Miss America: Contestant Rundown, Part I

Friends, it is with GREAT excitement that I announce the arrival of my favorite season of all time: 


That's right, ladies and germs. It's here. Man, that happened in the blink of an eye. 

My own history with Miss America and Miss Alabama goes back four generations - my great-grandmother, Julia Burton, was the traveling companion to Miss Alabama for years and years. And every generation after her, including my mom and aunt who actually competed, have been completely glued to this franchise. 

Sure, The Pag has seen its ups and downs. The whole "vote a contestant into the top 10" thing? Not a fan. The "make the losers of the pageant sit on stage and eat in doughnuts in front of everyone?" Not so good. 

But the tried-and-true Miss America moments, moments like Heather Whitestone, Miss Alabama 1995 - a perfect ballerina and also a deaf woman - winning Miss America are what I. LIVE. FOR: 

That's right. She was actually THAT charming and amazing. Like, what's more precious and emotionally moving than this? Nothin'. Sorry 'bout your luck, every single other girl who competed in 1995. 

So since 2011, Miss America has done this fun thing where the contestants release videos of themselves to try and get the public to vote them into the Top 12. And since 2011, I've reviewed these videos on Facebook. (I am confident that my Facebook friends will be relieved that I'm posting these reviews on my blog rather than taking over their Facebook timeline for 24 hours.)

 These videos used to be awesomely awkward and bizarre, like this. I implore you to watch the whole thing: 

You heard her right - one of the lyrics in her song is, "My father is a painter of balloons and crates." 

She said, "And so much more," but girl - there's only balloons and crates in those paintings. 

Anyway, through the years, the MAO has kind of gotten their act together and stopped making these girls embarrass themselves so much. This year, all we get are 15-second videos of each contestant introducing themselves, sharing their platform, and telling an interesting fact about themselves. They're certainly not as entertaining as Miss Delaware 2013 Rebecca Jackson. 

But folks, we can work with that.

Grab your gavels, 'cause it's time to get judgey. 

A note: Much like The Bachelor recaps that appear on this blog, this is what I like to call "lovingly snarking," and is not meant to be hateful or ugly. Mostly just silly. Carry on. 

 MISS ALABAMA - Hayley Barber

I am famously biased in these recaps toward Miss Alabama, who I 100% of the time find charming and solid. That's probably because Alabama produces really strong Miss America candidates every single year. So: Hayley, you're adorable and I voted for you. YAY!

2. MISS ALASKA - Kendall Bautista

At first I was like, "A Kardashian!" But then she said the thing about being cast as a weed in a school play because she was shy, and that made me LOL, so I therefore like her. Sadly, cute Kendall will probably not advance given that Alaska has won The Pag exactly zero times. But it was nice to meet her. 

3. Miss Arizona - Kaitlyn Niemiec

Looks like Miley Cyrus in this still shot. Y'all. She had ALL the fun facts at her disposal. She could've shared that she was a manicurist on the side. She could've shared that she brushes her hair 100 times a night. But she chose to share that she has seen a bunch of dude's wieners in a locker room. We don't want Miss America talking about wieners. NEXT.

4. Miss Arizona Savvy Shields

For some reason I get the distinct impression that Savvy is a teeny tiny person. I don't know why I feel that way. We'll see, I guess. Anyway, cute, fine, good with Savvy. Very memorable name. Has a distinct Hayden Panettiere vibe.

5. Miss California - Jessa Carmack

I have absolutely no idea what she said because I was fixated on her boobs. I'm sorry. What was she talking about? 

6. Miss Colorado - Shannon Patilla

Shannon has a beautiful ring on her left hand, which leads me to share this Miss America fact with you all: Miss America can't be engaged or married. So WHASSUP WITH THAT RING? 

7. Miss Connecticut - Alyssa Taglia


8. Miss Delaware - Amanda Debus

Her platform is allergies: 

Also she looks startlingly different in her headshot than she does in this video. 

9. Miss DC - Cierra Jackson  

Holy cow she's charming. Like, she beats the pants off everyone so far. And also, apparently, is a total boss. Vote for Cierra. 

10. Miss Florida - Courtney Sexton

Here's a children's book of me during this video: 

I drew it on top of a picture from my last post, okay? I'm lazy. 

I drew it on top of a picture from my last post, okay? I'm lazy. 

11. Miss Georgia - Patricia Ford



12. Miss Hawaii Allison Chu

I actually care about skincare so I'm glad that she's doing this. That's all. 

