The 2012 Miss America Pageant featured an opening “dance” number by all 53 contestants. In six different locations in and around Las Vegas, beauty contestants stepped in front of the camera and all said something catchy about their home state. Miss North Carolina Hailey Best proudly proclaimed that the Tar Heel State was the birthplace of miniature golf — what a claim to fame.
The corporate plugs came fast and furious during the 90-minute broadcast Saturday night and Amway, the direct-sell marketer of health and beauty products, got the most airtime. Other corporate sponsors that wove their brands into the broadcast included Express, which provided the glittery outfits for all contestants during the pageant.
The judges of the 2012 Miss America Pageant included Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian clan; Teri Polo, actress from Meet the Fockers; Mark Ballas of “Dancing with the Stars,” Lara Spencer of “Good Morning America,” “The Bachelor” executive producer Mike Fleiss, “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” host Chris Powell and Raul de Molina, host of an Univision entertainment news show. The question that came to mind: what qualifies these people to serve as judges of a beauty contest?
Announcement of semi-finalists
The field of 53 contestants was narrowed down to 15 early on in the competition. A new wrinkle this year was co-host Brooke Burke Charvet spoke with the losers right after the announcement and asked them to perform a rallying song they used throughout the week to lift their spirits.
Red bikinis were prevalent during the swimsuit competition, although the brown bikini worn by Miss Texas was the most sophisticated. However, the eventual winner, Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, wore a white bikini. Miss South Carolina, Bree Boyce, who lost more than a hundred pounds in preparation for Miss America, looked like all that dieting took a toll on her body.
Going from 15 to 12
After the top 12 contestants were announced, Miss America took on a “Survivor” feel when Chris Harrison said one of the eliminated beauties could be saved by her fellow contestants. At that point, Harrison and Charvet instructed the eliminated contestants to line up behind one of the three beauties to help save them from elimination. It took an accountant from Ernst & Young to tell Harrison and Charvet how many beauties lined up behind each contestant. Apparently, the hosts never learned how to count.
Contestant voiceovers during evening wear competition
One of the high points of the competition was the contestant voiceovers during the evening wear competition. Miss Louisiana wanted her dress to reflect that she had a heart for people. Miss Wisconsin compared her dress to Kate Middleton’s wedding gown despite the fact it was black, short-sleeved and backless. Miss South Carolina pointed out that her dress didn’t have a single bead on it because she wanted to express that it’s the girl inside the dress that counts. Miss Florida, a petite Filipino-American, said her dress made her feel 8 feet tall. And Miss Texas said her dress reminded her of a Britney Spears costume.
During the talent competition, the pageant borrowed a technique from VH1’s “Pop Up Video” when little factoids about the contestants began appearing at the bottom of the screen. For example, Miss Oklahoma knows how to give a cow pedicure. Miss Arizona had a poem published in the fifth grade. Miss Illinois is afraid of windmills. Miss Wisconsin secretly wishes to swim with dolphins.
Getting the boot
Another new wrinkle of this year’s Miss America pageant was the elimination of three contestants as they were preparing for the talent competition, which seemed cruel and heartless. Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce was clearly miffed at the way she and two others were singled out for elimination. “I have a lot of TV shows offering me jobs and I have a book in the works,” Boyce told Charvet, as if to say, “I don’t need this crap.”
Next year, the Miss America pageant might want to seek out Cover Girl’s waterproof mascara as a sponsor because the Amway products used by Kaeppeler streaked her face with black as tears of joy flowed.