2014 Miss America pageant live blog: Will tattooed Miss Kansas Theresa Vail advance?
For 2014, the pageant is moving back to Atlantic City and is taking place in September again (it weirdly moved to January in 2005, which really threw us off because we always remembered it being within the first couple weeks of being back in school).
Anyway, we'll be live-blogging all the festivities, so follow along with us. In case you're curious, here are some preliminary results -- one night one, Miss Mississippi won the swimsuit (excuse us, "lifestyle & fitness") competition, while Miss New Hampshire won talent; night two, Miss Oklahoma (above, right) won L&F and Miss Minnesota won talent; and on night three, Miss Georgia (above, left) won L&F and Miss Florida won talent.
So look for those ladies to perhaps be advancing to the Top 15, or however many it is they pull out first.
All the fun kicks off at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
9:00 -- Mallory Hagan, the reigning Miss America, welcomes us. Can you believe she's been criticized for her weight? We think she thinks wonderful.
9:03 -- During the first round of cheesy introductions, a highlight is Miss Arkansas saying "come bathe with us."
9:04 -- The second group is weirdly honest with "Listening to your phone calls from the nation's capital" from Miss District of Columbia and "Once most famous for the Fountain of Youth, now we're known as America's weirdest state" from Miss Florida.
9:05 -- In group three, "From the state of fast horses and beautiful women -- better not get those confused" is a gem from Miss Kentucky and Miss Louisiana drops a "Duck Dynasty" reference, then Miss Maryland says she's "wacko for Flacco," a reference to the QB for the Baltimore Ravens. Yikes.
9:07 -- Group four is ... kind of unremarkable. Coal? That's all you got, Montana?
9:08 -- In group five, "I'm not breaking bad, I'm breaking through. Say my name." from Miss New Mexico. Not sure there's a lot of overlap of Miss America watchers and "Breaking Bad" watchers. But maybe! Also, Miss North Dakota brags about lowest unemployment?
9:09 -- Scholarship program mention no. 1!
9:10 -- From group six, Miss Rhode Island looks like Anna Camp's younger sister. And did ABC make Miss Tennessee mention "Nashville"?
9:12 -- In group seven, we're ... sorry about the lactose intolerance, Miss Vermont? And we're not sure Miss West Virginia should call herself our "mountain mama." We know it's from the song, but still. Makes it sound like she's bathing in a bathtub on the lawn.
9:17 -- After some bopping around to One Direction, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail advances to the Top 15 as America's Choice. That's awesome. The other top America's Choice vote-getters were California, Missouri, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
9:20 -- Host Chris Harrison introduces us to the judges and we don't actually know very many of them. But hey, Lance Bass and Amare Stoudemire!
9:25 -- Time to meet the rest of the Top 15: Miss California Crystal Lee, Miss New York Nina Davuluri, Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold, Miss Connecticut Kaitlyn Tarpey, Miss Georgia Carly Mathis, Miss MIssissippi Chelsea Rick, Miss Texas Ivana Hall, Miss Arkansas Amy Crain, Miss Missouri Shelby Ringdahl, Miss Kentucky Jenna Day, Miss Maryland Christina Denny, Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones and ... the final two after the break. Weak, Harrison.
9:29 -- The final two spots go to Miss Wisconsin Paula Mae Kuiper and Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh.
9:32 -- There's a "selfie cam," showing us what the contestants see. It's ... exactly what you'd expect. An audience full of people. We also have to watch a montage of the parade from earlier this week while the girls change into their swimsuits. You know what would've solved this problem? Announcing the final two Top 15 and then going to commercial while they change.
9:37 -- Swimsuit time. Miss Kansas is rocking a bright red bikini and showing off her rib tattooes, you go, Army. Unless you have a particular connection to one of the other finalists, how are you not rooting for her?
9:38 -- Not a fan of Miss New York's tiger striped bikini. Just the print, not the suit. Miss Oklahoma cuts a beautiful figure in her simple black suit.
9:39 -- Miss Georgia looks white hot in her bikini, while Miss Mississippi looks like she is sucking it in so hard she's going to pass out. Seriously, that girl can barely walk down the stage. Miss Texas has a great walk, while Miss Arkansas looks like her girls hang really low (left). It's just the swimsuit, we think, but it's not flattering.
9:42 -- Miss Maryland is rocking some serious abs. Good for Miss Florida, strutting her stuff as best she can in that knee brace (she hurt herself during the talent portion). Does Miss Wisconsin almost fall down? What's going on there? did she trip on something?
9:44 -- For us, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Maryland took that round.
9:50 -- Time to find out the Top 12 that go on to compete in evening gowns: Miss Maryland, Miss Connecticut, Miss Florida, Miss Missouri, Miss Oklahoma, Miss New York, Miss Wisconsin, Miss Texas, Miss California, Miss Kansas, Miss Georgia and Miss Minnesota. So, the four we liked made it. Go us!
9:55 -- Evening gown time. Maryland looks smashing in white, it's almost a wedding gown, though. Connecticut says she thinks Miss America should be "timeless and classic," which really shines through in her dress that's from 1994. Miss Missouri is mistakenly called Miss Florida by Chris Harrison. Oops. Then Miss Florida is called Miss Missouri. Wonder what happened there?
