Hi there, MYM here! I hope I won’t be as long-winded, but I had been saving up for how many days on that last post?! So yeah, it just came rambling out….#sorrynotsorry.
Before I dive into my reasoning for choosing a few select ladies for preliminary awards, I want to address the “dual judging panels” that we will see again this year. You’ll find I’m not shy when it comes to my opinions on the matter – in fact, can I just say – I hate it.
The dual panel, which we hadn’t seen in quite some time and re-emerged last year, means this: ONE panel of qualified judges will judge all interviews and the preliminary nights of competition. After that, they go away, lol. If your composite score to that point earns you a spot in the top 15, your name will be announced on TV as a semi-finalist, your “old” score factors into your final score a little bit, and you basically re-compete in all stage areas of competition with a SECOND celebrity set of judges.
I understand why they do this: They choose celebrity judges for finals night to boost ratings, but would be hard-pressed to find any C- or D-lister willing/available to judge the entire competition.
The disconnect for me is that the prelim panel is typically made up of judges who have been involved in pageantry for a very long time. They know their stuff – it ain’t their first rodeo. For celebrity judges, that is usually not the case. While they may have areas of expertise that lend themselves well to being a judge, they typically don’t have the background the prelim panel does, and likely no previous judging experience at all.
Then there is the HUGE issue of the celebrity panel not being present at the interviews. I will say until I am blue in the face: this is the most important aspect of choosing Miss America. She may be beautiful, she may sing like a songbird or dance like a….butterfly? I don’t know! But she will be spending 99% of her year serving others, speaking in public, holding the attention of anyone from a preschooler to an elderly veteran. So to miss out on the interview portion, to me, is a huge no-no. I don’t care if they see parts of the interviews; it is totally different to be present and engaged in the conversation. #EndRant
My last concern is this: celebrity knows celebrity. Here’s what I mean: they are usually beautiful people surrounded by beautiful people, who take care of themselves and spend buku bucks making sure they look great – and they do! I can’t lump all judges into that category, but um, hello! Laura Marano, Sara Foster, CIARA?! Oh but remember that prelim panel from before? That’s the panel who chose Taylor Wiebers as the first double prelim winner in something like 15 years. That’s the panel who will, I believe, skyrocket a gal like Miss Oklahoma Sarah Klein to similar heights. And it’s the celebrity panel who kills that momentum, all because most of these regular, relatable, college girls don’t fit the “celebrity look” bill with which they are surrounded day in and day out.
The prelim panel gives us the top fifteen based on many contributing factors; then the celebrity panel picks Miss America largely based on her “look.”
So that’s just the nature of the beast, I’m afraid. Other changes last year? The final ballot went out the window. And onstage question was finally propelled into validity with a significant bump in percentage for finals night.
So with ALL of that to consider, who do I think will be the ones to watch tomorrow night?
TUESDAY SS: SIGMA
For me this one is cut and dry. It could be Texas, New Jersey, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana….but I think it comes down to South Carolina or Georgia – with the edge going to Georgia.
TUESDAY TALENT: ALPHA
Another cut and dry pick for me. You could make cases for Ohio, New Hampshire, and Mississippi. But our girl Kelly Koch is going to be hard to beat – and the only one who could do it, I think, is Oklahoma.
So there ya have it, it definitely gets dicier the next couple nights. And, I could be totally wrong and Miss the Mark altogether tomorrow, but that’s what makes this so fun 🙂 It’s like gambling – PAGEANT STYLE!
Pay attention to the interwebs tomorrow night to see how it shakes down, and don’t forget to follow @MYMPageant for LIVE tweets during finals night. See you back here tomorrow with results and new picks for Wednesday!