Miss America 2016 - Post-show Analysis

For everyone who #BetonBetty, your bets paid off as Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, won it all last Sunday night and was crowned Miss America 2016 to succeed the lovely Kira Kazantsev. 
 
There she is. Hope she's ready for the ride of her life!

I am an unabashed pageant geek.  I prep for pageant viewing like other people prep for their fantasy football draft.  I compile and cross reference the pundits' predictions and basically have figured out who the top 10 should be, before the live show starts.  After that, it's a crapshoot.  Anyone could win it all or fall with grace.  So, for Miss America 2016, we have the following predictions and analysis from various insiders (all sources linked):

6/30/2015
8/4/2015
8/23/2015
9/3/2015
9/10/2015
9/13/2015
9/13/2015
Author
Author
Steven Roddy & Team
Alabama
Florida
Florida
Florida
Florida
Oklahoma
Georgia
South Carolina
Florida
Iowa
Arkansas
Massachusetts
Minnesota
South Carolina
Maryland
Georgia
Alaska
Oklahoma
Georgia
Florida
Florida
South Carolina
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Tennessee
Vermont
Alabama
Iowa
Idaho
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Nevada
Alabama
New Mexico
Illinois
Colorado
Florida
South Carolina
South Carolina
Mississippi
Colorado
South Carolina
Oklahoma
Georgia
South Carolina
New York
Rhode Island
Alabama
New York
New York
 
 
 
 
 
Idaho
Idaho
Idaho
North Carolina
Oklahoma
 
 
 
 
**Florida
Kansas
West Virginia
Louisiana
Indiana
Pennsylvania
 
 
 
 
**Maryland
Alabama
Georgia
Mississippi
West Virginia
Rhode Island
 
 
 
 
**Montana
Oklahoma
Iowa
New Jersey
Colorado
South Carolina
 
 
 
 
 
Florida
Mississippi
New York
Oklahoma
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
North Carolina
Utah
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tennessee
Mississippi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Texas
Louisiana
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
West Virginia
Georgia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oklahoma
Alabama

**Mr. Haggerty is a member of the preparation team for the indicated contestants, and he does not select any girl with whom he is working as a favorite for the crown, so as to avoid conflict of interest.  I'm sure that they are all his favorites.

Legend:

WINNER
1st RU
2nd RU
3rd RU
4th RU
Top 7
Top 15
 
The frontrunners from the beginning were South Carolina and Florida, then the Georgia bandwagon showed up in August.  After that, it was pick a Southern state and whomever stood out in prelims.

Prelim winners:

Night 1 South Carolina Fitness
Iowa Talent
Night 2 Florida Fitness
Louisiana Talent
Night 3 Iowa Fitness
Georgia Talent
 
Which solidified Louisiana and Iowa in the mix of favorites. 

How the results shook out:

Iowa - Taylor looked great in fitness.  But she immediately followed Miss Colorado in the evening gown competition, wearing the same style plunging V-neck mermaid dress, only in blue.  Colorado was breathtaking in red with her majestic train.  Iowa just could not follow that, and as a result, did not make the cut to perform her talent. 

Florida - MaryKatherine looked fantastic in fitness. Floated down the runway in a perfectly tailored white evening gown (winners wear white!). But lyrical dance is VERY hard to win with because most finals night judges do not understand it and cannot judge it as accurately as an instrumental or vocal performance.  Although she performed beautifully in talent, with athletic and graceful fouette turns and quad pirouettes, she needed a few other things to break her way.  Just didn't happen.



TOP 7


L to R: Louisiana, Colorado, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee



South Carolina

Daja Dial, Miss South Carolina
 
Evening Gown: Daja wore my favorite evening gown, playing with texture and embracing tailoring.  Loved it.

Talent: Contemporary Vocal. Struggled a bit - her vocal sounded like she had a case of nerves, and then she finally found her deep soul on the LAST NOTE.

On-stage question: America loves our 2nd Amendment, but gun violence continues to be a tragic problem. Do you support a ban on military-style assault weapons?

Answer: I don't. But I think it's because we need to increase education. We have to go back there. If we teach people the proper way to use guns then we will reduce the risk of having gun-related ... gun-related accidents. It starts with education.
 
Analysis: She spoke to firearms education, but avoided the question itself. She didn't argue for mental health screening or discuss current events (Hey Miss SC - CHARLESTON).  Done.


Tennessee

Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee
 
Evening Gown: Red jersey with a peplum at the waist.  I happen to dislike peplum tops, so she automatically lost points in my book.

Talent: Piano. For a Liberace piece, this performance lacked energy.  She did not have the stage presence of Teresa Scanlan (Miss America 2011, also a pianist).

On-Stage Question: Some legislators are threatening to shut down the government over federal contributions to Planned Parenthood, even though no federal funds can be used for abortions. Should Planned Parenthood funding be cut off?

Answer: I don't think Planned Parenthood funding should be cut off. The $500 million that gets given to Planned Parenthood every single year goes to female ... care. It goes to screening for cancer. It goes for mammograms. And if we don't give that funding to Planned Parenthood, those women will be out of health care for reproductive causes.
 
Analysis: SHE HAD A DATA POINT! GOOD GIRL! But then she stuttered. And she froze.  And it was all over. If she could have said that none of the federal funding to Planned Parenthood is allocated to abortion services, then she would have been golden (and maybe sparkly).



4th RU - Alabama

Meg McGuffin, Miss Alabama


Evening Gown: Red deep V-neck jersey sheath with a high leg slit. Very flattering to her, but it doesn't have the "WOW" factor in my eyes.