13. Miss Idaho - Kaylee Solberg

Another snooze. I mean these girls seem fine, they're just not terribly interesting. They'd make great librarians or crossing guards or something.

14. Miss Idaho - Jaryn Franklin

So, Jaryn. That's one I haven't heard before. Do you think her parents are named James and Taryn? Or Jared and Kathryn? Or Jackson and...Bryn? WAIT - is she a long lost Duggar child and they ran out of J names?? Slash the girl before her took her fun fact. #awkward 

15. Miss Indiana - Brianna DeCamp

You know, I don't mind ol' Brianna. I think the pony fact is a little bizarre, but she's an animal person and I get it. For some reason I like her. Maybe it's the conversational tone in her voice. Maybe it's her sparkly belt. Either way. 

16. Miss Iowa - Kelly Koch

Mmkay. Two things, neither of which are Kelly's fault. Firstly, I think we all know that "Koch" is not pronounced "Cook," but I get why she made the switch. Secondly, whoever is scripting the text to appear out to the side needs a spelling lesson. It's not "Ballet On Point." It's "Ballet EN POINTE." Don't be a redneck. 

17. Miss Kansas - Kendall Schoenekase

Her last name means "beautiful cheese" in German. Doin' my job for me, Shoenekase. 

18. Miss Kentucky - Laura Jones

We all know what springs to mind when we think of homeschooling: 

And yet Laura seems cool. It endears me to her that she doesn't have 55 pounds of makeup on. And she's playing a violin solo over Smooth Criminal. So that could either be the best or the worst thing I've ever heard. Let's hope we actually get to hear it. Go, Laura! 

19. Miss Louisiana - Justine Ker

Bland. Next. 

20. Miss Maine - Marybeth Noonan

More than the fact that I want to say that indoor skydiving isn't a thing (because you can't be inside and also in the sky, amirite?), I want to point out that you, Marybeth, create problems for me, Mary Catherine, by causing people to assume that my name is one name. Your name is two names, girlfriend. You just smashed 'em up. NEXT. 

21.  Miss Maryland - Hannah Brewer

So the fact that her platform has to do with veterans and the families of veterans, but includes her own first name, reads a little egomaniacal. She might as well have named it Hannah's Awesome Charity Because Hannah Is Awesome, Don't You Agree? She looks like the kind of girl who will sing a really intense R&B song in the whitest possible way, a la every single white girl who has ever screamed "Listen" from Dreamgirls as their talent in a pageant. 

And there are a lot of those girls. 

22. Miss Massachusetts - Alissa Musto

Now HERE'S one I can sink my...teeth...into. Okay. SO. No one, in the history of time, has ever "broken their two front teeth while studying abroad" when they were sober. So we know Alissa likes to party. Her faux-corset red top also says, "Put some vodka up in that cranberry." 

Here's an actual fun fact: did you know that if you knock your tooth out, the best thing to do is to put the tooth back into your gum to try and preserve the nerve?

This has been I'm Married to a Dentist with Mary Catherine Scott. 

23. Miss Michigan - Arianna Quan

Another EXCELLENT video. Arianna began by saying, "Oh HAAAAAAAY, everyone!" which is like, you know, how women greet each other. She also mentions that she's collected over 1,000 "Yu-Gi-Oh!" cards. I Googled "What the hell is a yugioh" and found out that it's yet another Japanese cartoon/card game/collectible, just like Pokemon. She also says something indecipherable at the end of her video that sounds to me like, "It's always time to do 'em." But I really have no idea. I think this is my favorite video so far. 

24.  Miss Minnesota - Madeline Van Ert

That's cool, Madeline, but I'm still focused on my girl Arianna up there. I have so many questions for her. LIke, why Yu-Gi-Oh! and not Pokemon? Is one better? Where does she store her 1,000 cards? Does she keep them in huge binders, encased in plastic like all the nerds we grew up with? What did she mean when she said, "It's always time to do 'em?" I need answers. 

Edit: I have since been informed that what she's saying is "It's always time to DUEL." Because apparently in this game, you duel cards with other people. The "you" being "Arianna," who apparently still does this. Which is even more spectacular. Mic drop.

25. Miss Mississippi - Laure Lee Lewis

Leave it to Mississippi to bring the full-on, old-school pageant REALNESS. This girl not only has a double name, but has an ALLITERATIVE double name. Her hair is teased. And she claims to like Star Wars. Because it makes her more relatable, duh! This is what it's all about right here. 


26-51 are coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.