Holy Moly, guys! What do you do when you somehow contract the stomach flu (which will be un-affectionately referred to as the “Death Virus” from here on out) and it totally knocks you out for four days?! Well – you miss client appointments, MAO action, and blog posts, for starts 😦 Seriously though, I’ve never been this sick in my life! Let’s just say, the Death Virus has caused about seven pounds of weight loss, dehydration, pain, aches, and much more – but I finally feel well enough to get a little something of a post pulled together….but take it all with a grain of salt, I could be hallucinating by now 😉
I’ve seen a lot of photo coming out of the AC, from arrival ceremonies to dinners and appearances – and now rehearsals. I know it seems superficial, but you really can tell a lot from a few pictures. You can really see who is there to be competitive and a serious contender; who understands that the job of Miss America is to be “on” all the time; who is able to make the best of a bad situation (did you SEE the wind videos?!?!) and not let it ruin her day. So with all of that, here’s where my head is, now that a bit of the pounding has subsided 😉 In mostly alpha order, my thoughts of a few ladies:
Alabama sends girls who seem mature and have a bit of an older sense of style. They typically do pretty well, especially in the area of community service and quality of life. Plus, with STEM and Quality of Life placements for Hayley this year, you can’t rule her out! But I think where Alabama started falling off of the wagon is when Miss America really pushed to re-identify themselves as fresh and relevant, Alabama didn’t change with them as much. There is nothing wrong with their traditional ways at all!! But it makes it difficult to find success in a program trying to move forward into youthful, fresh, current territory. I may just change my mind, but for now, Hayley gives me that typical “Alabama” vibe, and that might not be enough for the win.
Arizona has crept up in a few photos and surprised me in a good way! I’m keeping my tabs on her.
Arkansas is another pageant powerhouse state – although less so than some others coming up – and has had a decent track record as of late. I need to see more from Savvy to really be able to make a good estimate for her.
California was one who really stood out to me when she won her state title. I LOVED her yellow gown that created a look reminiscent of Nina Davaluri. California typically makes the cut – but didn’t last year. For some reason, Jessa is falling out of my good graces, for no reason in particular, but I just haven’t seen that IT factor from her since her crowning.
Florida is still rocking that fresh and confident vibe.
Georgia. Still a front-runner for me.
I don’t think I paid enough attention to Indiana – she looks so fresh and fun and polished! She’s on my radar now….
Iowa: way to represent, Kelly! Her wardrobe, styling, and smile radiate in every photo.
Kansas is perhaps my most underrated contestant so far. I flip-flopped on her so many times, convincing myself to keep her off my radar since, well, ya can’t pick ’em all! But she’s now solidly in my sights! She looks stunning, confident, and mature. She is a STEM and Quality of Life finalist. She’s definitely one to watch.
Kentucky: super cute. Need to do more digging.
So, I was all on the Louisiana train. Then I wasn’t. Then….I hopped back on. LOL! Talk about wishy-washy! I’m worse than a politician! HA! Maybe I should go with my gut, malnourished as it may be, and keep watching this one 🙂
Maryland for me is the most polished-looking contestant this year. She is 100% that IT factor. I had my eyes on her from crowning, and am glad to see she hasn’t disappointed!
Mississippi: so I have to admit, I am getting a bit lost in all the long blondes this year. I think Mississippi is gorgeous – but nothing about her, and several others, is unique enough to make me remember which girl she actually is! Why is this significant? Well, if you are judging 52 ladies, your only hope of making an impact is to NOT be confused with a handful of other blonde, southern belles.
New Jersey is just the most fun, cutest thing – if I could pick a look that said “fresh and current,” she would win!
New Mexico has been a pleasant surprise.
Ohio continues to intrigue me. Another fresh and youthful contestant.
Oklahoma will be in the top five. If you can make a sure bet on anything, it would be that. Oklahoma always makes the top 15 or higher – like, ALWAYS. She’s been a near miss for years. She will be solid in interview, ss, talent, and probably gown. Sponsors and girls LOVE her. And she looks great in her photos. She’s one to watch, undoubtedly!
Rachel Wyatt is interesting. Instead of turning heads and solidifying her front-runner position, for me she is disappearing into the background a bit. South Carolina has a great track record, she obviously is a top five contender, but I’m not noticing her as much as I thought I would. I feel confident she’ll shine onstage, though.
Tennessee is still looking great, still on my radar, but hasn’t cracked the “solid” list for me yet.
If there is another state that always gets in, it’s TEXAS. Even years when I think it is a for sure miss, they still make the top fifteen cut! You can’t win in a state like Texas and NOT be competitive nationally. So I definitely see a contender here, but not necessarily a top five or top ten for me yet.
Washington has been a pleasant surprise! Consider her officially on my watch list 🙂
West Virginia also on my watch list!
Whew, ok – I think I made it through. I think that’s still like, 22 girls, LOL! Well, you have to start somewhere, right?
My “solid” list right now includes GA, KS, MD, OK, SC – I think they land in the top fifteen, and I don’t see bumping them off that list at all.
I have some work to do – but when you are looking at state winners competing for Miss America, it’s never an easy task. They all deserve to be there, and no one likes being left out of the mix. At the end of the day, only 15 make the cut, one wins, and we all get to see how it shakes out in the meantime. I hope to narrow the above list down to fifteen BEFORE prelims. Then we’ll see how many adjustments I have to make AFTER we get to see these ladies actually hit the stage during preliminary competition! Hope you are as excited as I am – the stage is set, the dances are learned….here she comes!