Thursday, December 20, 2007

Miss America "Reality Check" Synopsis from TLC

We knew the Miss America contestants spent a week in LA filming a four epsiode reality show for TLC and today the network released a synopsis of each episode... You will find my opinions between each episode...
Let me warn you, I'm in a mood, I seem to be coming down with something and I'm not sorry for my opinions. :)

Episode One: Premieres January 4, 10 PM (ET/PT)
The premiere episode begins when the 52 state winners arrive at the mansion in full pageant regalia – dresses, sashes and crowns. Immediately they meet their host Michael Urie who delivers the painful news that Miss America is perceived as being outdated in contemporary society. Quickly crushed, their hopes are restored when they discover that TLC is giving Miss America a makeover! Everything the girls have spent their entire lives training for is about to change.

Through a series of events and challenges, the girls will be retrained with the new criteria for Miss America and be put to the test. This is meant to revolutionize not only their look, but the whole package – their attitude, how they carry themselves and the way they relate to the everyday world. Their first challenge…Stacy and Clinton from WHAT NOT TO WEAR arrive to riffle through their bags looking for fashion mistakes. They will give the girls advice that will let them know what’s in store: becoming Miss America means becoming a modern “IT” girl. This look will need to carry through to Miss America Live! To help them through their transformation is the expert Advisory Board comprised of celebrity photographer Mark Liddell, celebrity stylist Jeannie Mai and US Weekly’s West Coast editor Dina Sansing.

This first episode will be telling for the advisors of how far these girls have to go. It won’t be easy to chip off the makeup, get the girls to dump the hairspray bottles and ditch the canned “world peace” answers, but the advisors will be there every step of the way to evaluate their progress. Before the games begin, the girls are split into six groups. Their first challenge is Americas Challenge, a physical challenge to test their teamwork and knowledge of America geography through a series of obstacle courses and puzzles. Next, they attend a dinner party to discuss relevant, controversial topics that would stir the pot in any crowd. At the end, the girls face the Advisory Board for the first time. To the girls’ surprise, they are ranked in the top and bottom according to who is embracing the changes and who is still resisting. The judges at Miss America Live! will be looking for the girl who embodies the new image of Miss America, so this should serve as a warning for the girls who aren’t getting on board.

I have to begin by saying I love What Not to Wear’s Stacy and Clinton; many pageant fans had hoped they’d be the pageant’s hosts, but this will surely be more entertaining! Aside from that I have a huge problem with the picture the paragraphs above and commercial are painting. “ ...delivers the painful news that Miss America is perceived as being outdated in contemporary society. Quickly crushed, their hopes are restored when they discover that TLC is giving Miss America a makeover!” Are you kidding? It’s not shocking or "crushing" news to anyone, least of all the contestants, that Miss America is in a slump. But it’s not the contestants fault. Let me repeat that: it’s not the contestant’s fault. I can’t stand the idea that a miracle makeover from TLC can fix everything when the problem lies with a lack of year-round publicity and modern leadership at every level of the program. I am happy that TLC is airing and promoting the pageant, but it is unfortunate that in doing so it seems they will be embarrassing and belittling the contestants.

Episode Two: Premieres January 11, 10 PM (ET/PT)
Episode two begins with Are You Smarter Than a Miss USA Girl, the poolside trivia challenge that is about being intelligent…and looking good in a bathing suit while doing it! The challenge ends with each eliminated woman jumping into the pool where their hair and makeup are wiped clean in preparation for their one-on-one beauty consultations.

Bye-bye hairspray and caked on makeup! The girls are surprised by two very special guests – celebrity hair-stylist Kim Vo and makeup guru Napoleon Perdis, who give each woman a one-on-one “prescription” for fixing their outdated looks. There’s no picking and choosing, either they take all or none of the advice. Those who choose to redo their “winning pageant looks” are immediately transformed for new headshots. Those who don’t are left wondering whether they made the right decision. Finally, the girls meet with the advisory board to find out if their
bold makeover will pay off or if they didn’t go far enough, as they are ranked in the top or bottom.

