920s
- Miss USA is the one that goes to Miss Universe
- Miss America gives scholarship money to the winners, and the girls do more “serious” speaking engagements
- Miss USA is more of a traditional beauty pageant, with the winner doing more glamorous appearances and winning a modeling contract (at least they used to…I’m not entirely sure of their current prize package)
- Miss America has talent, swimsuit, evening gown, on stage question, and a 10 minute “press conference style” private interview about political events, social issues, and the contestants’ personal platforms (these interviews are not aired on T.V., but are heavily weighted in the scoring)
- Miss USA does not have a talent portion, so much more emphasis is on swimsuit and evening gown. They also have an on stage question, plus a short private interview with less “intense” questions than Miss America
- Miss America has the rights to the official state names like “Miss California” or “Miss Virginia,” so they get slightly peeved when USA girls say “I’m Miss California,” because they’re not. They’re Miss California USA.
- Miss USA is for-profit
- Miss America is non-profit
Here are the not-so-technical differences that the Pageant Land claims as truth, because it’s kind of like a two-party system:
- Miss USA girls are the hot ones
- Miss America girls are the smart ones
These quick summary statements are not exactly true, but they’re not exactly false.
While I competed in the Miss America system because I liked its historical significance, the challenging interview, and the talent portion, I also competed in Miss America because I am not a sexy glamazon. So I’m not going to say I’m “more well-rounded” than Miss USA girls and pretend that I didn’t compete in that system because I’m “too smart” or something. Maybe if I had the body of a Victoria’s Secret model and could give a sexy glare without looking like a murderer, my system of choice would’ve been different. But I’m an apple-pie-loose-thighs kind of girl who sounds like a fat lady when she sings opera and got all A’s my freshman year of college, so straight into Miss America’s lap I fell. And I’m not talking about the time I drank way too much wine with Mallory Hagan.
Are some Miss America girls sexy glamazons? Absolutely. Are some Miss USA contestants smart and talented? You betcha. But you can’t be Miss America without being smart and talented, and you can’t be Miss USA without being a sexy glamazon. If you’re all three of those things, congratulations, you’re what Pageantland calls a “cross over girl,” who can successfully compete in both systems.
One such cross over girl is a favorite human of mine, Allyn Rose. She was Miss D.C. in the Miss America system, and Miss Maryland USA. She, too, writes a lifestyle + humor blog called All in with Allyn, and will be posting a Miss USA recap later today or tomorrow. She actually attended the pageant in Vegas last night, plus she has way more insight because she was Top 8 at Miss USA a few years ago, so definitely go read hers when you’re done here. Trust me, she’s far more qualified to write a pageant recap.
Me, on the other hand? I’m just going to spout out random thoughts I had while watching the pageant on my parents’ TV, because I don’t like to pay for cable. Qualified, I am not. Observant and a little bit tipsy, I am.
Seriously, who would YOU listen to?
Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Allyn eat potato chips off her stomach, too, so really, we’re one and the same. Which means I also look just like her in bathing suit, obviously.
Before we truly dive into this recap, let me also say that the way I choose to judge contestants (and people in life) is by things they can change about themselves. If you were born with a giant schnoz that seems to grow every time you tell a lie, I’m not going to dog you. That’s not your fault. If your inseam is only 25 inches and your stride is about as long one of those little birds running on the beach, I will not point it out. God made you that way, and it’s beautiful. But if you put on a dress that looks like someone threw fabric in a blender and then draped it across your body, I’m going to take issue with that. If you walk like a dinosaur, I’m going to question why you didn’t practice walking in heels before doing so on national television. Capeche?
P.S.– I totally walked like a dinosaur when I competed, so it’s not like I don’t understand the perils of trying to look graceful when you’re walking across a stage half naked.
P.S.S.– I’m sure that most of these contestants are perfectly wonderful human beings, and I would be their friends no matter any wardrobe catastrophe or contouring fail (not that I’ve ever contoured a day in my life).
THE ACTUAL RECAP:
Last night’s Miss USA pageant kicked off with Steve Harvey making fun of his mishap at the Miss Universe Pageant last December. I was on my honeymoon when the whole thing happened, but from the texts that flooded my phone once I got service, I literally thought someone had died onstage. In case you forgot, Mr. Harvey was hosting the show, and read the wrong person’s name as the winner. He “accidentally” announced Colombia, but Philippines had actually won. Colombia was de-throned right there on stage about 3 minutes after she was crowned. Pretty much the biggest “PSYCH!!” in history.
