Here’s the deal, pageant peeps. I need you to read each of these two sentences three (3) times each before we begin. You ready?
1 (a). I, [state your name in your head, or out loud if you’re one of those people who talks to yourself], promise not to bash Shannon or this blog on anonymous message boards just because I don’t agree with her Top 10 list.
1 (b). I, [state your name in your head, or out loud if you’re one of those people who talks to yourself], promise not to bash Shannon or this blog on anonymous message boards just because I don’t agree with her Top 10 list.
1 (c). I, [state your name in your head, or out loud if you’re one of those people who talks to yourself], promise not to bash Shannon or this blog on anonymous message boards just because I don’t agree with her Top 10 list.
Alrighty, we good? Got that first one down? Exxxxxcellent.
2 (a). I, [same deal as above], understand that Shannon has a lot of things on her plate, like reading books written by comedians and C list celebrities, actively avoiding cheese because it’s almost jeans season, and picking out what kind of puppy she wants to get in November (!!!!). Therefore, she may not have done enough research to know all of the things I [think I] know about the contestants.
2 (b). I, [same deal as above], understand that Shannon has a lot of things on her plate, like reading books written by comedians and C list celebrities, actively avoiding cheese because it’s almost jeans season, and picking out what kind of puppy she wants to get in November (!!!!). Therefore, she may not have done enough research to know all of the things I [think I] know about the contestants.
2 (c). I, [same deal as above], understand that Shannon has a lot of things on her plate, like reading books written by comedians and C list celebrities, actively avoiding cheese because it’s almost jeans season, and picking out what kind of puppy she wants to get in November (!!!!). Therefore, she may not have done enough research to know all of the things I [think I] know about the contestants.
CONGRATULATIONS!! You are now ready to read today’s blog. Welcome. I love you.
In 2014, my “theme” was that I personally knew basically half the girls competing. I was super informed on a first or secondhand level simply because I was barely out of competing, myself, so these babes were friends of friends. Or actual friends. Or girls I watched compete on American Idol when I was 16.
In 2015, my theme was “girl crushes.” I didn’t know anything about talent or personality. I went strictly off how much I liked staring at their faces. I was a little busy planning my wedding, so it was the easiest route.
As you might suspect, I had better outcome stats in 2014. Eight of my 10 made the first round of cuts at Miss America. However, when I based my predictions solely off looks, I still got 5 out of 10. Not bad, eh? And yet, we dare to say this isn’t a beauty pageant…wait, what? Sorry, I blacked out for a second.
This year, I wasn’t sure what my theme would be until watching a bunch of videos of the contestants. But before I reveal how those videos shaped my way of choosing the list of ladies this go ’round, let me just put it out there that I don’t know any of them personally. Well, any but 3.
You see, I met Miss South Carolina (Rachel Wyatt– they have real names!) once when she was a baby child. She was attending my pal Mallory’s Miss America Homecoming while she was the reigning Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2012..? 13? One of those years. My favorite memory of Rachel was when we (“we” being Mal, Rachel, me and all the other Miss America contestants in town for Mal’s Homecoming) attended a Broadway play. Not a musical. Play. The play was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Innocent enough, right?
WRONG. SO WRONG.
This show included a full nude scene by the male and female lead actors. Not only did they get completely naked onstage (boobs, butt, Tom Brady’s balls, the whole kit and caboodle), but then they hopped into a bathtub together for some sexy time. On. Stage. I kid you not.
I want you to imagine the faces of the chaperones with all these “wholesome” (LOL if only you knew) pageant contestants in the audience. I cannot tell you what entertainment and profound hilarity it brought to my soul.
The best part was that we had a teenager with us. Yep, Rachel Wyatt, the future Miss South Carolina. You could just see the panic in her chaperone’s eyes, like “What am I going to tell her mother??” I don’t know anything about Rachel, but let me tell you, the girl handled it like a champ. While Mallory, me, and a few other of the 21+ girls were DYING over what we just witnessed, Rachel looked like it was just another Wednesday. I don’t know her life, but it must be pretty exciting. If two naked people getting in a bathtub less than 50 feet away can’t ruffle her feathers, I dare the Miss America judges to try. I DARE THEM.
