Pageant watching is a favorite pastime of the ladies in my immediate family, so we were all excited for the Miss America pageant, which took place this past Saturday night. My dad has even been sucked in over the years, so much so that when I call mom over commercial breaks to talk catty about the contestants he picks up on another phone and chimes in. I haven’t yet convinced Jon that watching these events is fun (though he did come to a Miss America party I hosted in grad school before we got together), but I’ll wear him down eventually.
Note to Miss Wisconsin: Waterproof mascara is great for all kinds of emotional occasions, not just weddings or funerals! (source)
For years I joked that I was going to sign up for the pageant at the North Georgia State Fair ($75 for day-of registration!), but I never followed through. There’s no way my prom or recital dresses would have held a candle to those of the serious pageant girls, so I was going to slay the competition with an impassioned performance of Memory from Cats — only the funniest, most overwrought and pageant-tastic showtune ever. (Never mind that there is no talent portion in the North Georgia State Fair pageant.) On My Own, immortalized by Katie Holmes, is a close second.
The talent competition is far and away the best part of Miss America — and by best, I mean most painful to watch. This year’s display held no shortage of cringe-inducing moments, including but not limited to butchery of opera, ballet en pointe, “classical” piano and even Josh Groban schlock. Miss Oklahoma’s Irish step dance routine was a breath of fresh air and a reminder that some of these girls are legitimately very talented. (Riverdance for the win! Or, you know, first runner-up. Doh.)
The height of hilarity this year was without a doubt Miss Tennessee. Not only did she sing Memory, a throwback cliche from the pageants of my childhood, SHE SANG IT IN ITALIAN. Lipstick on a pig, much? I’m quite certain we all know this song is normally in English and is from Cats, not some highfalutin’ opera. There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin.
With that, please watch this deeply befuddling performance. She’s up first. (After that, read this preview and bemoan the fact that Hawaii didn’t make the cut.)