Honestly, I’m one of the people who thinks the whole thing was rigged for publicity, because they usually crown the girl with about 1 minute to spare before their live T.V. time slot ends. They crowned Miss Colombia with at least 5 minutes to spare, which makes me think that the network knew that something was going to “happen,” so they allotted extra time at the end. #pageantconspiracytheories
Harvey had a “heart-to-heart” with last night’s host, Terrance J, in the dressing room. He warned Mr. J to never say the word “Colombia,” no matter what happens. As you probably know by now, that piece of advice became very ironic throughout the night.
The show kicked off with a montage of really glamorous, slow motion shots of individual contestants doing “real girl” things in their home states. I felt like I was watching a high end tampon commercial, but I can’t say I hated it. We saw these girls doing everything from ice hockey to horseback riding to sky diving, all while wearing 10 lbs of weave and fake eyelashes. Respect. I was particularly impressed with the close up shot of one girl emerging from a swimming pool, soaking wet, but her makeup didn’t budge an inch. I’ll tell you right now, my CVS mascara would’ve looked something like this:
Terrance J and Julianne Hough are officially announced as the hosts, and my husband shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He and I both know that he’s in love with Julianne Hough, but it’s not something we like to talk about.
Throughout the night, Julianne and Terrance have exactly one shtick: Never change their outfits at the same time, and claim that the other one missed the cue to change. I think both of them are like, 24 years old, so honestly, if an awkward shtick was the worst thing that happened, I’m cool with it. The fact that they are barely potty trained, yet were entrusted with running 3 hours of live TV was a big risk on Fox’s part. I just can’t trust them the same way I trust Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke, the go-to hosts of Miss America.
Remember when Ryan Seacrest was the only host ever hired for live television? Good times.
EDM “superstars” (a bit of a stretch if you ask me) NERVO take the stage for the opening number. I don’t know who they are, but they’re adorable girls in neon outifts, and clearly not doing any live DJing. Instead, they giggle and bop around a fake DJ system with backup dancers dressed in metallic gold leggings. The whole night, I felt like they were laughing at the show, not with the show, and it made me like them even more.
One by one, the contestants introduce themselves, and I’m convinced half of them have nodes, and the other half would easily beat me in a yelling match. I swear, Iowa held the “a” for so long that I thought they might have to cut to commercials.
Rhode Island was the only one who stood out to me, but that is just because she looks exactly like the actress who always plays Hilary Duff’s BFF. Am I right or am I right?
Once the girls were done screaming their names at the top of their lungs, we got to see more video montages of them in their home states. This is the last time I’ll mention their
tampon commercials highlight reels, because they all showed pretty much the same thing, except the one where they all taught their dads how to do the pageant walk. That was amazing. My dad would’ve slayyyyyed.
Hey look! Derek Peth from The Bachelorette is in the audience! Hi, Derek! Where’s JoJo??
Backstage, Ashley Graham (first ever plus size model on the cover of Sports Illustrated) explains that one contestant was chosen to compete by the general public through submitting herself online. She will be competing tonight under the title of “Miss 52.” Raise your hand if you’re surprised the winner of Miss 52 is a seasoned pageant veteran from Oklahoma?
For the first time ever, they blatantly acknowledge that it’s not entirely judges’ scores that get girls into the Top 15. “The judges, members of the Miss USA Organization, and people at home have chosen the Top 15.” Members of the Miss USA Organization get to hand pick girls? AKA, they rig the thing? I mean, we all know it’s been happening for years, but I applaud the transparency this time around.
We see clips of the girls in rehearsal, which includes a
pageant drill sergeant director barking out orders/advice. At one point, she says to the girls, “Don’t look at the judges too much. Only look into their eyes once, but when you do, LOOK INTO THEIR SOUL.”
You need to calm down, lady.
Finally time to announce the Top 15! I’m rooting for Virginia because I know her, and she’s also gorgeous and happens to be a doctor. Casual. I also like Hawaii because she’s got a cool athlete vibe, and California because I think she’s done a great job advocating for healthy bodies. Plus she has a trendy lob.
Here we go! Your Top 15 are:
South Carolina— Wears her hair straight, which I like. She competed on American Idol.
Ohio— Sweetie, you’re so pretty. Lay off the tanning beds and foundation, and you’ll look 20 years younger.
Georgia— So beautiful, but I wouldn’t be caught dead sitting next to my father in a skin tight dress that is designed to make everyone stare at my boobs, which Georgia did in her little video. [I say this outloud as I’m watching, and my father, who is sitting to my left says, “Damn right you wouldn’t.” LOL, I love my Dad.]
