by Derrick Lee for Critical Beauty
This year's Miss USA Pageant was an amazing experience! The time the pageant family spent in Las Vegas over that entire weekend (June 1-3, 2012) was nothing less than electric! It's always a pleasure to get to do this once a year and come together for the one thing that we all have in common. So with that in mind, let's recap some of the highlights of the events, shall we?
The die-hard pageant fans got up early after a night of partying just to come down to see the dress rehearsal. Trust me, it was a long night because so many of us looked a hot mess! Hair was lookin' cray on a few girls like they were taking the walk of shame, child. They're lucky the cameras weren't on them. But anyway, the dress rehearsal began. It went pretty well. Most people feel being called into the Top 16 during rehearsals is the "kiss of death." The only one it seems to have brought luck to was Jazz Wilkins, Miss Georgia USA. She was 3rd-runner up during rehearsals. The announcement of Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality was pre-recorded during dress rehearsal for the final telecast. The girls were pretty unanimous when Miss Iowa USA - Rebecca Hodge was chosen as Miss Congeniality. She was pretty cool onstage, poking fun at Andy Cohen. The girls even chanted "Iowa" before the envelope was opened. There weren't even glitches during dress rehearsal, with one exception. Akon did perform his song, "America's Most Wanted" and kinda tripped on the steps. But he recovered very well. The girls in the audience went wild. I think they kinda like him! Well, on to the Miss USA Red Carpet!
MISS USA RED CARPET
On the red carpet for Miss USA for Critical Beauty was so much fun! I had the pleasure of working alongside Venezuela's own, J*Lu and we definitely got some great camera shots and interviews with the judging panel. Our favorite on the carpet was Kelly Osbourne! She sent a shout-out to Critical Beauty!!! Holla! We also considered her our best dressed on the red carpet. You can view the photos here on the Critical Beauty website. Someone seriously needs to hire a new stylist for Rob Kardashian. He not only looked like he was out of place, but he looked straight up wretched! Boy, you're at Miss USA! Get it together. He looked a hot ass mess. Suit was two sizes too short. Keep it movin'! Alright y'all. Let's start the show!
The opening of the pageant was met with mixed reviews. Gone are the days when the girls announced themselves and we got to see them shake what there mamas gave them. This time around, we got a fashion show by none other than - you guessed it - Sherri Hill. What a shocker! We got to see A Day at the Races, Silver and Gold, Glam Rock, Champagne Eleganza and Debutante collections. Fails in my opinion were A Day at the Races and the Debutantes. It wasn't pageant-like and made the girls look older. One change from dress rehearsal was the tiaras were removed from the girls’ heads from the Debutante collections. My favorites were Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and New York!
Top 16 Announcement
What a Top 16! I think the judges and the MUO got it right, pretty much. There were a few surprises for me. Those girls being South Carolina and the fan vote, Arkansas. I was disappointed with the elimination of Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana and Virginia. I was for sure that they were in. This is one of those years where a Top 20 like in 2006 for Miss Universe was needed. But overall, it was a great group of girls. Now one of the things that you don't get to see is the reactions from the audience. I sat right in from of Team South Dakota. Taylor's little sister broke my heart when her big sister didn't make it. She broke down in tears right in front of me. I assured her that her sister did an amazing job, but there's only 16 spots. It's hard. But that's what happens. Not everyone can win.
Cobra Starship! Ok, moving right along..... yeah, WTF! There could have been so many other options, so whoever chose this act needs to lay off the cray cray juice! .....can anyone say OH!-klahoma!! Lauren was on fire! For me, she killed it. And I love, love, love the bangs!! Other standouts were Maryland - no surprise there! Colorado has so much sabor it's ridic. And I was surprised that Georgia didn't turn up the volume. She was very safe, yet beautiful. I was pleased with the 10 that advanced. Good job, judges! My only surprise was Miss Michigan USA getting cut!
I loved this portion of the competition! The fire, the music of Ellie Goulding ... it was fab! Now let's about talk the gowns:
- ALABAMA - aka "Venezuelaaaaaaaa!" She looked amazing. Had to be the "1st one up" curse. her performance was flawless. What happened?
- OKLAHOMA - Why wasn't there a Top 6? She rocked it. Loved the bun. So exotic. She could have killed at Universe.
- OHIO - The school bus was in full force! From where we were sitting, that gown looked amazing. The wind picked it up and she looked so regal.
- TEXAS - So disappointed with the gown that she wore. Did you see what she wore when she won her state pageant? This was a downgrade. Sorry, it was a FAIL!
- GEORGIA - She managed to champion those steps!! LOL! Kudos to Jazz! Her gown was similar to the one she wore when she won her state pageant. Nonetheless, she was SICK'NING!
- COLORADO - I love me some Marybel. The red suited her perfectly. I just wished we worked it just a little bit more and gave some drama in the face.
- NEW JERSEY - The girl that can snap turn in a gown wins over my heart. She did have a bit of a slip-up but she recovered very well.
- MARYLAND - Nana looked like a goddess. She flowed and it was perfection. Snd how she walked down those steps - LOVED IT! 9.999!
- RHODE ISLAND - Absolutely beautiful! That pop of color looked great on Olivia. She's just so damn cute!
- NEVADA - Was that one of the gowns used during the Fadil shoot? nonetheless, Jade served! And that look into the camera at the end, SOLD!
The Top 5 was right on! Thumbs up, judges. They're actually pretty good at this!
Now, here are my thoughts on the Final Question : Why are they not asked the same question? I just don't find it fair, because some of the questions that end up in the bowl are just stupid. Then you get questions like Rhode Island's that are really, really good. Olivia nailed that question and I would have loved to have heard all five finalists answer that one. But the girls answered them all exceptionally!
Can I take him home? He's just like a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar. Chyle! ....ooh, let me stop! - Ha! This was a good idea. I really enjoyed it better than a final walk. Nana and Akon looked like an actual couple having a blast! They had the most chemistry.
Okay, so here was my prediction:
- 4th runner-up : GEORGIA
- 3rd runner-up : OHIO
- 2nd runner-up : NEVADA
- 1st runner-up : RHODE ISLAND
- Miss USA : MARYLAND
CONGRATULATIONS TO OLIVIA CULPO, MISS USA 2012!
Until next year, I'm Derrick Lee. ***Glitter Bombs and Electricity… and good pageantry. PLAY FAIR!***