I don’t know what it is about early September and my health. Last year it was the death parasite that would have made travel impossible – thank goodness I wasn’t planning to go to Miss America last year! But this year I did not come unscathed; it turns out when you leave a kid at home with strep, you end up getting it, too. But other than missing a little beach/exploration time, and wandering the sketchier parts of Atlantic City for four hours before getting medication yesterday, I didn’t miss out on any Miss America festivities, thankfully. So never fear, your Miss America finals forecast is here! Although it’s proving to be as difficult to predict as the path of Hurricane Irma! (Praying for my family in Tampa and friends in the South! Our first Former Feature Friday guest, Miss Iowa 2007 Diana Reed, is in Orlando).
So let’s get to it! Atlantic City is buzzing with Miss America excitement today!
MYM Miss America 2018 Final Forecast
Here’s the thing: lists are great. They are short, sweet, and to the point. But I like to give you a little background information, something to “hang your hat on” so to speak, as to why I picked the contestants that I did, why they stood out in preliminary competition, and why some girls are not on my list. So buckle up, it’s a long read 🙂
**Or scroll to the bottom to bypass commentary and just see the lists!!**
Alabama: Jessica Proctor really made an impact in all areas of stage competition. Miss America contestants are known for dramatic arms, belting vocals, and power ballads that, for me, just scream OLD SCHOOL. So what I loved about Jessica was her more current voice, even though she picked a song that is done a lot. She was also effortless in swimsuit and gown. She was extremely well-spoken onstage, and her interview is very, very good. She has a look that celebrity judges will like as well. Alabama is here to make a splash, and it worked – expect her name to be called multiple times tonight.
Arkansas: Maggie Benton has grown on me. She sang Music of the Night, which was too low for her in the beginning. She went on the same night as, and after, Iowa, which is not a good thing for her. But she looks in gown and swimsuit, she’s well spoken, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see her in the 15…but wouldn’t be totally shocked not to, either. Skies have rays of hope for Arkansas.
California: My initial impression continues with Jillian Smith. I was not wowed by her in swimsuit, but I did really, really like her piano. Since preliminary talent went to Minnesota that night (a piano player), they obviously liked Minnesota better. My gut just says California misses the mark this year…I’ll say cloudy with a chance of sunshine.
Colorado: I had some idea previously that she could be good, and I think she really showed up. Being from Iowa and having seen some of the best twirlers in the country, it is hard for me to not be particular with twirlers. However, Meredith Winnefeld had terrific energy, great dance form, and truly entertained the crowd. I had her winning talent on night three. She chose a smart song, costume, and choreography, she looks great, but I’m not sure it’s enough, so I’ll count her as a bubble for the 15.
Delaware: I know some people are putting her on their radar. I thought her dance was fine, but she just isn’t standing out for me. I’m afraid it’s stormy weather ahead for Chelsea Bruce.
DC: Admittedly, Briana Kinsey was not one I paid any of attention to. But she proved me wrong! I loved her in swimsuit: her dark skin really contrasted with the gold suit, and she was a standout for sure. But her onstage speaking skills and offstage accomplishments are what impress me the most. I was not a big fan of her talent, though, so this could be her downfall. If she makes it through on interview/ss accolades alone, and if the celebrity judges put her through to the top ten, she will probably be cut. It’s a partly cloudy forecast for Briana.
Florida: One thing is certain: both Minnesota and Florida dispelled the myth that going first in the lineup hurts you! I have to be honest, though. I did not see the swimsuit prelim win coming for Sara Zeng, especially given who they chose for the previous two evenings. I thought she looked pale, I disliked her shiny red suit, and I really thought she was too thin. Previously the judges had chosen tan, strong, muscly, curvy gals – so this one confused me. Her gown was also not great for me – too safe and even matronly. But her talent was very strong, so she has that almost-double-prelim status going. Here’s what I DO know: all six preliminary winners don’t usually make the cut. This year with a double preliminary winner, we have only five. Will Florida be the one that misses the mark? While Irma is bringing massive destruction to her state as we speak, I would say she’s only seeing a few clouds here in AC.
Georgia: Oh how I’ve had Georgia on my mind! I seriously can’t get enough of Alyssa Beasley. She is one of the prettiest titleholders, she has fantastic energy in swimsuit (I had her winning it), her lyrical dance is absolutely mesmerizing (I had her winning it), her gown is very red carpet, and she speaks well. Being only 19, I would say her biggest weakness could be if she comes across as immature compared to the super-accomplished college graduates she is competing against. For me, she is a shoe-in: she has the look celebrities will eat up, she will sail through swim suit and gown, and her talent will propel her to the top five or higher. A hurricane may be headed toward her state, but it’s all sun for Miss Georgia here in AC.