Arizona— Has a registered emotional support animal, and I wonder why she doesn’t have the dog onstage with her, during what is obviously the most anxiety-inducing moment of her life.
Alabama— Definitely has nodes, but I like her Marilyn Monroe mole.
West Virginia— Cute.
Colombia Columbia— She’s in the army, which we will be reminded of over and over and over and over and over and over again throughout the night.
California— Her dad is Rico Suave. Hilarious.
Missouri— Bounciest walk of all time.
Connecticut— Ethnically ambiguous, and calls herself “Miss Connecticut,” not “Miss Connecticut USA.” MAO girls across the country throw their lowfat lowcarb lowsalt popcorn at the screen.
Hawaii— So tall and so pretty and so athletic. Former Junior Olympic volleyball player.
South Dakota— Doesn’t wear weave. Props.
Arkansas— Owns more bedazzled clothing than Elton John.
Virginia— I was trying not to be biased, but DANG Desi was looking gorgeous last night. To me, she was facially the most beautiful in the pageant, hands down.
Oklahoma— Sports Reporter Barbie.
The girls run off stage to change into their swimsuits, and surprise! California was the People’s Choice vote!
It’s been over an hour and we’ve yet to see a single second of competition. My dad and husband are fading.
As the girls primp in the dressing room, we meet the judges. My favorite is obviously Nigel Barker, because he has a sexy accent and was on America’s Next Top Model. I would’ve been even more thrilled if Miss Jay was a judge, but I’ll take what I can get.
The current Miss USA, Olivia Jordan walks on stage after a montage of her year of service, and she makes Julianne Hough look downright dumpy. I glance over at my husband and smile on the inside.
EDM “superstars” NERVO come back onstage to bop around again while the girls compete in swimsuit. By this point, I’ve developed full-on girl crushes on these little psychedelic DJs.
The non-finalist contestants parade across the stage in their bikinis, and I am reminded that I should probably start working out regularly.
Here come the Top 15 in swimsuit!
South Carolina— A random male voice tells us that South Carolina doesn’t wear a lot of makeup because she likes to be “natural.” Uh, yeah, “natural” isn’t what I’d personally use to describe her. The words “silicone” and “tanning wipes” come to mind. Of course, my husband likes her body the best. Leave it to the straight male to choose the one girl with giant fake tittays. If I didn’t love him so much, I’d hate him.
Ohio— The male voice says she’s been competing for a long time. My dad says she hasn’t been eating for a long time. Both are true.
Georgia— Her face reminds me of Kerry Washington, and no, not just because they’re both black. Calm down. She has a good walk, but could’ve used a little more support for her girls. Yeah, we know that boobs naturally sit closer to the armpits than to the sternum, but this is a pageant. Grab some duct tape and get to work.
Arizona— I’m distracted by her belly button ring hole.
Alabama— Why does she look exactly like the current Miss Alabama in the Miss America Organization?
West Virginia— Her swimsuit bottoms leave very little to the imagination. The male voice says that “she wasn’t a favorite coming into the competition, but has really stepped up and wowed the judges.” Kind of mean, sir.
Colombia Columbia— She stuck out her tongue and winked, which threw me off, but was a solid distraction from the fact that she’s a toothpick.
California— She had a little pooch to her stomach, but I loved it, because she used to be anorexic, and openly told the world that she wouldn’t be unhealthy in her preparations for Miss USA. I salute you, dear.
Missouri— Still blonde and bouncy.
Connecticut— Her swimsuit top is so loose that I’m sure we’re going to lose a chicken cutlet insert at any moment.
Hawaii— She works out.
South Dakota— Audrey Hepburn waist, but I hate swimsuit bottoms that have fake ties on the side.
Arkansas— Looks just like Missouri, but has my favorite swimsuit of the night in terms of the actual swimsuit itself. It was a simple white little number, and looked amazing on her. No bedazzling though, so something seemed wrong.
Virginia— Desi is super muscular, but this is the best I’ve ever seen her look. Feminine, gorgeous, with a killer walk. YOU BETTER WERK DESI.
Oklahoma— Beach Barbie.
One tampon commercial and one host outfit change later, we find out the Top 10:
Arkansas (next to Missouri, I’ll have no clue which is which)
Terrance the host asks one of the judges, who is the Executive Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, what she is looking for in the evening gown competition, and she answers, “I’m looking for a good f***.”
OMG OMG OMG WOWWW WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY???
I rewound the television. Turns out she said she’s “looking for a good frock.” FROCK, people. As in, garment. I’m disappointed and relieved at the same time.
