Friday, June 15, 2007

Abby’s Take on Preliminary Night Three

Technical errors plagued me and many others trying to watch the Miss Ohio webcast on last night. After telling a few interested friends and even an online news writer from my home county of Mercer (where Miss Lake Festival, Erica Gelhaus is also from) that they could watch last nights prelim live and Tuesday and Wednesday’s shows as archives for FREE, I was mortified to find a “paypal” icon glaring back at me when I logged on at 7:28! Luckily, the online news writer didn’t publish the information I had given him. I decided to go ahead and pay the $5 charge but I was not taken to the webcast. It all became very frustrating and very confusing but luckily I found refuge from a place that normally gets a bad rap- an anonymous message board. Several others were having the same problem and someone finally posted a working link. I have emailed officials and will hopefully have more information and answers about the webcast soon.

As for the show itself… I watched with my friend Jeff, who is not at all a pageant person, but yet, an interested observer of many forms of entertainment. He was not so impressed with the production, as it’s just not the kind of show a man in their late 20s enjoys. He shared the criticism that folks from across the country have expressed on a nation message board, that being, the little girls “lost in the TV” thing just doesn’t make sense. I handed him my program book, saying “read this, it helps.” He said, “Abby, do we really need a libretto to watch a pageant?” Ouch. Point well made.

The theme aside, I have to defend the performers, vocalists Shanon Woodward, Shana Teel and Emily Fitzpatrick are very good, as well as fiddle/violin player Dr. Laura Schumann. The rebel in me loves this photo of the quick onstage change during the opening number! (It’s funny because the contestants are strictly forbidden to “disrobe” during the Talent competition.)

The Contestants

As usual, all the ladies looked lovely in Evening Gown, but I have to admit I was a little under whelmed last night. The contestants looked beautiful, but I’m just so bored with some of the designs that we’ve seen a million times; I can’t wait for the designers to take a new direction! My friend Jeff liked the simplicity of Alyssa Hanson’s gown and admitted to being partial to white. Although the gown style is nothing new, I was impressed by Kristen Haas, and I am honestly not just saying that because I crowned her, I barely know the girl. I’m impressed because she is so tiny, I mean TINY, therefore she has to work three times as hard as everyone else to “own” the stage and not get swallowed up by it and I think she’s really doing that this year.

Talent last night felt like the battle of the Broadway divas! Ultimately Nanciann Strosnider won the prelim award for her very controlled rendition of “Happy Days are Here Again.” Because of her placement (last) and her very smooth and deliberate delivery she was my friend Jeff’s pick to win. I agreed “Fany-pants,” as we call her, did a great job, but Loren and I were pulling for my good friend Lauren Hogan. I had not seen her perform her new talent, “My Strongest Suit” from Aida prior to last night and I was blown away! It’s quite a contrast to “I Could Have Danced All Night” which she sang at locals. I thought she did a great job, and surely scored high. Being the only tap dancer in the competition, I’m sure Jillian Dansko’s fun routine also stood out to the judges.

Last night I abstained from selected a Swimsuit winner, as it was a very tough flight, much tougher than I thought it would be. Again, I think Swimsuit is the hardest thing to determine while watching online; Tuesday was also a great Swimsuit flight, but being there in person made it easy to narrow down. When forced to choose, Loren said Becky Minger, although he later clarified that a positive reaction he made via instant message was for Heather Lindsay, who ended up winning. By the time I noticed his message I thought it was about the next woman onstage, Christie Youssef. That’s not meant to be negative toward Christie, she ended up being my friend Jeff’s pick. I though Erica Gelhaus possibly had a chance to be a double preliminary winner, since she was already on the judges radar, and for the record, I’d give anything to have leg definition like Kasey Wilson!

Finally, in Onstage Question, I felt Jessica Barrett did a great job of explaining a very tangible aspect of her platform issue. So often women’s platforms and the questions they are asked about them lean toward ideals, emotions or theories, it was nice to hear someone talk about something practical; she actually informed the audience about something. Allie Krucek always presents herself solidly and even thought I think she ran out of time, I loved the passion Emily Cousino had. Like Jessica, she spoke directly, drawing a strong parallel between the requirement on fire extinguishers to the need for portable deliberators.

The night ended with the presentation of several awards, in addition to the Talent and Swimsuit Preliminaries. ***This post is still under construction, check back soon for the list of winners. ***

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