Side note: The female lead in the play was the girl who now plays Khaleesi on Game of Thrones! I saw Khaleesi’s boobs LIVE. In the flesh. Since the only men reading this post are gay, this will not inspire a very excited reaction, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Alright, let me get back on track here.
So, I’ve met Rachel Wyatt, Miss South Carolina. I obviously think highly of her. I’ve also met Miss New York, Camille Simms, because hi. I was Miss New York. Additionally, I know Miss Virginia, Michaela (Mish-A-la) Sigmon, because I judged her local pageant. That’s right folks, I take all the credit for her going to Miss America. JK. I take 1/12th of the credit. (7 local judges + 5 state judges = 12) #STEM
Other than that, I have no insight to these contestants. Nada. So, you’re welcome, I did a wee bit of research. I watched talent videos (not of all 52, but I mean, what do you want from me), some interview videos, and even those weird promo Instagram videos they were forced to make. I also watched every single one of their introductions during the opening ceremony in Atlantic City.
Despite really slacking in my talent research, and even though I haven’t checked out their swimsuit bods, I have my list. And I think it’s pretty bomb. This year the theme is:
That’s right, hippies. I chalk this list up to good vibrations.
You can pick up on a lot of vibes from someone when they’re forced to make cheesy videos about “bossing up.” (Bless.) You can also get vibes when someone introduces themselves to a [small] crowd of pageant fans in Atlantic City, or from photos during rehearsals. My favorite way to catch vibes is through natural interviews they’ve all done with local news stations throughout their states, but I only gave that kind of time to girls who stood out in their Insta videos or in pictures. Oh, oh, and vibes also exist in the few talent videos I’ve seen. A girl who sings while playing guitar is a whole lotta different from a ribbon dancer, I’ll tell you that much.
Okay, here’s my Top 10, based on VIBES, in alphabetical order.
(I can say all the states in alphabetical order in one breath, which helps a lot in making these lists. And yes, I did this party trick in a pageant interview once at the judges’ request. Obviously they REALLY CARED about finding out if I was good for the job of Miss Virginia. Thoughts on education, or party trick? Party trick, duh! This, folks, is why your fact sheet is important. Don’t give them ammunition to ask stupid questions. Though I guess it made me extra patriotic, which is kind of in theme with Miss America. We’ll call it a win.)
P.S.– I copped out and chose a Top 11 because I have no backbone and can’t commit to anything but my husband and the show Parenthood.
**This was written before any preliminary competition results, but I still stand by the list!**
1. Arkansas, Savvy Shields
If someone’s eyes disappear when they smile, they’re a good person. Talk about some happy vibes. Based on the videos I’ve seen, she’s not the strongest dancer in the world, but who cares because have you seen her face? Also, have you seen some of the talents that grace the Miss America stage? She’ll be just fine. Her media interviews portray a woman who is very calm and confident, as did her opening ceremony introduction. It also doesn’t hurt that she has a sultry crackle to her voice that could be vocal fry, or could be from years working in the phone sex industry*, but either way I really like it.
*I made this up. Savvy obviously** doesn’t work in the phone sex industry.
**Actually, I don’t know if she works in the phone sex industry or not, but she probably doesn’t, and you shouldn’t assume she does just because she has a sexy voice*** and her name is Savvy Shields.****
***I sound like a mix between a Disney Princess and Fran Drescher, so this is why I pay such close attention to people’s voices.
****This is similar to how last year, we couldn’t assume that Miss Alabama, Meg McGuffin, really liked to eat Egg McMuffins.
2. District of Columbia, Cierra Jackson
This gorgeous lady knows how to work a social media platform. And a stage. Her talent videos impress me, her speaking videos impress me, and her hair impresses me. She’s SO cute. I’m obsessed with her look. But looks aside, her opening ceremony introduction was spunky, confident, and absolutely charming. If both Miss USA and Miss America end up being District of Columbia reps who support the military, I foresee a LOT of excellent publicity. But, like, can I be honest…? Miss USA is pretty and all, but this Miss D.C. is even prettier. How’s that for breaking those Miss USA vs. Miss America stereotypes?
