Monday, January 28, 2008

Our "It Girl"!?!

I watched the Miss American Pageant last night on DVR. Now, just to be clear, I have no gripe with pageants. I've always thought they were kind of kitchy and fun. How else would we know that if you need to maintain a shiny, happy smile under bright lights and stressful conditions, the answer is to slick your front teeth with Vaseline? THAT's beauty news we can use.

Last night, though, the story was quite different. You see, they've modernized Miss America, trying to position the pageant as a search for the quintessential "It Girl" we'll all look to for inspiration. I'm not sure whose idea of modern they applied, though. Here were some of the scripted comments the contestants were forced to say while introducing themselves and their states (and no, I'm not making these up. Or even exaggerating):

Miss Delaware: "I'm from the birthplace of Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver!"
Miss Wyoming: "We moved up our primaries, but nobody cared!"
Miss Nevada: "When you come here, your money stays here, and we thank you!"
Miss Utah: "We have the nation's highest birthrate...as long as the Osmonds don't move!"
Miss Indiana: "I'm here to prove that we have more than just corn!"
And my personal favorite:
Miss Texas: "We have a population of 21 million, not including the 60 million cattle!"

I guess that's one way to look at modern.

After that, the field was narrowed to 16, and we learned in little film clips that Miss Michigan can't ride a bicycle, and Miss Virginia's special talent is to put her foot behind her head (which she was then unable to do because of the tightness of her jeans.)

Up until this point, I was still captivated by the pageant, for one reason and one reason only: Miss Iowa was still in the running, and her talent is --wait for it!--BATON TWIRLING!!! You can imagine my excitement to see her sitting with the other top ten contestants, holding not one, not two, but THREE batons. People, let me pause here for a moment and explain that while there is much to make fun of in the world of twirling, you can't fake three batons. That's actual talent, and it's just incredible to watch.

So I fast forwarded through Miss Michigan belting out Somewhere Over the Rainbow because I couldn't stop giggling, imagining her true lyrics: "Somewhere over the rainbow, kids ride a bike! If kids ride over the rainbow, why then oh why can't I???" The next two contestants must have heard my laughter, because they sang in foreign languages I couldn't revise: Miss California performed an Italian opera piece, and Miss Indiana gyrated while singing in Spanish (You know, because there's more than corn in Indiana. There's Spanish!).

And that's when it happened, the worse decision in the history of my pageant watching life: They ELIMINATED Miss Iowa, right there in the middle of the talent segment!!! She never even got to twirl!!! I almost threw up. I mean, this was the ONLY one of the talent segments that had any sort of fun, any performance value, any spunky "It-girl" possibility. I hit the fast-forward button over and over and over again, hoping against hope they'd have some outtake from her planned routine, some farewell tribute to show us what we'd be missing. But NOTHING. Just Clinton from What Not to Wear (whose sole job was to placate the non-winners with a giant tray of donuts) ushering Miss Iowa offstage while commenting that earlier in the competition, her routine had brought the house down. Mmm Hmm. They allowed her to a tiny bit of twirling as they went to commercial, during which she threw in a triple toss turn around. That's the hardest trick I could ever do in my brief twirling career, and she threw it in as an afterthought in front of millions of people after being booted from the competition. I'm telling you, America, we were robbed.

I was too depressed to watch the rest, so I forwarded to the end. Miss Michigan won. If she hasn't chosen a platform yet, I'd suggest bicycle safety.

16 comments:

Surfergrrl said...

FUNNY post! I guess my Tivo must have missed this program. I was busy taping My Fair Brady: Maybe Baby. I enjoy TV disfunction. How can these two people be married and yet MY relationship ended over god knows what. ah, life! :)

Patti said...

i didn't watch, but now am kinda sad i missed this hot mess...

Anonymous said...

Great Blog! Miss Iowa was told repeatedly in Vegas that her talent was the best to grace the Miss America stage in nearly 30 years. She was phenominal and the entire audience was anticipation for her to twirl one more time. It was such a loss to TLC and the Miss America program to not allow her to perform for America. She would have increased ratings and brought alot of positive attention to Miss America. For some reason, I have a feeling we will see her perform again somewhere bigger and better!! Go Miss Iowa Diana Reed!

Elizabeth said...

Baton twirling must be too old-school. So wrong.

LEstes65 said...

Oh my goodness you just made me laugh so HARD!

Um...so I should be inspired by some insipid eye candy that can't even RIDE A BIKE?

I say we petition to get Ms. Iowa her crown. Or just all chip in and buy her one and tell her that we only acknowledge HER as our twirling monarch.

Two Date Diva said...

Ooooh, I missed the show, darn it! I got an email a few weeks ago from the US Twirling Association (yes I am a member) and they were urging members to watch and cheer for Miss Iowa because she was twirling. Man I miss my twirling days sometimes.

CelticBuffy said...

Talk about laugh out loud. The last comment about having her platform be bicycle safety left me teary eyed from laughter!

Em said...

hilarious!! I love your obsession with Baton Twirling:)

heidikins said...

She can't ride a bike, but she can make a drop-dead hideous dress that looks like a beached mermaid (did not end up wearing in competition because it was shunned in the pre-competition shows)

miss iowa rocks.

Susie said...

omg Now I'm wicked upset I missed this!

I totally thought you were joking about how they introduced themselves.

swtpmarie said...

Let me just say that I was rather embarrassed by Miss Michigan...and she's from my state! The dress was not leaving much to the imagination and I wasn't super impressed by her vocals...but I had to be excited she won because she's from Michigan! If she ever needs a bike riding lesson, I'll recommend my 4 year old niece. :)

LizB said...

I think her routine from a couple years ago is on YouTube. Believe it or not this is not the first blog I've read about her on! She twirls three, and then sets them on fire and does it again. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDpJJyrqkMI

L Sass said...

I have heard that Miss America definitely mixed it up this year... I hope TLC is rerunning it!

Stacy said...

I can't say I watched it, but if Miss Michigan is from the upper peninsula, it'd explain why she can't ride a bike. Ice eleven months out of the year.

Jen A. Miller said...

Oh, I have soooooo much to say about Miss America, which I say in my book considering Atlantic City's a big part of it :-)

If you want to learn the history of the contest (as seen through a slightly sarcastic eye), you've got to check out Frank Deford's There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America. It was written in the 1970s, but it reads like a modern book. Well, except for the location of contest thing.

Jess Riley said...

I miss all the good stuff! Dang husband and his XBox...

Bicycle safety...hehe!!!