Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Abby’s Take on Preliminary Night One

First of all, it was so great to see my Miss Ohio family again. I stayed with the same family and had the same chaperone all five years; thank you again Brenda, Terry and Ginny. I miss you! This year they have Miss Maumee Valley Kristen Haas and Miss Hamilton Heather Lindsay. It was also great to see Paige, my favorite junior assistant and her dad, Jim, of the stage crew. I wanted to say “hey” to all the crew, but I know they had a long day, with more work to do after the show to prepare for the next…

I was surprised at how quickly the theatre cleared out after the show, but I did get to briefly chat with a few of my readers. I’m glad everyone is logging on and enjoying! The realization of how popular my blog is does make me a bit hesitant to share my opinions… Just keep in mind that I don’t mean to offend anyone; these are just my humble opinions, on my personal blog.

The Show

Opening night is always hard, and I have to say, we were a bad audience; we didn’t give the performers or contestants much to feed off! The show opens with a Cirque de sole style miming clown, who then helps the contestants up the stairs from the middle isle. The ladies don’t introduce themselves live, but rather a pre-recorded video plays on the large onstage screen. I like the concept, and I’m a bit jealous, as that’s something I would have done well, but the ladies just walk across the stage and wave while their video plays. I feel bad for the contestants who have to exit stage right, thus barley giving them time to make eye contact with the judges.

I really enjoyed the Dreamgirls opening, as well as a tap dance number in which two dancers performed the same routine as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (I think); the video of the Hollywood legends played on the screen behind them. Later in the show a singer, electric fiddle player and tap dancers performed a high energy country number. In my opinion, the dancers red costumes with white fringe and blue detailing were hideous and I just can’t stand country music, especially hoe-down style. But, I can’t deny that they were all fantastic. The gentleman could sing, the dancers were great and the fiddle player was outstanding! That was followed by what some will surely call the “infamous” “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” number. I thought it was cute. None of the women dressed too scandalously, although there were a few who probably should not have shown their midriff. I’m not opposed to doing so; Melanie and I both did for last years' production numbers, I’m just saying some women looked great, while others should only show that when they have to in Swimsuit competition. Also, some women did not wear boots and those with them looked cuter.

The other production number is simply a walking pattern in which the ladies wear a spare evening gown. That means the only dance routine the contestants had to learn was for “These boots…” I am so jealous! On behalf of the contestants, thank you to whoever made that decision! Another props goes out to the vocalists. Of course, I’m bias of my former Miss Ohio roomie, Emily Fitzpatrick, but I really felt she and the other entertainers delivered quality performances. The complaint I do share with others is that the show itself is rather disjointed…

Every year the Miss Ohio production seems to be a medley of songs loosely connected by a generic theme. This year the theme is more specific, but the song choices are more disjointed. The production is called “CS” for channel surfing. Throughout the night hosts Mark Schnitkey and Miss Ohio Melanie Murphy take on news personas and report that two little girls were sucked into their television by some unknown monster. The production numbers are therefore supposed to be snippets of what you would see if you’re channel surfing and between songs the two girls (played by Theresa-Ann Jedra and Justice Stanford) come on stage and do a short “bit.” Again, they’re supposed to be lost inside the TV and they joke about various reality TV shows. Some of the jokes were actually pretty funny, but I don’t think most of the audience got them. Mark and Melanie did a good job playing news reporters and I was quite impressed with Melanie’s commitment to a character for parts when she had to act. But, going from Dreamgirls, to country music to Grease just didn’t make a ton of sense unless you took the time to read the page in the program book which explains it. And while I’m on a negative rant… I hated that Evening Gown competition was put first this year. I know it was always really hard to quickly change from your gown into your interview suit for Onstage Question, but going from the excitement of the opening number into the slow music and elegance of Evening Gown competition really messes up the flow.

The Contestants

As for the ladies… Everyone looked really great and the “buzz” this year is that the competition is wide open.

Almost all the women modeled different Evening Gowns than what they had at their locals. Karissa Martin probably got the biggest reaction from me because here tan and teal gown so perfectly complimented her skin tone and hair color (although the photo below does not capture the "wow"). My boyfriend Loren liked the bold orange gowns worn by Heather Linsday and Sophia Davis. Kasey Wilson gets the award for making the audience gasp with the low back and high slit on her white gown (which I believe she wore this fall at Miss Ohio USA).

Jessica Barrett started the talent competition off strong with “Popular” from Wicked. There’s no denying that was a great song selection for her and that she is just too adorable! Allie Krucek and Kristen Haas were the only dancers in the flight and both gave good performances, but it’s hard for dancers to beat singers, especially performances like Roberta’s. Roberta Camp won the Preliminary Talent Award; she seemed to be the clear winner to most and Loren and I agreed.

Further, ‘Berta was one of the only women last night who completely embodied confidence, whereas most of the women were showing their first night jitters. I also want to mention that just as dancers do that half dance/half walking thing on and off the stage, singers also need to carry the mood of their song and/or character on and off. Don’t wait until the music starts!

Last night’s Swimsuit flight was one of the toughest I’ve seen in a while! All of the ladies really looked great. Of course, I’m partial to my friend Lauren Hogan, but Loren and I thought Andrea Andryscik would win the prelim. That honor ended up going to the first contestant in the flight, Allison West. It’s not easy to win Swimsuit in that position, but after I thought about it, I remembered that I had leaned to Loren and jealously said, “well, cellulite hasn’t found her yet, has it!?”

And, how could I almost forget, Onstage Question. I’ve never met Christie Youssef, but after hearing her speak about Domestic Violence, I understand why she’s done very well in the past at Miss California. Domestic Violence is, of course, her platform; the fact that the questions were about each women’s platform had to be a relief to the first contestant in the flight, Becky Minger. It’s hard enough to be first, but last year Becky (in the same position) was the first to field an unexpected current events question. Speaking of current events, I greatly enjoyed the humor Kasey Wilson enfused while talking about her drunk driving prevention platform and our troubled Hollywood starlets; she was really able to show her personality.

So… that’s my take… again, please don’t be mad if I didn’t mention your contestant, or if you disagree with my opinion. Best of luck to all the ladies tonight, I’ll be watching on my laptop from my super comfy couch!

While last night was a strong Swimsuit night, I’d have to say tonight’s battle will be over the Talent Award. Classically trained vocalists Erica Gelhaus, Karissa Martin and Kasey Wilson all have a great chance. As for Swimsuit, Allie Krucek, Rachel Maris and Roberta Camp are my guesses for the win.

[All the photos in this entry are by Jason J. Molyet of the Mansfield News Journal. The entire photo gallery is HERE and don't forget to check out the official Miss Ohio photographer's shots HERE.]

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