Like millions or just a half million (maybe this is the problem) who watched the Miss America pageant we observed Miss New York sit on the stage crossed-legged and sing a simple song while playing a large plastic drinking cup. Only minutes later, we watched as this same young woman was named Miss America. Her competition? A ventriloquist who brought the house down, classical pianist, opera singer and two beautiful dancers. So much for the image of Miss America twirling flaming-bladed batons. Miss America 2014 sang a solo with a solo cup.
I can think of lots of jokes: I can understand being defeated by a “C” cup but a Solo cup? Miss Virginia, “A cup beat me.” Headlines from Atlantic City: Miss New York Takes Crown Singing a Solo with a Solo.
Is it fair to say after the “water cooler/Social Media” hype dies down that Miss America will possibly suffer another set-back or Network Change…AGAIN?
I have been on that stage and at least 99.9 percent of the state winners could wear that crown. I am beginning to think that the Miss America folks are not looking the girl next door. Now they want the girl next door with a gimmick.
I am not berating the new winner at all. I am sure the new Miss America is a lovely young woman and I hope she has an amazing year. The decision to select this young woman rested on the shoulders of the judges. I will venture to say that Miss New York may have been the most surprised contestant in the pageant.
But the quote I read from the newly crowned Miss America is somewhat disturbing. She said “The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life.”
Well, I know this is music to the ears of TLC. Get ready for the new reality show: Name that Miss America Talent. The first contestant will be Honey Boo-Boo. Her talent will be making the family’s favorite meal-SKETTIE. This is a delightful combination of ketchup and butter poured over noodles.
Honesty, my heart goes out to the thousands of local preliminary competitions who are going to have to deal with the new rush of “talents.”
All of this Miss America hype reminds me of one of my favorite pageant stories from my book, “Bare Feet to High Heels; You Don’t Have to be a Beauty Queen to be a Beautiful Person.”
Rhinestones on a Cow Pie
You can always tell when a contestant is twirling flaming, bladed batons … one only has to observe the audience. There is a look of frozen horror fixed on the faces of the masses. Call it what you will, but in the South we call it talent.
In a rural Illinois community, a group of leaders decided they needed a queen. So, in an attempt to copy our graceful Southern ways, a pageant was proposed. Notice was sent to the area schools, and an eager group of young ladies assembled.
Several questions concerning talent were asked. The response of “do what you do best” was given to the wannabe beauty queens. Well, it just so happened that one particular”wanna be” held another title: The 4-H Cow Milking Champion. And don’t you know, this young lady, not having just fallen off the cattle truck, was no dummy. She checked out the Miss America rule book. And nowhere in that book did it say “no live animals on stage. “At the time, there was no such rule, but honey, today it is in that rule book as big as you please in bold print. I guess you have made the connection by now. This is the very event that created the rule that forever changed the lives of beauty queens across America.
Dress rehearsal, Friday night. Our contestant drives up to the auditorium transporting a big ol’ “has-not-been-milked-all-day “Holstein—in other words, her talent. This creates quite a stir with the pageant committee since her application stated her talent was a “classical musical rendition of the Viennese Waltz.” Yes, sirree, this gal not only had culture but also a little agriculture in mind.
With her three-legged stool positioned so she could grip her “instruments” and the bucket underneath, the sound man played their song. Yes, she commenced to milk that cow to the tune of the Viennese Waltz. Now y’all, I ain’t makin’ this up.
The melodious sounds of the milk hitting the sides of that galvanized bucket rivaled the magnificent works of Mozart himself. It went something like this: Du,Du,Du,du-du—squirt,squirt,squirt,squirt.Du,Du,Du,du-du—squirt,squirt,squirt,squirt … you get the picture.
The rule book was grabbed as the committee tried to convince our girl that she could not in any way perform with a live animal on stage. Sitting there in complete confidence, this girl knew her stuff. So prepared was she. There was a much larger bucket present to aid with any full bladder or other unspeakable problems. After the proverbial what-ifs were exchanged, the committee knew there was no stopping her.
The curtain opened that next evening with the bevy of beauties doing their thing. The pageant progressed flawlessly, and then, the moment those in the know dreaded most arrived. The audience gasped as the curtain was drawn to reveal what would turn out to be the most memorable performance in the history of pageant competition.
The music began, and our girl, as poised as any Miss America has ever been, played her utterly fabulous cow. The crowd sat motionless, soaking in the magical moment. One small hand clap quickly escalated into a thunderous roar of applause. But the bliss of the moment was short-lived. The cow let out a moo that shook the building to its foundation. Red flags waved, as did the cow’s tail.
Those of you who are not from a farm background may think the cow was applauding too. Our contestant knew better, as did a member of the pageant committee. Both contestant and committee member raced to the same place at the same time in an attempt to fetch the big bucket. But, alas, the cow beat ‘em to the punch. Time for that phrase we all know and love: when you gotta go, you gotta go. And go this cow did.
In an attempt to grab the big bucket, the contestant and committee member tripped over the main power cord and unplugged the lights, sound, etc. In a darkened building, the only sounds heard were the mooing of the relieved animal and well, the other.
During the next several minutes of complete bedlam, the building was evacuated and the cow was removed from the stage as was the “cow-wee.”
What happened next is the point of this cow tale. That darlin’ little ol’ honorary Southern Belle only had one question. Still poised, she walked up to the pageant committee and asked, “Can I do it again?”
This is one of the finest queen’s rules, and it is a colossal success principle: don’t ever stop trying.
Every time I share this story, someone will ask, “Did she win?” Did she win! Well, she won the best title of all: the girl who got rid of beauty queen animal tricks. However, the biggest prize was her attitude of giving it another try or squirt, if you will.