No, not a bad thing. It seems that The Learning Channel and Planet Hollywood got rights to the contest and you'll not believe the change. And it's all for the better.
We've got pics and video and commentary you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.
Plus a quick and dirty Miscellany post with some of the world's largest stuff, baby animals and the phones I used to help make.
Pic of the Day
Not the Miss America Your Mother Knew
I had been watching The Learning Channel’s series “Miss America Reality Check” on a not-so-dedicated basis. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the TLC channel was sponsoring the Miss America contest but I was.
In fact, while I was asleep the whole concept of Miss America changed.
Which, when you think about it, is fine as the Miss America contest really needed refurbishing.
First, reality television has changed how the world thinks of contests, the first being the concept of a public allowed to vote for a winner. The American public has never been allowed to vote for Miss America but consider just who were the judges, and ultimately “the deciders” of who would represent this country’s concept of young womanhood.
That’s right, you probably can’t remember a single Miss America judge of any import nor can I. Likely the spot is given to somebody aligned with a sponsor of the pageant or some such as these things used to go.
Not that the concept of unknown judges has changed with the taking over of the Miss America contest by The Learning Channel inside of Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood’s Resort and Casino. The judges of the Miss America were still a panel of fashion coordinators and other unknowns. I suspect that this might change in the future which is what that run-up to the pageant show, “Miss America Reality Check” was all about. The concept of audience participation via telephonic or online vote is based on the notion of allowing the audience to better know and gain an attachment to a particular contender.
A one-night pageant does not allow this, both in terms of the audience developing any affection or loyalty to a candidate and in terms of gathering the votes in one night. A long strung out series featuring all the candidates as they learn to walk the runway, fix their hair and apply makeup could be just the vehicle to allow an audience vote for the Miss America contest.
But this could just be scuttlebutt on my part, speculation and nothing more.
Still there’s no denying that the Miss America contest has known better times and more success. There was a long period of time when old-fashioned notions might have kept the contest down, such as the former stipulation that the swimsuit be all one piece or even, during the era of the women’s lib, no swimsuit competition at all.
A woman looking to win a beauty contest will have to pose in a swimsuit. There’s no denying this and if the concept of turning young women into sexual objects in front of the American public is unpalatable, then don’t call the damn thing a beauty pageant. Call it “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars” or some other name that does not have an ingrained expectation of females in bathing suits as part of the culture.
Anyway, I quite enjoyed this year’s Miss America pageant in its new form. The ladies actually had to know something about the state they represented and a little bit of humor didn’t hurt. For example, Miss Wisconsin, upon introduction, alleged her state to be one where cheese is not only a food, it is a fashion accessory.
Well I snorted.
Another new feature is the concept of having the contestants remain on stage in a special seating section, even while the eliminations continue on. Before one had to wonder where those poor rejects went, were they sent to some sort of beauty pageant loser hell back offstage?
I would also point out that on one show during the lead up to the contest the contenders were tested for their knowledge of patriotic tunes. Quite a few of them didn’t do so well. I assume that the failures had to revisit and relearn the words to the National Anthem, go to hell, a Miss America should at least know this, right?
At any rate, the Miss America contest did kind of surprise this year.
I’ll be watching for future changes in this formerly popular national beauty contest or even, dare I say it?…the possible elimination of this contest forever and ever.
Below, a video remix of this year’s winner, Miss Michigan, as she made her way to winning the crown of the 2008 Miss America.