I have two big problems with this. First, “Are You Smarter Than a Miss USA Girl?” The concept is fine, it’s very America’s Most Smartest Model, which was a cute reality show that just wrapped on VH1, but to continue to foster a rivalry between the two pageant systems with that name is unnecessary, and frankly, classless. More women than ever have competed in both, including our Miss Ohio, Roberta Camp. Second, this line angers me, “…give each woman a one-on-one “prescription” for fixing their outdated looks.” Again, they’re trying to sell the idea that all 52 contestants are helpless and style-less.

It’s widely known that many states do not offer much support or recourses to their contestant; at the local and state level the directors are often sweet, well meaning people who do not have any actual fashion sense or awareness of current trends. So free style tips are probably welcome by many of the women. I, however, cannot help but think of their emotions in the midst of all this… It’s all the little tedious aspects of preparing for a pageant that can eventually break you, so I can’t imagine being pressured to cut your hair, or change the color with a camera in your face! I’m assuming it’s similar to the makeover episode on America’s Next Top Model. It’s emotional! The difference is that those girls can trust Tyra Banks, whereas Miss America is in a state of flux. Are the contestants guaranteed that the pageant judges will all understand and follow TLC’s new criteria? Or, would they be better off to keep doing what has worked for them? Will their E.D. be upset with them? Are these stylist considering stage hair and makeup or daily appearance wear?... I'm getting a really bad vibe about the situation this reality show put the contestants in.

Episode Three: Premieres January 18, 10 PM (ET/PT)
Episode three is all about fashion, baby! The hour begins with The Ultimate Balancing Act, a challenge that tests the girls on their confidence and adaptability as they traverse across a balance beam in a race to the finish.

Head up, shoulders back and work it, girl. Now that the women have the look, can they carry it? An expert walking coach teaches the girls to work it like they are going down a runway in Paris. And now that the Miss America hopefuls know how to move their bodies, they get a quick lesson in how to dress it! A celebrity designer teaches them how to accentuate the good and disguise the, shall we say, not so good. Finally, they put what they learned to the test in the Little Black Dress challenge. At the end, the girls face the Advisory Board to find out who ranked in the top and who ranked in the bottom. There isn’t much time left, so the girls will have to decide how important it is to them to be the last woman standing on that stage on January 26.

Okay, I don't actually have a problem with anything in the episode three synopsis, but the ladies do look pretty silly in the photos... It doesn't make sense that a show trying to increase their beauty and appeal would put them in such awful outfits!

Episode Four: Premieres January 25, 10PM (ET/PT)
In the final episode, the Miss America contenders are put to the test … they’ve survived “it girl” boot camp and now it’s time to see what they’ve learned. First, their stage presence is put to the test when they compete in the Don’t Forget America Lyrics challenge, where the girls are put on the spot to recite the lyrics to American anthems. But this isn’t about who can carry a tune, it’s about showmanship and captivating your audience no matter what your talent. After the challenge, they receive advice from several music industry professionals. And their last challenge is the most difficult, the Red Carpet Walk. The girls have to apply everything they’ve learned thus far about hair, makeup, walking the runway and dressing the part. The paparazzi will be waiting to snap away while the advisory board asks the tough questions Miss America needs to be prepared to answer. This is the ultimate test of the whole package and in the end, the advisory board will award an amazing prize package to the top three girls who embraced the changes and truly capture the look, attitude and personality of the new Miss America. These girls are the ones to watch at the finale.

I really like the Red Carpet challenge, and while I feel sorry for non-singers, I’m sure Roberta did fabulous with the National Anthem.

I really don’t know why this is striking me the wrong way; I was very happy when Miss America moved to TLC and the idea of a four episode series is wonderful, but the tone they are taking seems to be very negative toward the women who have obviously done something right to get where they are! My friend Jeff made a great comparison- it’s funny for the Oscars to poke fun at itself for always running overtime, but the mocking attitude of the Reality Check commercial makes Miss America just look desperate. It seems as thought they're trying to draw in a new audience by making the contestants out to be fashion charity cases, with no concern for alienating current fans and contestants.

For over 50 photos from the show CLICK HERE.

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