"Saturday: you, me, the roomies, Aileen, Martinelli's, junk food, Miss America Pageant."
"Uhhh, yeah. Let's do it!"
Okay, beauty pageants have been a Conner Women tradition since Mum had daughters old enough to enjoy critiquing, which surprisingly enough was when Alexa and I were at very young ages. Every time a big one came up, we'd schedule a Girl's Night and reserve the living room. There's quite a few actually: Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Universe, and Miss World. I think there's even a Mrs. America/USA (not sure which). We focused mainly on Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Universe. I've seen a couple of the others.
Sadly, when Dad took us out to Saipan (yes, DAD; it would be a boy that took us away from our beloved Girl's Nights) the parents decided against getting television. It's really not the worst thing in the world, but there a few things that I would really like to watch - pageants being a few of them. So the Girl's Nights pretty much ended. Yeah, once in a while we'd rent a movie when the guys were out or Dad was on a business trip, but that stopped too after Mum gave up her addiction to ice. (That's a story for another time, folks.)
I haven't seen a pageant since I've been back in the States. For a couple of years they were doing all sorts of weird stuff to try and get their ratings back up. One year they even did a FearFactor version, which was just totally against everything these pageants stand for.
Pageants stand for something? you may ask. Oh yes. The point of all beauty pageants has been to inspire women to not only be beautiful on the outside, but also strive to achieve great things and become great women on the inside. The stereotypical beauty has no brains, and these pageants are out to prove otherwise. The winners and runners-up all receive considerable scholarships.
Although this is a worthy cause, the pageants were getting a little out of hand. They were losing ratings steadily, and it was because the style of everyday women had changed since the original airing in 1921. (Ya think?!) But the women were still doing the big-hair-big-make-u-dress-up-for-every-activity-even-if-it-was-a-marathon thing. This year they passed it into the hands of TLC - a daughter channel of the Discovery Channel. They aired the pilot of "Miss America: Reality Check" four weeks before the pageant. The reality show put the 52 contestants into a house together and divided them into teams. I really liked this because it brought the women closer together than ever before. Even though they lived in the same hotel for the week of the pageant, they had always been there to compete, not to make friends. The friendship was apparent among the ladies throughout the entire pageant, particularly when Miss Utah dropped to the ground and gave about 10 pushups after been eliminated from the top 16, and about seven other girls followed suit. (The crowed was going wild.)
I only saw the pilot of the reality show, but the gist of it was to revamp Miss America. The message they wanted to send was, "Any girl can look beautiful no matter what she's doing, including real-life things." The message they were sending was, "Any girl can look beautiful no matter what she's doing as long as it can be done in heels and hairspray." They brought beauticians and hairdressers to teach the girls how to say "NO!" to aerosols and dangly earrings when the activity was a relay race (and yes, there were a number of girls who actually needed to be told so). They brought on Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear (LOVE THAT SHOW! too bad I have a life) to teach the girls that their sparkly cow-girl boots were something to wear at home, not on stage.
Another thing they did different this year was have 16 semi-finalists rather than 15. The last one was voted on by Americans over the previous four weeks online rather than by the judges. The winner was Jill Stevens, Miss Utah. Seriously, this girl was AMAZING! I mean, the 10 finalists were really cute and talented and smart, but NO ONE was as spunky as Miss Utah. I am certain she won Miss Congeniality. When she was called off I thought the crowd might rush the stage.
Over all, I liked the new version. I was a little disappointed that Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan won. I mean, she was okay, but definitely not the best one out there. In fact, after Miss Utah was voted off, I was all about the girl that got runner-up, but I can't think of who she is, or where she's from. Oh well.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot the best part! As they were crowning Miss Michigan, and she was freaking out and all, it was very obvious that there was bright red lipstick on her tooth and up her face quite a bit. Angela, Jenni, and I were laughing so hard! That would suck! I mean, that's on camera and everything for the REST OF HER LIFE! Hahaha! The thing is, no one told her, not even the guy who walked right up to her face and gave her the flowers and a kiss. No! It wasn't until she got back from her little walk and the other ladies came up to congratulate her than one of the girls finally wiped it off for her. Man, her face after she realized what she'd done was almost better than seeing her do it!