Talent: Contemporary dance en pointe.  It was definitely contemporary (read: out there). I didn't get it (whereas I did understand Florida's dance and message).  But because it was en pointe, I can see where the judges would likely score it higher.

On-Stage Question: According to a poll released this week, Donald Trump is leading Republican candidates with 32 percent of the vote. Why do you think he's leading by such an overwhelming margin?

Answer: I think Donald Trump is an entertainer. And I think he says what's on a lot of people's minds. But I think that the Republican Party should be absolutely terrified of all the attention that he is taking from incredible candidates like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush who could absolutely do the job of president of the United States. If I were a Republican, I'd absolutely be terrified of that.
 
Analysis: A little too close to the Trump question, and lost her poise.  Passion is great, but this is a time for restraint and grace.  (Very hard to do under the stage lights, on television, with $50K and a world of opportunities on the line.)


3rd RU - Louisiana

April Nelson, Miss Louisiana
 
Evening Gown: More white.  Love the detail on the hem, very Lazaro.

Talent: Vocal, Climb Every Mountain. Solid performance. Did not go off pitch, but it's hard to sound like Mother Superior when you're only in your 20s.

On-Stage Question: The Black Lives Matter movement grew as a reaction to unarmed African Americans being killed by police. Now there are voices raised who call it a hate group and think it should be called 'All Lives Matter.' What do you think?

Answer: I believe that black lives matter, all lives matter. It shouldn't matter what we base our labels on. Everybody matters. And I think that we can stop all of the violence with police brutality with body cameras and making sure that all of our policemen are trained and ready to go into the field. Every life matters!
 
Analysis: Did not answer the question, whether it was for fear of choosing a side or unfamiliarity / unpreparedness, and it cost her.


2nd RU - Colorado
 
Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado


Evening Gown: Kelley is a 6'1" goddess.  Red, deep V-neck satin mermaid with a MAJESTIC 4-5' flowing train. You could feel the barometric pressure drop in Boardwalk Hall.

Talent: Original monologue.  When you perform a non-traditional talent like this, you have to get the audience's attention and then move them in some way.  By discussing unsung nurses and the heartwrenching effects of Alzheimer's disease, she grabbed the judges' (and America's) attention and has yet to let go. #NursesUnite

On-Stage Question: The Treasury wants to put the face of a woman on the $10 bill, beside Alexander Hamilton. Which woman should get that honor, and you tell me why.

Answer: The person that I would put on the $10 dollar bill is Ellen DeGeneres. I think that woman is so amazing. Not only is she kind, not only is she intelligent, not only is her entire platform speaking tolerance and equality for all, and kindness — but she is able to be funny without insulting someone, and I think that is an incredible feat. Thank you.

Analysis: WHAT? SERIOUSLY?! This question has been asked at EVERY PAGEANT THIS YEAR, from minor systems to Miss USA, and she seriously just said Ellen DeGeneres?  To be fair, she DID back up her stance with a confident and positive opinion on the matter, which I think saved her from falling out of the top 5.  (Had she said Frances Perkins, the crown just might have been hers.)


1st RU - Mississippi
 
Hannah Roberts, Miss Mississippi


Evening Gown: White embellished lace top, satin A-line skirt. Very nice choice.

Talent: Violin.  Fiendishly difficult piece, too bad it sounded like one of her strings was not quite in tune. (Reports from pageant attendees state that everyone sounded great "in the room", so maybe it was just my TV.)

On-Stage Question: Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was jailed for defying the Supreme Court's order to issue same-sex marriage licenses. She claims the order violates her religious freedom. Does it?

Answer: It absolutely does not violate her religious freedom. That is her job that she was voted into doing, and that law is a federal law throughout the rest of the country. So, yes, she did violate the law there. Thank you.
 
Analysis: The question was about where the line in the sand needs to be drawn between religious freedom and doing your job, regardless of the law.  She didn't answer it, and I wonder if she fully understood it.  In the end, her confidence and conciseness won the day.


MISS AMERICA 2016 - Georgia

Betty Cantrell, Miss Georgia


Evening Gown: 2 piece white.  Off-the-shoulder top with 3/4 sleeves, mermaid skirt. Gutsy choice.  I didn't like it, but I can understand why she chose it. 

Talent: Opera. DAMN. From an opera singer, I can only say DAMN.  Breathtaking.  That is all.

On-Stage Question: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady [applause] was suspended for his part in the so-called Deflategate scandal, then reinstated by the courts. Legalities aside, did Tom Brady cheat?

Answer: Did he cheat. That's a really good question. I'm not sure. I think I'd have to be there to see the ball and feel it and make sure it was deflated or not deflated. But if there was question there? Then yes, I think he cheated. If there was any question to be had, I think that he definitely cheated and there and I think he should have been suspended for that. That's not fair.
 
Analysis: The question seriously flummoxed her, and you could see the frustration in her eyes.  She even said in the press conference that she thought she had bombed the question, because she is not a football fan and was taken by surprise.  Frankly, everyone wants to see Brady and the Pats taken down a notch, so any answer sort of in the "Yes" category was going to be well-received. She was also likely to be so far ahead of the competition after evening gown and talent that she would have had to completely bomb and someone else (Colorado) would have had to rock to change the outcome.




The crown is yours, Betty.  Make us all proud!






DISCLAIMER: These are just my impressions, thoughts, and opinions, and are not intended to denigrate in any way the hard work that these awesome women have put in to this effort.  They are all still sister queens, and have earned all of the applause that they rightly deserve.

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