5 Things to Make Watching Miss America More Fun.


Oh man oh man oh man. I'm so excited. 

I was thinking about how to run down the contestants this year, and there really isn't a way to do that (RIP that tradition, first time in like...seven years?...that I haven't done it), so I thought I'd offer a few words of wisdom to those of you who might be tuning in more casually to The Pag on Sunday night. I mean, information makes everything better, right? 


SO. The first, and probably most important thing:

1. Miss America is NOT Miss USA. 


*clears throat* 

Listen up. No shade to my girls who've competed in that circuit (the industry term for "a different brand of pageant), but Miss America and Miss USA are very different. 

For starters, Miss America has been around since 1921, and Miss USA started in 1950. The biggest difference for our purposes, though, is that Miss USA doesn't feature a talent portion. That's the easiest way to tell them apart. Although it can certainly be argued that not all Miss America contestants have a talent that needs to be shared with the world, they have to at least try. 

Miss USA girls go on to compete in Miss Universe, while Miss America is the terminal title in that circuit - you don't get better than that. Miss USA tends to be a bit more looks-focused, while Miss America is a bit more "all-around girl." 

And yes. Until recently, Miss USA was owned by Donald Trump. So, you know...do with that what you will. 

2. Preliminaries are important.


Ever wonder how, minutes after turning on the show, we suddenly have a Top 10 in place? 

It's all based on preliminary scoring. 

So in order for us to actually have something to watch on Saturday night, the girls compete in preliminary competitions the week before the actual "big" pageant on Saturday night. This more or less means that they're having a mini-pageant Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. By Sunday night, the judges will have seen each girl compete in each area of competition (evening wear, swimsuit, on-stage question/interview, and talent). 

It's important to remember that we won't actually see every area of competition. The interview is held behind closed doors between the contestant and the panel of judges. When you see a girl who doesn't have a strong talent and think, "What the ACTUAL HELL is she doing in the Top 10?", chances are, she had a really strong interview and won the judges that way.  

The Top Ten will be derived from the girls who had the highest preliminary scores. You'll definitely see the preliminary winners in the Top 10, but you'll also see girls who scored highly across the board (even if they didn't win a prelim outright). 

3. Get to know the girls. 


You know you want to! Peruse their head shots here. 

Some names (and boy, do I mean NAMES, you guys - they must have been recruiting for these weirdo first names this year) to look out for: 

- Miss Louisiana, Laryssa Bonacquisti, who won swimsuit last night. 
- Miss Minnesota, Brianna Drevlow, talent winner last night. 
- Miss Texas, Margana Wood, who won swimsuit Friday night. 
- Miss Utah, JessiKate (no I am not kidding) Riley, who won talent Friday night. 

Other winners of note include the Quality of Life award winner, MISS ALABAMA JESSICA PROCTER (yeah she did, get it!!!). That's not a judged category, but it's a community service honor and something the judges will definitely take note of. 

I just have a feeling this year about AL, y'all. I think she might take it home. 

4. There will now be TWO on-stage questions.


For some God forsaken reason, these people can't just leave well enough alone and feel the need to add some weirdo "new and dramatic" element every year. 

It's probably because that Rat Bastard Chris Harrison is hosting now, tbh. THE MOST DRAMATIC MISS AMERICA COMPETITION IN HISTORY. Bye Chris, we have your number. 

Anyway, so THIS year, they've decided to add an extra on-stage question. Normally, we only get to see one, and it's the last area of competition (usually only the Top 5 answer). This year, there will be a "personality question" asked of seven out of the Top 10, then from those seven, 5 will move on to the final round, answering their more serious interview question before the competition is over. 

The real question is how they're going to do this. Are they gonna just make those three other girls stand up and be like, "Yeah, not you guys. But thanks!" 

They've done it before. 

5. You can and should be judging at home. 


This scoring sheet from last year is a good jumping off point, although it's going to be different this year with the addition of a second question. 

In case you're a freak like me, the breakdown of scoring goes like this: 

Composite – 25%
Swimsuit – 10%
Evening wear – 15%
Talent – 30%
Question 1 – 5%
Question 2 – 15%

(PS - "Composite" means an average of all the contestant's preliminary scores from the previous three nights of competition. That's why preliminary winners almost always make it into the Top 10 - if they won an overall category, their average score is going to be high.)

Way more fun to do this if you have friends over. My mom and I, for example, will be video chatting throughout the competition. 

What are they looking for? Wholesome, friendly, funny, smart, talented. By and large, you won't see any dumb dumbs or vulgar swimsuits/evening gowns on the Miss A stage. Take it into consideration. 

And if you're wavering, you can always ask my grandmother, who 100% of the time guesses the right Miss America like halfway through the competition. 


THERE YOU HAVE IT. I just got myself so worked up and excited that I'm practically salivating. I need to go run laps around the house. If you want to watch and follow along on Twitter, I'll be tweetin' it up @mcmcannally. I'm not responsible for what comes out of my mouth on Twitter that night - I have no control over my body or mind. 


It's The Pag. It does it to me every time.