I have watched the Miss America pageant on TV many times over the years, I used to really love it when I was a little girl in th 1960s and into the 70s. It started to lose my interest gradually after the unfortunate (and stupid) removal of Bert Parks as host in 1980, and I have pretty much stopped viewing it altogether in more recent years. But I decided to give it a try again and watched last night’s competition where they crowned Miss America 2014. Congratulations to the winner, Miss New York, Nina Davuluri (I enjoyed her Bollywood dance). While some things have remained the same over the years, other things have definitely deteriorated from the pageant that once was. Here’s my thoughts and complaints on the Miss America Pageant circa 2013, which was held in Atlantic City:
- Why do they all have to look like clones? The majority of the contestants had the same length hair with same hairstyle, same body type/figure, same overall style. Can’t a woman look different and still be considered attractive? I understand that these women are in this partly to win scholarships, but it seems sad that they are forced into turning themselves into over-processed lookalikes in order to have a chance of winning. (Here’s something interesting I noticed which shows how the appearance of these young ladies has been altered into an expected formula : during the talent part of the competition they showed each contestant in a clip of themselves when they were a little girl and most of them didn’t even look like they were the same person!).
- Why all the makeup? Most of these young women looked forty years old, partly because of the heavy makeup they wear. Idea: have a segment where the contestants appear fresh-faced and makeup free, with unstyled hair (please, no more hairspray!), and wearing sweat outfits. I bet they would all look better!
- The talent portion of the show, while always my favorite part of this pageant, seemed to be slimmed down from what it was years ago. Each performance was too brief and even worse – why the stupid pop-up boxes in the corner giving trivial info about each contestant while she was performing (like “she has two different sized feet”, etc.). I would rather focus on the performance and talent rather than see this nonsense on the screen. This all seems to be geared towards viewers with ridiculously short attention spans. As for the actual talent – very similar to the good old days, some good, some not so good (yes, there was then and there still is now those young gals who sing and hit bad notes inspiring me to plug my ears).
- Even worse – they always boast about how this is a talent and intelligence contest even more than beauty (right, who really believes that?!). So why give such short shrift to the interview question the final contestants were presented with. Instead of being able to fully explore a meaningful answer to the question that was asked, each woman was given what seemed like all of about twenty seconds to give their response. Way too brief (didn’t used to be like this years ago). And even worse – a couple of the questions were seriously stupid and unimportant (like asking about Miley Cyrus twerking – who cares).
- Why couldn’t they play Bert Parks singing the original “There she is, Miss America” song when the winner walked down the runway. Instead they played some sort of similar in style (but lacking in charm) shmaltzy take-off of the old classic that seemed really crummy. How about some tradition (okay, I admit perhaps there could have been a legal reason they couldn’t play the song).
In tribute to the great Bert Parks, here he is singing the Miss America theme song of yesteryear.