Sunday, January 25, 2009

A new Miss America is crowned

Last night I traveled to my alma mater to spend time with friends and watch the Miss America pageant.

And I did a little experiment. I watched the pageant with ten college age women- only one of whom had watched Miss America in the last 5 years. I decided to gauge how some people my age who otherwise wouldn’t watch the pageant felt about TLC’s 2009 attempt to push the pageant forward.

There were many thoughts that came forward throughout the night from this group of viewers and I wanted to share them, because as pageant fans, it’s rare for us to get to know what non-pageant people think from the audience.

This group of viewers instantly fell in love with Miss GA and HI. They felt that these two chose the best and brightest gowns. They also felt that these two had great swimsuit selections and outstanding talents. In fact, when Miss Hawaii was eliminated from competition, the entire room was vocally devastated! After Hawaii was taken out of the competition, Georgia was considered to be the frontrunner and the group felt that Miss Georgia was “robbed” of the Miss America title. The group cheered after Miss Georgia answered her onstage question and one girl yelled “you get it, girl” and it was clear that for this group of young women, Miss Georgia was “the it girl” that Miss America is constantly trying to find.

The group was bemused by what they called Miss FL’s “frying pan dance” and felt that the bottom of her dress was somewhat distracting, but they liked the shape of her haircut. The group was confused by the continuing advancement of Iowa and Tennessee in what they felt should have been “Hawaii’s” place. The only dance the group enjoyed watching was Miss Michigan. They felt Miss Iowa had great talent but they didn't like the song- one comment was "did her CD stop working?" and again, they felt like Miss Iowa was taking Hawaii's spot later in the night.


The group felt that Miss New York was easily the prettiest contestant and they were pulling for her. They felt she had the best swimwear selection (as did the judges, considering she won a swimsuit preliminary earlier in the week) and they loved her spunky personality and fun tidbits on the bottom on the screen). They thought her evening gown stood out among a sea of really typical Miss America gowns and thought this girl projected confidence and spunk.

After the new Miss America, Indiana, was crowned, the group was excited, but felt for Georgia still especially when the camera zoomed in on what looked like a shot of Georgia crying.

The group also did not like the fact that girls were eliminated at each stage of competition and given little to no time to get ready for evening wear, there was even a shot of Miss New York running into the dressing room practically ripping her swimsuit off. The girls felt that Clinton Kelly was acting a little strange the entire night and hated the way he acted in the “elimination lounge” picking on Miss Texas when she was clearly having an emotional night. They felt it was truly unfair to give the girls no time to prepare for their talents but the group enjoyed the more contemporary talent performances, and were surprised that the judges eventually opted for a more classic look and performance with Miss Indiana.

Although overall I liked the show, I wanted to share what a group of college age women who otherwise would not watch the pageant would think. It was an eye-opening experience for me, being a longtime pageant watching veteran, and it was funny how quickly my friends cast aside certain gowns with a simple “no-too shiny” or how quickly they fell in love with certain contestants who they clearly felt had the “it” quality.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Thanks for sharing; it's always educational to hear from non-pageant people. After all, there are always some novice judges at all levels of competition and sponsorship and TV ratings rely on people who are not obsessed with pageants year round!

~Abby