It’s an incredible year to be Miss America!

Your new Miss America thinks 2009 is a great year, partly because, hey hey, SHE became Miss America on Saturday. She said so during her first, post-victory news conference:

"What an incredible year it is. We have a brand new president. The very first African-American president — and he was just inaugurated several days ago — and now I’m Miss America! What a fun year! What an exciting year!"

Several people in the pressroom thought Katie Stam of Indiana was elevating her title to that of the president’s ("and now I’m Miss America!").

Stam probably doesn’t think she’s as important as the president. She’s young. She’s not used to talking to the national press. But it says a lot about the Miss America Pageant, shown live on the TLC cable network, that her victory and statements caused no stir at all in the media.

As Entertainment Weekly put it in an online headline on Sunday, after she was crowned at Planet Hollywood: "Miss America — does anyone care?"

Sure, people care. The Miss America Pageant cares. TLC cares. Whole rows of pageant devotees cared enough to fly to Las Vegas, wear buttons that read "Miss Virginia is Tara-iffic," and to hold up signs of provincialism, like "Michigan," as if they were Miss America delegates.

But not a lot of other Americans care about Miss America anymore. The contest was passé by the 1980s. On Saturday, the pageant tried to zest up, with pop-hip-hop, mirrored backgrounds, red velvet drapes, and cameramen who followed the tall-shoed women’s butts in bikinis.

But the set was a little strip club-y. And for large parts of the show, those "girls" came off as well-heeled anachronisms.

I was sitting in the 12th row near two Miss Americas: Kaye Lani Rae Rafko from 1988 and Susan Powell from 1981. Scores of people in the crowd got in free as seat fillers, for TV effect. Rafko asked a seat filler if he would swap seats with Powell, so the two former Miss Americas could sit together.

"YOU ask her," the seat filler told Rafko, apparently not recognizing her, then he sat down like a rude bastard.

When contestants were introduced on stage, they tried to personalize their locales by declaring what their states are known for. Miss Georgia said her state is the proud home to Usher, the singer. Miss Minnesota said her state is home to Best Buy. Miss Connecticut: home to the first hamburger.

And Miss Texas? She described her people as heavenward, as she cut the line of the night: "The bigger the hair, the closer to God."

But these rivals’ hairdos weren’t big, like they were in the past. Quite a few Misses were not the usual stereotype of perfect teeth and perky ta-ta’s. Today’s contestants include scads of A-cups, big noses, squinched-up faces, five-heads instead of foreheads, and most looked short.

I’m not saying that in a mean, critical way. I’m saying, as celebrity culture has become even more focused on big boobs, invisible noses and anime faces, contestants in this "scholarship pageant" have become more normal.

Their stage parents got screamed at. The guy who put finalists’ parents in certain seats, so they could be filmed easier on TV, referred to them by their state, yelling at them like this: "Alabama! Let’s go!" which meant the parents of Miss Alabama needed to rush and sit. "Iowa! Let’s go!"

It was all odd and fairly unremarkable. In the past 12 months, I have seen the Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest and Miss America. Miss America didn’t seem so different, except it adds a weak "talent" portion that doesn’t reflect the final outcome well.

Miss Indiana sung the God song "Via Dolorosa" ("Way of Suffering") in a semi-pop-opera style of mediocre caliber. Stam was probably the fourth-best talent of the Top 10. And she was given one question, a softball: Are athletes role models? Duh.

Maybe the judges, ranging from an Olympic gold swimmer to a hairdresser, were impressed with Stam’s speaking skills, cheery and politicianlike. Or maybe God intervened. Stam struggled with throat illnesses earlier in the week, and she overcame.

"Hopefully, as you can all see, I’m a very, very Christian person. And I just believe that God doesn’t give you anything that you can’t handle."

Oh, really? Go tell it on the mountain of cancer wards.

"I just lifted up my hands in prayer, and I said, ‘I give it to You. Your will be done. If this is meant to be, it will be. And if it’s not, I’m OK with that,’" Stam said. "And you know what? I can talk. I’m here. And now I’m Miss America. I got to sing a song for Him tonight up on stage, and I hope He shone through me."

Thank you, God, for I know many people request Your presence in plague- and war-infested armpits of starvation around the world and on Fremont Street, and You have Arizona Cardinals fans requesting miracles, but it is a far, far better thing to have lifted up the fourth-most talented, top-five cutest girl of the top 10 at the Miss America Pageant to victory over other God-fearing women in the same contest, because 2009 is a very exciting year indeed.

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

ad-high_impact_4
News
A record breaking donation of nearly $9 million to Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada
A record breaking donation of property valued at nearly $9 million was made to the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada by the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal. @bizutesfaye
Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christmas Tree Inspection
Nevada Division of Forestry employees search for illegally harvested Christmas trees in local lots during the holidays. (Michael Scott Davidson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead in a suspected DUI crash in east Las Vegas
The crash was reported just before 4:10 a.m. at Washington and Eastern avenues.
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like