[The current Miss USA is still beautiful, for the record. No hate. I just feel like I want Cierra to smile at me for the rest of my life.]
3. Georgia, Patricia Ford
Not to be confused with Fat Patricia, more commonly known as Fat Amy. Miss Georgia is not fat, Australian, or a Barden Bella, but still. It’s good to make these distinctions so there are no surprises on Sunday night.
This Patricia, we’ll call her Thin Patricia, is a little ball of sunshine. I actually had to choose between her and Miss California for this list, because they’re both sparkly tan tiny people with lots of charisma. Both could very well make the cut, but Thin Patricia made my official list because she walked like a boss during the opening ceremony and, based on YouTube videos, has been dancing ballet since she was a fetus. I trust that she’s going to bring it on stage. Her interview could be crap because honestly, I forgot to watch any videos of her speaking, but when you have good posture and really shiny hair, odds are you’re a decent speaker.
4. Kentucky, Laura Jones
First off, someone give me her number so I can call to ask about how she gets such voluminous barrel curls. Obviously, this lady has a killer smile, but this year’s class of contestants is like 3/4 blondes with killer smiles. So that’s not enough. Kentucky stood out to me in her opening ceremony introductions because her platform is about eating disorders, which I think will always intrigue the judges. Plus, she didn’t seem nervous or rushed as she spoke, so I thought she was worth looking into. Turns out, she plays violin [quite well] for talent, which is fun, with the added bonus that her media interviews are all very genuine. Her energy isn’t over the top, and since we all know I’m basically an overweight infant, I like when people sooth me. Kentucky soothes me. I’m telling you people– vibes.
5. Louisiana, Justine Ker
This little nugget is outrageously talented on the piano and at making me feel like a failure. She is so smart, it’s not funny, and I honestly just need her to become Miss America so that she can make all the daytime talk show hosts listen in awe as she talks about neuroscience, because yes, that is her degree. She’s also an advocate for mental health, which is a super relevant topic in our current cultural climate. On top of that, her hands seem to only move in symmetrical synchronization when she talks, which is something I couldn’t accomplish if I tried, so that certainly ups the intrigue.
6. Maryland, Hannah Brewer
You guysssss she’s SO pretty. Sure, she’s just one smirk away from a P.R. nightmare, but the Miss America Organization is no stranger to sass. I don’t care that her singing voice is pretty average or that she is definitely going to end up in the Miss USA system again at some point. She roots for our troops and looks good doing it, and I’ll be darned if that’s not a Miss America vibe if I’ve ever known one. [That may come off a little 1920s, old fashioned anti-feminist, so let me just apologize real fast, but also remind you about the vows you made at the beginning of this blog post. If you’re one of those annoying people who skips the intro and just reads these blurbs, you should know that A) SparksNotes is never as good as the book, and B) You missed a really funny story about nudity.]
7. Michigan, Arianna Quan
Again with a talented piano player of Asian decent, as is Louisiana, as is my close friend in middle school named Jenny Kim. Now, before you cry racist, let me point out that I am simply stating facts, and complimenting these women, at that. They’re super talented and gorgeous. And Asian. If I’m being completely honest, most of the blondes who play piano at Miss America are pretty subpar, so sue me for being stoked about some genuine piano talent. Oh, God, I’m going to pay for this so bad. Not deleting, though. It’s time for you pageant peeps to loosen up a bit.
In other news, Miss Michigan majors in automotive design. She’s obviously way cooler than I’ll ever be and guys must be obsessed with her. As you might suspect from a chick who wants to design cars, she’s extremely confident when she talks and slays the girl boss vibe, not to be confused with “boss up.” (LOL)
8. Minnesota, Madeline Van Ert
If you guys really want to know, she’s my favorite. I said it. Sure did. My favorite. As in, I’ll be rooting for this lil’ Tinker Bell on Sunday night. Honestly, she doesn’t take the best pictures, but I’m full-on in love with her in every single video. She’s incredibly personable, natural, and modern. None of her interviews have an ounce of canned material, plus she laughs easily and her speaking voice sounds smooth like buttah. Even better, she plays piano while singing for talent, Sarah Bareilles style, which would easily earn the pageant cool points if aired on national television.
