There She Is?: Miss America 2014

Since 1921, one of our great American traditions has been that of the Miss America pageant. It was started as a business plan in order to keep tourists longer in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and has now evolved to become one of America’s most treasured traditions – but in recent years, one of America’s most forgotten about traditions. At one point, there was a parade with floats, featuring the ladies in period swimwear, something that should make a comeback – and could, based on today’s fashions (Side Note: they had a “parade of shoes,” but it just looked like a bunch of girls elevating broken legs in convertibles in random dresses instead of vintage swimsuits). Miss America used to be a representative for the country, and a symbol for fashion, service, and talent, almost like a female version of the President. For the last few years, however, due to financial reasons, it’s had to relocate to Las Vegas, taking with it some of the kitsch and charm and making it more like the Donald’s Miss USA pageant. One year it almost lost television coverage, until it was saved by, of all channels, CMT. This year, even in light of Hurricane Sandy, it has moved back to Atlantic City, where it all started, so expect that to be mentioned more than a few times tonight.

So, this year’s contestants are, as usual, a fun bunch. Miss America gives out several awards each year, so here are mine:

The “Small Town Girl” AwardMiss Nebraska, JaCee Pilkington. Coming from tiny Minatare, Nebraska (pop. 816), if she wins, she will be, without a doubt, the most famous person to come from there. Heck, if she makes the semifinals, they’ll probably erect a statue of her in the town square. And given that it’s Nebraska, it’ll probably be made out of corn.

The “Sentimental Favorite” AwardMiss Iowa, Nicole Kelley. She was born with one arm, so that’s something.

The “Your Parents Named You What?” Award – Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones. Seriously, Myrrhanda? I get the biblical reference, but did you really think about how many times your daughter would have to spell out her name?

And of course, the best bit of trivia from this years competition.

The “You Thought You Could Get Away With Sending The Same Girl To Represent Two States Award” – Miss California and Miss Hawaii. Both are sending a girl named Crystal Lee. I can only imagine the hilarity and/or utter annoyance and confusion that ensued in Atlantic City. To top it off, they look pretty similar. In my mind, they’re pulling switches and pranking all the other contestants, and confusing the heck out of all the handlers. If they become the final two, I will laugh for days.

And now, my picks:

Of course, my hometown girl, Christina Denny, Miss Maryland, from Owings Mills. She’s super cute, so I think she’s got a shot. Next up is Ivana Hall, Miss Texas – though she’s not from Houston, I won’t hold it against her. This year’s Miss Wisconsin is Paula Kuiper, who is from Madison, where I currently live, so that’ll be fun to see if she wins. I’m not one of those pageant-crazies, but I did watch some of the videos, and Miss Vermont (Jeanelle Achee) seems like a pretty cool chick, if not derpy. Vermont has never even placed, so here’s hoping.

Here’s also hoping that someone makes history, trips over her evening gown, or at least has an amusing answer to the final question. Good luck, ladies.

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