9:58 -- Miss Oklahoma really won us over with her simple swimsuit, but has lost us on her white dress with the weird black pattern. Miss New York's calls herself a "more sexy version of Belle." Um, no. That boobage is just kind of skanky, lady. And Miss Wisconsin goes even farther in the way-back machine, to like 1983.
10:00 -- Miss California really goes for the evening gown mullet. Simple in the front, party in the back. Miss Kansas would look really good if it weren't for the ruffle at her waist. That's a big no. Georgia wears a lacey ruffle monstrosity. What is with the swimsuit ladies we loved looking not-so-great in this round?
10:03 -- Love the simple elegance of Miss Minnesota. Our picks are Maryland, Kansas and Minnesota for that round.
10:05 -- New Hampshire, Delaware, Louisiana, Alabama and Maine win $5000 for placing high in talent but not advancing.
10:09 -- We love this new thing where all Top 12 get into their talent costumes and then only 10 actually get to perform. That's hilarious.
10:10 -- Miss Oklahoma sings "Don't" from "Anyone Can Whistle," which is a great musical and you never hear stuff from that one performed, so that's cool. She's also a good singer, but this song is getting away from her a little at times.
10:12 -- Miss New York does a Bollywood dance, which is very cool and something original. But she lost us when she called Mallory Hagan fat, so we cannot root for her.
10:14 -- Miss Kansas was going to do archery for a talent and now has to sing because they can't use projectile objects! That sucks, archery would've been awesome. It's nice she has this lovely opera voice to fall back on, though some of those notes missed the mark. But the judges won't know that.
10:18 -- Miss California is a legitimate dancer, she's performing en pointe and it's very good. It's always funny when someone comes out to "dance" and you know that's what they're doing because they have nothing else to do for talent and it's so bad. Miss Connecticut's river dance is also very good.
10:22 -- Miss Georgia sings "On My Own" and she does it like a country song instead of a Broadway performance, do not like. Also, you aren't that strong of a vocalist -- this is bordering on terrible at moments. Sorry, Georgia.
10:24 -- Miss Texas gives "Fever" a try. She's also not that strong. Yikes. Did nobody at some point suggest to these last two that they try something else for talent? We guess it got them this far, but seriously -- singing's not their strongest point.
10:26 -- Judge Mario Cantone jokes that all these beautiful women are making him straight. No, they aren't.
10:31 -- Miss Minnesota is next with her violin and she is quite the fiddler. She's one of the best talents of the night.
10:33 -- In a bold move, Miss Maryland tackles "For Good" from "Wicked." Picking anything from that show is pretty risky. They are huge songs and they're well known. And for Maryland, it's a little shaky. She does OK, but there are some bum notes.
10:35 -- Miss Florida is doing one of our favorite talents, baton twirling. But she has an injured knee from earlier this week and we're very nervous for her. We wonder how much she had to modify her routine.
10:36 -- In the end, Florida did a great job, especially considering her knee. We think Florida, Minnesota, California, Connecticut and New York won that round. There were very clearly five winners and five also-rans in that talent competition.
10:41 -- Time for the Top 5 and their Q&A. The first finalist is Oklahoma. Hmm. Not with that talent, but OK. Her question is from Cantone and is about Miley Cyrus' VMAs performance. Oklahoma wastes half her time making a stupid joke, then says the performance was "not super tasteful," but at the same time she respects her "creativity." Hmm. You are not going to win, Oklahoma.
10:43 -- Minnesota is next, she definitely should be a finalist after that violin performance. Her Q&A is from Lance Bass about political wives and scandals. Minnesota talks about commitment and how it's the right thing to stand by their man, but the husband needs to get it together. That's not a terrible pageant answer.
10:44 -- Miss California, the amazing ballet dance, gets a Syria question. She says the U.S. has an ethical obligation to prevent the leader of Syria from using chemical weapons on his people and that we need to get the U.N. behind us. That's a great answer on a very nuanced, hard question.
10:45 -- Do not tell me that those questions are all the same in difficulty.
10:46 -- Miss New York gets a question about Julie Chen's "Asian eyes" plastic surgery. She says she doesn't agree with plastic surgery and that more importantly, the girl-next-door is not who she once was as we get more diverse and you need to be confident in who you are. That was an OK answer.
10:47 -- Miss Florida gets a question about disproportionately high incarceration and low incomes for minorities and what we should do to address it. She doesn't answer the question, but instead talks about how she came from a blue-collar family. Yikes.
10:48 -- Well, we picked four of the five to advance, but we thought Connecticut should have bee in there over Oklahoma.
10:51 -- We predict it goes Oklahoma 4th, Florida 3rd, New York 2nd, Minnesota first runner-up and Miss California wins.
10:55 -- After Mallory Hagan's final walk as Miss America, the results are announced: Minnesota is 4th (robbed!), Florida is 3rd (yeah), Oklahoma is 2nd) and ... wow, if New York wins, that sucks for Mallory Hagan having to crown the woman that called her fat. *snort*
10:58 -- The winner is Miss New York Nina Davuluri. Wow. She is the first woman of Indian descent to win the title.
Thanks for joining us!