Hawaii: I really like her. She has great energy and spunk, and she’s so cute. I tend to think her interview and platform are underdeveloped. She had a lot of success as a teen in the USA system, but even with a decent jazz dance, I don’t know if it’s enough to make the cut here tonight. It’s rare, but you do catch an occasional storm in Hawaii 😦
Iowa: (more bias alert!) Chelsea Dubczak is turning heads of people from all over, and her name is on 90% of the lists I’m seeing. I think it’s fairly certain that she’s in the top 15. She was a standout in swimsuit, and talent was going to either Minnesota or Iowa. Her onstage answer was good, but lacked a little energy and didn’t necessarily stand out to me – but it certainly didn’t hurt her. Here’s my fear with Chelsea: as one of the most well-rounded contestants, she absolutely belongs in the top ten, and I think the preliminary judges would agree. But tonight, we switch to those darned celebrity judges, and I am afraid we will get Taylor Weibers 2.0 happening tonight. Iowa is notorious for getting cut right at talent (Diana Reed, Aly Olson, Taylor Weibers), and I worry that celebrity judges won’t appreciate true fitness over thinness/sex appeal that other contestants may bring. She is stunning in gown, so I’m hopeful that her prelim scores combined with a solid swimsuit score will land her in the top ten. If she can get to that point, we could easily see her making it to a finalist spot. I actually think getting to 10 is a bigger hurdle for Chelsea than getting to 5 – but it should be a nice, sunny day for Iowa when the show starts tonight.
Kansas: I like Krystian Fish, and I like the power coming from the Midwest! She’s a beautiful girl with terrific talent. I would absolutely love to see all these Midwest girls in the mix! I firmly place her in the mix – no tornadoes in sight for Krystian!
Kentucky: Molly Matney wasn’t a standout to me at first, but then she really grew on me. And Kentucky usually sends strong contestants. I actually really loved her yodel talent – I can yodel and it is NOT easy, and she was great! I heard she was sick and having trouble singing, so even more props to her for being a talent standout on night three. She looks great, sounds great, I think she could do great: sunny with a chance of clouds for Molly.
Louisiana: If Laryssa Bonacquisti wasn’t on your list before, she sure is now. If you didn’t know how to say her name before, I bet you do now, LOL! Laryssa won the ever-elusive double preliminary status, and unless she sat there in interview and said nothing, she’s a lock for top fifteen. She’s cute, bubbly, and talented – we’ll see if the celebrity judges appreciate her talent as much as the prelim panel did. I honestly wasn’t wowed until the last 30 seconds or so, but I guess that’s how I felt about Minnesota, too! Nonetheless, I expect her to fly through to the finals and place well tonight. It’s all sunshine for Louisiana!
Maryland: Oh boy. I will first say that Kathleen Masek is drop-dead gorgeous. She was simply stunning when I saw her up close at the parade. And I thought she was a swimsuit contender for certain. But you cannot overcome a talent deficit when talent is scored the highest percentage of all, and expect to be in the mix. There was nary a hint of dance technique, no sign of a leap or turn of any kind, and the sparkly cane served no purpose that I could see. The fact that she didn’t show any dance technique tells me she can’t, so I literally had to score her just for being present onstage. Simply, to be successful at Miss America, you HAVE to invest some time into developing your craft. It’s a stormy day for Maryland tonight.
Michigan: After Utah won talent the first night on violin, Heather Kendrick needed something to differentiate herself, and she did just that. Bad romance on violin was so cool! I love fresh twists and current music – and she utilized the stage brilliantly, moving about and entertaining us well. She’s gorgeous, fit, and fun – I think we could see her in there. I could see the panel going either way with her, so I’d say partly sunny for now.
Minnesota: Oof, this is tough. Preliminary talent winner? Check. Great speaker? Check. Very smart? Check. Good recovery when she biffed her introduction? Check. But my gut says Brianna Drevlow may not make the cut. She was weaker in swimsuit in my opinion, but stong for onstage question. I honestly don’t know how to call her. What I do think will happen is that she will suffer from talent being reserved for top ten, and she won’t make the cut past swimsuit and gown. It’s partly cloudy with a storm brewing for Minnesota.
Mississippi: I really like Anne Elizabeth Buys. But she was way too nervous for onstage question, which makes me wonder if her interview was very good. She looked fabulous in swimsuit, but she went right after Texas, who won swimsuit on her night. And her ballet was weak. So while I think she has the look that the celebrities would love, she probably doesn’t have the goods to get in the top 15. I am going on a limb to say it’s almost all clouds and Mississippi misses the mark altogether.
Missouri: Jennifer Davis really showed up to bring it! She already looks fantastic, but she was helped even more by going fourth after three weak swim suits. But let’s talk talent. We know Bollywood dance can win the whole thing (hello Nina Davaluri), and it is entertaining. But I struggle to know where to rank a Bollywood talent, because for me, it is more about the entertainment than the actual talent or technique. I just can’t equate arm gestures and knee poses to the impressively vertical leaps of Georgia or the impeccably trained Iowa, Minnesota, Utah, etc. Interestingly, Nina is one of the celebrity judges tonight, so if Jennifer makes it through to top ten, she could do well with Nina as a judge. I just think it could be a struggle to get there, so I think I see partly cloudy skies and place her on the high end of a bubble list.
