Miss America Reality Check -- I Checked it Out...

By: Gay.com

Shakespearean-trained "Ugly Betty" cutie Michael Urie shows he isn't above making a buck, and so here we find him hosting a bizarre new reality show on TLC aimed at re-vamping the Miss America pageant's image. Frankly, I liked the direction former Miss USA Tara Connor was taking pageants...girl was keepin' it real.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, but from what I've gathered so far, TLC has gone and captured all 52 state representatives and put them up in the generic realtity-TV mansion somewhere in Arizona. The girls have been divided into teams with clever names like, "The Recent Contenders" and "Always a Bridesmaid". Could these names be less enthusiastic? Why not just "Can't Lose Those Last 5 Pounds" and "Lifetime Movie Network Addicts".

I find the show interesting but confusing. Interesting in that the idea of the show is to break these girl/woman creatures of their propensity toward hairspray, sequins and pre-recorded talking points. Doubtful a 4-week series can really change the pancaked-face of the pageant, but whatever, go for it. Some of these 19 year olds really do need to hear that they look 45.

Confusing, because at first, I didn't think these girls were really "the" contestants" - they just didn't all seem to have that "X" factor - but they are, and the winner of this show will gain automatic entry into the final round of the Miss America Pageant.  Adding to my confusion is the scoring segment of the show, during which the panel of celebrity judges (what a great gig these people have...it's the same faces over and over again) rank the Top 3 and the Bottom 3 contestants. There was no explanation of this ranking system - did the judges score each of the 52 girls?? Please, they can hardly keep from rolling their eyes at the girls' hair and makeup long enough to score them on "sportsmanship". And if the judges are just picking a Top 3 and a Bottom 3 at random, do these rankings have any bearing going into the next competition? Is this whole competition....a SHAM? Gasp. Yawn.

Whatever. It's only 4 episodes long, and some of the hair and makeup IS entertaining.  Not to mention their "controversial" dinner conversation, during which they all pretended to be virgins. There's a really butch girl from Utah who is beautiful but apparently doesn't know how to do make-up (how did she make it to be Miss Utah in the first place?) And Miss Vermont is like the girl from "Napolean Dynamite" with her hair let out of that painful side ponytail. And while I do like the Miss America pageant for all it's stuck-in-a-time-warp glamour and ensuing girl-on-girl coke-binge scandal, there is something encouraging about ushering these girls into the new century. Who knows, maybe they'll even get rid of the bathing suit competition....yeah, right.

The show isn't as painful as these confessionals, but it'll give you a taste...don't miss Miss Georgia talking to the wall instead of the video camera.

Image courtesy Discovery Network