Shout it with me:
It feels like we’ve been leading up to this for so long and yet, it feels like yesterday that 52 young women punched their tickets to the big “game.” Can you imagine what they must all be feeling?!
I have to admit, seeing all of the photos coming out of the A.C. makes me more than a little bit sad I’m not there. It looks like beautiful weather – and who doesn’t love the ocean? I’ll tell you who – my husband. I have dragged the poor man to THREE Miss America trips, and Mr. Football hasn’t even been to a pro football game…THAT is love, my friends 🙂 But seriously, he doesn’t like Atlantic City for some weird reason I can’t figure out. But me? I could visit every year and never get sick of it. The history, the beach, the shopping, the BEACH….yep, a girl could do much, much worse!
So let’s stop wishing we were there (in all honesty, you can’t see as well as you can on TV, so THERE!) and let’s get to what you all REALLY want to know: who’s in and who’s out.
All photos from www.missamerica.org
ALABAMA: I admit Hayley wasn’t on my radar. She didn’t have that fresh, relevant vibe for me. But man has she come on strong! She was a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s recipient, won the Quality of Life award, Miracle Maker award for raising the most CMN money, Quality of Life, STEM, local Miracle Maker…really, Women in Business is the only thing the girl hasn’t won. I read that she’s already going home with something like $21,000 in scholarships – and depending on how well she places, she could earn more than any past contestant! So you don’t get that far and win all of those awards without a lot of hard work, dedication, and diligence. So I would be foolish not to include her in the “ones to watch” section. I think the dual panel will hurt her – her more mature, less fresh look could stop her in ss or gown. And her talent isn’t a big wow from what I’ve heard – so while she looks great on paper, she could fizzle out early in competition Sunday. She’s a “soft” fifteen in my list.
ARKANSAS: Another one I dismissed early was Savvy. I figured Arkansas had a decent chance of making semi-finals, but for whatever reason I didn’t see her being a strong contender. Since prelims, though, I have heard that she is charismatic as all get out, has a million-watt smile, is cute as a button, has the genuine vibe…all great things for Miss America to have and be. I thought talent would be a downfall for her – and with new judges it may be – but certainly the preliminary judges loved her! She probably has the spunk to get pretty far today.
CALIFORNIA: Simply because, California. Last year I wasn’t feeling it, and I was right. But can they possibly miss two years in a row? It seems like too much of an anomaly. And while I was super onboard with Jessa after her crowning, I haven’t seen what I first saw out of her. She’s a bubble for me.
COLORADO: I hadn’t paid much attention to Shannon as a contender pre-Atlantic City, but she seems to be a very well-rounded contestant! I don’t know if she will make the cut, definitely a bubbler, and unfortunately she will probably be an early exit with a celebrity panel, as I think she has the “girl next door I want to be friends with” vibe way more than the “glamorous” vibe. She’s an itty-bitty thing, and surrounded by tall, leggy types that won SS this year, she might be out in the first round of cuts.
CONNECTICUT: I have had my eye on her and I think I am confident now that she’s a true contender. She has the consistency factor, and I think celebrity judges will be taken by her dark features – she’s very striking! I think stage presence will be a big factor for how far she could make it, but she definitely has the look of a Miss America. I’m not certain she makes the cut though, so I’ll have to bubble her 😉
DC: Can Miss USA and Miss America both be from DC? She’s so fresh and I STILL LOVE HER HAIR! I loved that she won SS, and I think the celebrity panel will love her look. Could I use the word LOVE anymore with her?! I hope she makes it, but I don’t necessarily see her going all the way. DC has had a slump lately, so I hope I’m wrong and she cracks Top Five. She isn’t a lock for me, but she’s a very strong I HOPE SO on the bubble scale!
FLORIDA: It is hard to imagine Florida not making the semi-final cut. And if she does, she could ride the ss and gown train right into the Top Ten. She’s very gorgeous and a natural onstage. But, talent. I know it isn’t her strongest area of competition, and she did fall during a flip in preliminary competition. She’s one for me that is a bubbler for making the cut, but could get into top ten if she does make it.