During the opening ceremony, while the other girls were dressed for tea with the Queen, Madeline rocked a little off the shoulder romper getup that screamed “I am aware of fashion trends,” and “Check out my legs!” It was hard to hear what the romper was saying over the sound of Sam Haskell’s* random fun facts that made me uncomfortable, but I swear I heard both of those things.
*Never met the guy, so please don’t read into this sentence. You may, however, read into THIS sentence:
DEAR MISS AMERICA ORGANIZATION, if you want the pageant to stay relevant i.e. if you want to keep your jobs, choose a girl with trendy style who will seem cool to 14-30 year olds. That is the demographic that will keep this organization afloat, so start acting like it. Vote Minnesota for
President Miss America!
9. Mississippi, Laura Lee Lewis
I was going to tell you to try and say her triple L name three times fast, but then I did it and it’s actually pretty easy. Anyway, Laura has a super interesting backstory, because she grew up with some facial deformities that caused a lot of bullying about her appearance. Her bones didn’t align correctly, so doctors had to do reconstructive surgery after she graduated high school. Kudos to her doctors, because she’s super pretty. Not that that really matters, but it doesn’t hurt either. Laura is a spectacular singer and a tremendous speaker from what I’ve seen. I expect to see her in the Top 5. She’s got dem winner vibes.
10. Oklahoma, Sarah Klein
If you ever leave Oklahoma off your list, you’re the kind of person who likes to gamble, which means your life choices scare me. From what I gather, Sarah Klein drank the same water as Miss Oklahomas past, which means she’ll sail into the Top 10. Have you seen her arm muscles? No? Look at the dang picture right in front of you. I honestly have no clue what she does for talent but it really doesn’t matter. She’s going to be named as a finalist, so buckle up.
If I have to name the type of vibe I get from this tall drink of water, it’s the President of the Sorority vibe. Like, she knows what needs to happen and gets shiz done. When it comes to Miss America, she knows what it takes, and she’s going to lay out every single ingredient on the table. She’s like the Blue Apron of pageants. The judges are going to eat her up because, let’s be honest, celebrity judges have no idea what they’re doing and just need an easy recipe with excellent ingredients. Oklahoma provides that. Nom nom nom.
I’m honestly just really hungry right now.
[Update, 9/7/16, 10:09 a.m.– I just saw a video of Oklahoma playing piano for talent. I retract what I said about blondes being subpar on the ivory keys. Holy. Guac.]
10. South Carolina, Rachel Wyatt
Guys, this is the girl I was talking about in the intro paragraphs! The one who saw two naked people get in a bathtub on stage when she was a teenager! She’s probably seen way worse things since going to college, but that doesn’t stop her from having an adorably innocent speaking voice and the vibe of your shy little sister who has no idea how pretty she is. If you must know more of my insight besides how she reacts to nudity, I can say with confidence that she has the flattest stomach I’ve ever seen. She’s also a killer dancer who reminds me of how different my life would be if I could touch my toes.
She’s probably the most “famous” pageant girl going into this, since she was Miss America’s teen winner a few years back, thus proving her ability to stand out at a national level, but don’t get caught up in the fact that she’s not an underdog. Underdogs can be jerks sometimes,* so there’s no harm in rooting for nice people who happen to be frontrunners. #lifelesson
*Not saying that Alaska, Vermont, or North Dakota are jerks.
Miss America usually announces a Top 15, so I think it’s only fair that I share the 5 girls who nearly made my Top 10. If any of them make the Top 10 over someone on my list, just pretend like these bubbles still count. That way I still sound knowledgable and prophetic.
California– Gorgeous smile and potentially has that “it” factor.
Nevada– Advocates for autism awareness, and can command a room.
New York– She’s a sassy singer with a very confident interview.
Texas– She’s a red head with mad baton skillz.
Virginia– She’s magic onstage.
We shall see what happens on Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on ABC. (That’s super late at night, am I right?)