Country singer Chris Young starts singing, and I’m convinced he keeps forgetting the words to his own song, until I realize something is wrong with his earpiece. I’d feel bad for him except this is the closest he’ll ever get to women this hot.
Evening gown competition:
Virginia— Wears a skin tight, red jersey frock, and gives the camera a serious, sexy face like a boss. Shivers.
Alabama— Looks terrified, wears boring white grecian dress.
California— Always looks like she’s having fun. Sports a flowy tangerine dress with extra chiffon fabric that doubles as a set of wings.
Georgia— Wears a white dress and a cape with structured, beaded shoulders. Some say high fashion, my husband says Count Dracula.
Connecticut— Her dress almost looks Victorian, but I’m too distracted by her God-awful acrylic shoes to decide whether or not I like the dress.
*Insert country dancers for a minute, and I am highly disappointed that this isn’t on ABC, because they would’ve brought out the professionals from Dancing with the Stars. These backup dancers for Chris Young were hard to watch. Give me Witney Carson or give me death.*
Colombia Columbia— She stole her fully fringed disco ball dress from Dolly Parton’s closet, but it’s way too big on the top.
Missouri— A white and mesh gown with strategically placed cutouts. Kind of boring.
Arkansas— What her swimsuit lacked in bedazzling, she made up for her in gown. Her spray tan is beginning to peel between her boobs, and I know her pain.
South Dakota— I hated this dress for the first millisecond, then loved it. She, too, rocked a cape, but the material moved so beautifully that I couldn’t even be mad that she was trying to imitate Olivia Jordan’s look at Miss Universe. Her gown was all white, with blue tie dye on the bottom, which kind of made it look like she stepped in a puddle, but I was into it.
Hawaii— She wore an all white number that would’ve been an excellent choice for the Olympic Figure Skating team. Her strategically placed cutouts were even more strategic that Missouri’s, plus she wore a detachable tutu on the back for dramatic effect. Somehow, it all came together brilliantly.
For the first time so far, they keep the show moving quickly, and announce the Top 5:
I’m pretty peeved that Virginia didn’t make the cut. My picks were Hawaii, California, Virginia, South Dakota, and Georgia, but nobody asked me.
Everyone’s favorite area of competition is next: Onstage Question!
Alabama— What is Muhammad Ali’s legacy? “He was amazing at what he did, and we should all remember to never give up and reach our dreams.” [Fairly certain she had no clue that he was a boxer.]
Colombia Columbia— The Pentagon recently made decision to open up all combat jobs to women, and some have questioned if this puts political correctness over the military’s ability to perform at its highest level. What do you think? “As a woman in the military [waits for thunderous applause to die down], I think it was a great decision to let women integrate in to every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I am powerful, I am dedicated, and it’s important to recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.” [Whether or not you agree with her, this woman is freakin’ eloquent.]
Georgia— Do you think voting laws make it too difficult for people to vote? “I think we need to teach youth how important voting is so everyone can be educated.” [That was not the question. Classic pageant patty spewing out what she rehearsed instead of putting together a thoughtful answer.]
Up next: California! Yay! She’s one of my favorites! Here she goes….!!
WAAM! BOOM! A lighting bolt strikes some wire in my neighborhood and we lose all power.
Trust me, I’m just as disappointed as you are that this is where my recap comes to an end. I wanted to see the Backstreet Boys perform, goshdarnit! But I’ll survive. If it’d been N*SYNC, though, I would’ve thrown a full fledged tantrum.
I did watch some videos on YouTube this morning, and I can tell you this:
California froze during her final question about the expanding socioeconomic gap in America, which reminded me that she’s a baby child who is only 20 years old and was in no way prepared to speak on serious topics. Bless her heart. The Top 3 were: District of
Colombia Columbia, Hawaii, and Georgia. The three of them had to answer a second On Stage Question, and District of Colombia Columbia nailed it, yet again.
I was hoping for Hawaii as the winner because I’m a shallow, horrible person who values sex appeal over U.S. military service, but in the end, District of
Colombia Columbia came out on top. Hawaii was 1st runner up, with Georgia as 2nd runner up.
Terrance didn’t even hesitate when he called District of
Colombia Columbia as the winner, and somewhere backstage, Steve Harvey did a shot of Patrón.
Congratulations to all of the gorgeous women who competed last night, especially District of Columbia, who showed the world that intelligence and drive are truly the most beautiful traits in the world. To the rest of the girls, I hope you’re enjoying a nice, juicy burger today.
Want more recap goodness? Check out my Bachelor(ette) recaps on Tuesday mornings following episodes of The Bachelorette, airing Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.