Miss America Reality Check: Four Of Four Plus Pageant

In the fourth and final episode of Miss America Reality Check, it was the ladies' last chance to get noticed before the Miss America Pageant. After being gathered together on their final morning there, Michael told them that they would be working on the talent portion. Really, it wasn't all that. The teams would be competing to see who could perform under pressure and sing lyrics to famous American anthems -- no vocal ability required.

The teams were lined up on stage with one person from their team out front. Michael, dressed as a constructor in a black tuxedo, would point to one of those ladies to finish the next line of the song. If they were wrong, they would be eliminated. If they were correct, they could get back in line and wait for their next turn. The team with the last person standing would win. Miss Virginia was the first girl out by missing a line from the "Star-Spangled Banner." Miss Utah was eliminated on an "America" line. Eventually, it came down to Miss Pennsylvania and South Dakota with South Dakota ultimately winning for her red team.

After some chitchat between the girls concerning the "it" factor they were looking for in the new Miss America, the teams were gathered up again by Michael and told that this was their last day there. They would have one final chance to impress the advisory board. How's that? They would have to get fancied up, walk the red carpet, and answer questions from the reporters (who were really the advisory board members themselves).

Inside, the girls were met by various Hollywood designers and racks full of dresses and evening gowns. After everybody had chosen their eveningwear; they went to work doing their hair and makeup. Jeannie, a member of the advisory board, evidently felt so sorry for Miss Washington that she stepped in and showed the girl how to poof up her hair a little. The ladies were all very excited and a little nervous about how well they'd be able to set themselves apart from the others.

After learning that the red carpet was at the villa itself (bummer!), they were introduced to the fake reporters and fake photographers in different groups. I thought they all looked great and did surprisingly well considering the vanilla questions asked of them. What makes you better than so and so? Who is most deserving of the title? How has your haircut changed you? What is the greatest challenge for young women today? Who are you wearing? (Ooops! Miss Rhode Island forgot whom she was wearing.) When it was over and done with, the ladies made a group exit from the house and were told that the advisory board would now meet to determine the top three. There would be no bottoms tonight!

The girls paced around, gossiped, and ate while the advisory board got together and did their thing. Mark thought it was nice to hear from the girls tonight but was disappointed that Miss Rhode Island didn't remember the designer she was wearing. All three of the advisors thought that Miss Florida did a great job and seemed much more confident even without all of her makeup. Dina liked Miss Alaska's spunkiness; Mark thought Miss Indiana was smokin' hot; and Jeannie loved Miss Michigan's answers on the red carpet. The three of them also said that they noticed Miss New Mexico for the first time and that she looked stunning. They ended their discussion with Miss Washington and how she's taken all of the advice that she's been given in this process and was amazing.

Michael gathered the ladies for one final time and wished everybody luck. He told them that the advisory board had chosen three of them as the ones who have embraced the new vision of Miss America the most. But first, he would call ten states forward as finalists: Miss Indiana, South Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, Alaska, Washington, District of Columbia, and Minnesota were the ones called to the front. It was now time to announce the top three. Each of them would go home with a $10,000 scholarship and a shopping spree from ShopIntuition.com.

The first lady called was Miss Washington. She was so shocked she thought there might have been a mistake made. Jeannie told her that she caught their attention when was at the bottom of the list because she was so boring but that they were proud of her turning things around.

The second lady called was Miss Indiana. Mark told her that beauty is one thing on the outside but that you're only beautiful on the outside when you embrace the beauty within you. He believed that she'd embraced that and had let her soul shine through. While crying, she said that believes in herself now.

The final lady called was Miss New Mexico. She was shocked more than the other two girls by far! Dina told her that she'd come a long way by making physical changes but that she'd also let her personality finally be known. She said she was happy to represent her state and excited to have the opportunity to get her doctorate's degree.

As the three girls hugged each other, Michael told everybody that they were all winners and that he'd see them in Vegas.

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As all of you know, I've been following this Miss America Reality Check show since it first started and was quite excited about it. This week's final episode wasn't all that but it wasn't going to stop me from watching the Miss America pageant for myself and seeing whether or not any changes had actually taken place.

The pageant was indeed different. The ladies were introduced according to their team on the show before being cut down to the 15 (make that 16) semi-finalists. The semi-finalists were: Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington, Arkansas, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Mississippi, and finally, Utah, via the viewer's choice vote. For those of you that followed the Reality Check show, how many times did we see some of these women? Do you recall seeing California or Texas even once?

I did think it was cute how the ladies not chosen were placed on grandstands on one side of the stage; but how many times did we have to hear the stupid announcer remind people that there were carbohydrates over there? It was funny the first couple of times but not after that. I thought it was interesting that Miss Utah was the only lady that chose to wear a one-piece in the swimsuit portion but I felt her choice was a little too grannyish.

The next ladies eliminated were: Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Utah, and South Carolina. It was funny how Miss Utah dropped and began doing push-ups after she was called out and even funnier how most of the others dropped and did them with her. The eveningwear portion was utterly boring and some of those gowns were downright hideous. The talent portion was even harder to watch. Show tunes, opera, and Latino singing performances -- what a combination. Weird jazz and ballet dance routines? Gag!

The eight finalists remaining for the question-and-answer period were: California, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Snoozer! Those had to have been some of the stupidest questions I'd ever heard and even stupider answers to boot! Can you say softball and politically correct? Bleh.

The fourth runner-up was North Carolina, the third runner-up was Virginia, the second runner-up was Washington, and the first runner-up was Indiana. Either California, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Texas would become Miss America 2008. And drum roll please....

The winner was Miss Michigan. She was happy and I was tired. While the show started off with some promise, it quickly became just as bland as it had always been. I'd say my chances of watching the 2009 Miss America pageant are back to almost nil.

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HamsterDame's blogs: Silly Reality and Silly Hamsters.