GEORGIA: Still a front-funner for me. Her ballet was solid, she’s very fit and beautiful – I will say I was disappointed in her evening gown choice. For me, it just wasn’t a WOW gown, but I have a feeling she still carried herself very gracefully – those ballet dancers usually do! She’s also a pro in the business world – the winner of the new Women in Business scholarship. I see her as a lock for Top Ten, and from there we will see. But top five is very realistic for her!
ILLINOIS: I flip-flop on this gal worse than a politician! I think, though, that she is well-rounded and looks terrific. She’s the most solid contestant out of Illinois that we’ve seen in a very long time, and a STEM award recipient. Being a neighboring, Midwest state, I’d love to see her make it through! Consider this her official BUBBLE label!
INDIANA: I get a Katie Stam vibe, and if you are from Indiana, that is a very good thing! I don’t know if she will make it, but she’s a “bubble” state for me who wouldn’t be a shocker to see in the semi-finals mix.
IOWA: HOME GIRL DONE GOOOOOOOD! Kelly is that bubbly personality I think the preliminary judges LOVED this year. I was a bit worried because, not that Kelly isn’t super smart, but if they were looking for hardcore intellect, Kelly isn’t their cup of tea. But that panel really seemed to gravitate toward spunk and sass, and Kelly brings it by the buckets! Her talent is crazy good, and was phenomenal on Tuesday. She is landing on most radars as one to watch, and with good reason. I hope the celebrity judges can see that just because she’s small, she’s very mighty! Iowa is on such a good trend at Miss America, and it’s amazing to be part of that journey. It was a privilege to work with Kelly last year, and will be a privilege to watch her reaction as she is called into the semi-finals. If she makes it through to talent and gets cut as she sits there in her tutu, I will literally THROW THINGS at the TV and be convinced there is some kind of conspiracy against letting Iowa perform on TV. Seriously. Diana Reed, Aly Olson, Taylor Wiebers. Enough is enough! A talent performance tonight could very well project her into the Top Five. I think Iowa needs a Miss America, don’t you?
KANSAS: Her stock has only risen in my book. Since she appeared in Atlantic City, she’s been making waves – not the hurricane kind, either! She was third place in the Miracle Maker award, a recognition dominated by the South. She was first-runner-up for Quality of Life, a STEM recipient…basically one step behind Alabama in all the awards, which is quite impressive from a “non-sash” state! She’s gorgeous, and I fully expect to see her go very, very far. I won’t pull the trigger yet, but I could see her being our next Miss America.
KENTUCKY: How do you NOT pick Kentucky? It’s, well, a pretty successful state – and word is her talent is off-the-charts awesome! She’s gifted and super entertaining, which I think America will want to see. If she can get through to the talent round, she stands a chance at Top Five. But she has to get there first…
LOUISIANA: She was my atypical standout from the get-go. Atypical because Louisiana has been in a bit of a slump since Jennifer Dupont. I hope she can get through to talent because I’d love to see her piano piece on TV, but I kind of feel like she will fizzle early. I put her in my top fifteen, but only because she was my strongest “bubbler,” not because I’m totally convinced she’ll get there.
MARYLAND: If Kansas and Maryland are the last two standing, I’m taking my bets to Vegas next year! She’s got the entire package you guys. She’s probably the most strikingly beautiful girl this year, looks the part of a Victoria’s Secret model, knows how to work the runway, has experience as a teen state titleholder, was second-runner-up for Quality of Life…if she has a solid interview, she’s the “IT” girl for tonight. She’ll sail through to the Top Ten, and should be pretty safe for Top Five.
