Miss USA, A Sin City Spectacle
I completely missed the Miss America pageant in January, but thanks to my boyfriend’s channel surfing, Miss USA wound up on our TV last night. I’ve always thought of the show as a poor man’s Miss America—as the Golden Globes are to the Oscars, if you will. This year, though, the two beauty contests really carved out their points of difference, and in my opinion the crown goes to Miss USA, which has benefited from a recent Donald Trump makeover—hey, at least he’s good for something. While Miss America increasingly tries to re-create itself as more than just a beauty pageant (it’s now referred to as a scholarship contest), Miss USA just sort of owns the fact that it is what it is—an annual event in which 51 women are judged on their Jessica Simpson swimwear-clad bikini bodies and an ability to walk in heels while smiling. There was no talent competition, only marginal information was revealed about the contestants (a screen shot during the evening gown portion listed each girl’s interests, some of which included “playing with her Chihuahua” and “online shopping”), and the Q&A session was all over the place. At one point judge Perez Hilton asked Miss California to elaborate on her view about gay marriage, and elaborate she did. There was simply no pretense that this was anything but a parade of physical beauty (and a large-scale advertising scheme for Las Vegas tourism), but these girls still really wanted it—and I in turn wanted it for them. (Hold your head up high, Miss Utah; you and your Bulgarian-folk-dancing, impending-law-degree self are too smart for them). Did anyone else watch last night? If so, thoughts on Miss North Carolina’s victory? Miss California’s ideas on marriage mores? Nadine Velazquez’ unbearable hosting quips?