Miss America: Reality Check?

Ken AshfordWomen's Issues2 Comments

Hat-tip to Heather Handy Heather Maple-dew-Who, who has the low-down.

It’s a four-part "reality series" on TLC, starring all 52 Miss America contestants.  According to the TLC release:

The premiere episode begins when the 52 state winners arrive at the mansion in full pageant regalia – dresses, sashes and crowns. Immediately they meet their host Michael Urie who delivers the painful news that Miss America is perceived as being outdated in contemporary society. Quickly crushed, their hopes are restored when they discover that TLC is giving Miss America a makeover! Everything the girls have spent their entire lives training for is about to change.

Through a series of events and challenges, the girls will be retrained with the new criteria for Miss America and be put to the test. This is meant to revolutionize not only their look, but the whole package – their attitude, how they carry themselves and the way they relate to the everyday world.

[Emphasis mine].

Here’s how it reads from the Miss America PR department:

For the first time in history, MISS AMERICA: REALITY CHECK brings all 52 contestants together to live under one roof to undo everything they have learned about pageant basics and determine if their smarts, attitudes and looks hold up in contemporary society.  Led by host Urie, the girls participate in an intense set of events and challenges designed to prepare them for the finale event, a renewed competition that will redefine what it takes to be Miss America, a relatable and individual ‘it girl’ who can connect with today’s modern woman.

That all sounds well and good, but I wonder if that is just hype for the TLC show (and, by extension, the pageant).  I was curious to see exactly what this "new criteria" is for the competition, and at the Miss America website, it looks pretty much the same (in fact, it is the same — the current website page is from 2006):

Finals Competition Scoring

The scoring for the Miss America Finals Competition is weighted accordingly:

  • Composite Score – 30% (Top 10)
  • Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit – 20% (Top 10)
  • Evening Wear – 20% (Top 10)
  • Talent – 30% (Top 5)
  • On-stage Question (Top 3)
  • Final Ballot – Each judge ranks the final three contestants in the order he/she believes they should each finish. The outcome of the pageant is based solely on the point totals resulting from the final ballot.

Now, perhaps I am missing something.  After all, this only shows the weight given each category and not what criteria is set out within each category.  I still don’t know exactly what the judges are charged with looking for, or how it differs from previous years.

I guess I’ll have to watch TLC to find out.