MICHIGAN: I did not give her a second glance before Atlantic City. In all honesty, I now realize that was a HUGE error. Once she took the stage, it was apparent that anyone who had dismissed her was going to be eating crow, LOL! From her interview dress to evening gown and talent gown, her fashion has bee SPOT ON through preliminaries. She has gained a ton of attention for her super-relevant platform regarding immigration, her story as an immigrant, and the fact that she is just so darn easy to listen to! She oozes genuinity (not a word but who cares) and grace. Then, there’s the piano. WOWZERS! Her talent HAS to be shown, guys. I already talked about it plenty, but it’s definitely one of the hits of the pageant this year. I know she will make the semi-finals, and I hope the celebrity judges don’t squash her well-deserved Top Ten spot just because she doesn’t ooze sex appeal. She’s the real deal, and I hope they see it.
MISSISSIPPI: She’s exactly what the first panel was looking for, and her singing is spot on! I see her doing pretty well if she gets in. Interestingly enough, I preferred her vocal to Tennessee on the first night of preliminary competition. And we all know how Mississippi did last year! 🙂
MISSOURI: She will land the “People’s Choice” spot. She’s the “buzz-worthy” contestant this year, being the first openly-gay Miss America contestant. If she by some chance doesn’t secure that spot, I don’t think we see her in the semi-finals tonight.
NEBRASKA: Following a solid Nebraska finish last year, I’d love to see our western neighbors get in again! She’s cute and talented: she’s a bubble on my list for sure!
NEVADA: She’s kind of my wild-card contestant. I don’t really know why I have her here, except that I want to, HAHA! I feel like there might be a spot for her in the mix and put her on my bubble-watch, but that it ends at semi-finals for her.
OHIO: I love Alice! She’s so fresh and young and current, and her platform is SUPER relevant. I love that a pageant contestant is taking her personal experience with low self-esteem and turning it into a movement away from fake, Photoshopped imaging and toward positive self-image. I hope her interview is strong because if it is, she will sail through to the finals. She already won a ss prelim, her talent is solid – if she makes it, she should go pretty far. I also hope celebrity vocalists will be kind to her 🙂 She ain’t a pro!
OKLAHOMA: I’m sticking to my gut with this one. You don’t put together the kind of pageant journey Sarah has to fall flat at Miss America. She’s tenacious, she’s been through the grind, she’s from what I hear an absolute doll to be around. And, Oklahoma. They always make it. Literally, since back to back Miss America wins in 2006 and 2007, I think they have made the cut every single time. But more than that, she is probably the most dedicated and resilient contestant this year. I hope people can get over their need for Miss America’s face to be perfectly symmetrical or whatever it is that upsets people about Sarah, and get onboard with the very real possibility that she will win.
SOUTH CAROLINA: You can’t not pick her. Rachel has the ability to go all the way. All of my previous comments about her are still true, and after seeing her talent, I really hope we get to see it on TV. I am afraid I haven’t seen a lot of spark from her – she gives off the quiet vibe, and given the prelim panel’s talent picks, I think they like spunky and lively. But she’s undeniably gorgeous, classy, and exactly what we want in Miss America. Will she be the first MAOT to win Miss America? If she’s in the fifteen, she should make it to the five.
TENNESSEE: Welp, talent is a pretty big part of Miss America, and the prelim judges loved her! I don’t expect the celebrity judges to be quite as taken with her talent, and she has to get there first. She’s a tough one to pinpoint, but I think her ability to make the semi-finals is pretty solid. They can’t all make Top Ten though, so she could be the “preliminary talent that gets cut right at talent” that seems to plague Iowa. I’m not bitter, nope, not at all… 😉
TEXAS: I feel the way about Caroline that I did about Shannon last year. I thought it was Texas’ turn to sit out a year, but I was wrong. I don’t think I should bet against them again. I can’t say I’d be shocked if she missed the cut, but I think she’s a solid enough contestant to land in it. So she’s in my “soft” top fifteen, one who should make it but won’t shock me if she doesn’t.
So I guess since I have to narrow it down, my “Official” Top Fifteen are:
- South Carolina
My Top Ten are:
- South Carolina
And Top Seven (if they do seven again like last year):
- South Carolina
And again, I think MISSOURI takes People’s Choice.
As if you need reminding, MISS AMERICA IS TONIGHT, ON ABC! And don’t forget to follow @MYMPageant for LIVE tweets during finals tonight!