New Hampshire: She’s just the cutest 🙂 I want to see her in there – talent is good. It could be wishful thinking, but she’s smart, she’s talented, I hope she’s able to pull into the mix. It’s a bit of a long shot for me for Lauren Percy, but I’d love to be wrong!
New Jersey: Cute, spunky, tan (lol), tiny little thing, and I like her! Decent in all categories, I think we could see her in the mix, but I don’t think it will be enough to pull her into a finalist position. It’s partly sunny as well for Kaitlyn Schoeffel.
New Mexico: I keep waffling so I’m going to put her firmly in the “lower bubble” list and see what happens. Good swimsuit, good talent. Perhaps a peek of sunshine for this one.
New York: I have not been a New York fan. But, Gabrielle Walter was the sweetest during the parade to this group of little girls not from New York! She had her car wait while they took photos and gave her little gifts, and looked genuinely happy to be with them. Plus, she’s in law school and super smart. She looked great in ss and interview was probably terrific, but talent is just so-so. I just haven’t felt it, but I loved seeing her interact with those girls.
North Carolina: Victoria Huggins is making a run for the typical powerhouse status of her southern counterpart. She’s solid in all areas, but I didn’t think she should pick a Whitney song. That’s never good for anyone, lol. So we’ll see if they were able to appreciate her voice given the song choice.
North Dakota: I love her! Cara Mund is gorgeous, fun, talented – and she shines onstage! She looked terrific in swimsuit (hip were pulled up a bit too high cira 1980 aerobics), and has a great talent. I am sometimes overly optimistic for non-sash states, but I think Cara could deliver.
Oklahoma: Triana Brown can’t help but catch your attention when she came from almost nowhere and snatched up one of the biggest powerhouse states that typically chooses more “seasoned veterans”. But she hasn’t shown up on stage like I wanted her to. Her vocal wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. And her overall impression, for me at least, is too shy and reserved. You can’t deny she’s a beautiful girl, but if they want another Savvy, that’s just not her personality. Oklahoma is almost always a sure thing for top ten – but will we see an early exit two years in a row for this state? I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to count her out completely. I’m afraid it’s kinda cloudy in the Sooner state. 😦
Pennsylvania: Katie Schreckengast seems to make everyone happy! She’s talented, she’s full of energy and personality, and she looks great. I think she’s a possibility for the first cut, but it’s a strong possibility she won’t make it to the second cut. The celebrity judges won’t be able to tell just how awesome she is in one round, and I think she’s stronger in other areas than swimsuit. If Katie makes the 15, it’s a quick run tonight, I’m afraid!
South Carolina: Another cute southern girl, Suzi Roberts stands out with a million-watt smile and shorter hair. She’s solid in all areas, and I think the celebrity judges will eat up how tiny and spunky she is. We could see it rain on her parade after top ten, but she is a good contender for at least a couple cuts tonight.
Tennessee: Another tough call. Tennessee is notorious for sending the blonde girls with a dramatic vocal talent. Enter: Caty Davis. She is pretty and very fit. But she is not a talent standout. HOWEVER, what really made an impression on me was her poise and content for onstage answer. She absolutely knocked it out of the park! She was memorable, well-spoken, told a story, and had a great answer. If that is any indication of her interview, she could pull into the mix with that and a strong ss. I’m just not sure she will make the first cut.
Texas: Margana Wood has impressed me from day one. She won a huge state fairly young. She’s beautiful and not over-the-top Texas. She has a good talent, and she won swimsuit. She reminds me of what they are looking for in a Miss America. If her interview was solid, she should place up there pretty highly because I think the celebrity judges will love her as well. Another thing to consider: people have wondered if Florida and Texas would be given extra attention due to the hurricanes. You hope that doesn’t affect scores in any way, but it definitely can bring extra attention to the girls in the form of media interviews, sympathy, etc. Harvey may have destroyed her home state, but Margana is a ray of sunshine in AC.
Utah: JessiKate Riley is my (and many others’) pick for top five. She could win the whole thing. She is crazy talented, she’s very fit, and she has the look that celebrity judges could send into the finals. If she gets to top ten, which she should, she will fly through to the end. Just like AC today, it’s all sun for Utah. Definitely watch for her tonight.
Washington: Her talent isn’t exceptional, but she’s exceptionally prepared. Nicole Renard really stands out onstage, and knowing her experience level means she could be up there. I think the celebrity judges will love her look, and we could see her stick around through talent. Where she lands, we will see!. For a state with the rainiest city, it’s a beautiful day to be Miss Washington.
THAT WAS A LOT TO DIGEST! But with the above rationales, here are my lists:
BUBBLES (those who could sneak in there): Arkansas, Oklahoma, DC, Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Washington.
TOP FIFTEEN: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah.
TOP TEN: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah.
TOP SEVEN: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Utah, and praying they send Iowa through!! 🙂
I know I’ll be wrong in many places, but it’s fun to try! I hope you join me at http://www.facebook.com/MYMPageant for real-time comments on what I am seeing onstage, and that you help me out with your comments on what it looks/sounds like on TV!
THE COUNTDOWN IS OVER, HERE WE COME, MISS AMERICA!!