HELLO JUNKIE NATION!!!
After my whirlwind weekend in Atlantic City (and very little sleep), the only thing I wanted to do today was go to the grocery store, then change back into my jammies, and lay around all afternoon eating bon-bons.
However, my mind just won’t stop thinking about Miss America! Plus, I keep getting questions about Betty, about Vanessa, about how a double prelim winner ends up missing the Top 10… So, instead of enjoying my bon bons, I decided to get dressed, brush out my day-old pageant hair, and answer them with this post. 🙂
LET’S START WITH BETTY…
First – Junkies wanna offer a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to BETTY CANTRELL, MISS AMERICA 2016!!! We all know winning Miss America is a total crap-shoot (and PLEASE KNOW – I always use that term affectionately). As a Miss America contestant, your job is to stand out from a field of 50+ women who are at the top of their game. But I’m afraid that’s not enough – You also need to get 7 total strangers (the judges) to fall in love with you! This year, because we had a preliminary panel of judges and a completely different final night panel of judges, the odds stacked up even further against each contestant! Why? Because now, as a Miss America contestant, you need to get 14 people to fall in love with you! Not an easy feat at all!
Many Junkies also know that we didn’t have Betty in our Top 5 – But after learning a few things about her over the last couple of days, we’re kicking ourselves for not doing enough research! There are some crazy similarities between Betty and “Founding Junkie” (that’s me) that I just never knew before!
So – in the effort to “Get to know Betty a Bit Better” – Here’s our list of “Everything I wish I would’ve known about Betty Cantrell” before the Miss America competition began…
The Girl Grew Up on a Farm.
Look – I’m from Kansas. And yes, I grew up on a farm. Betty can drive a tractor and so can I! Betty didn’t have cable and neither did I! She loved watching Andy Griffith and I thought everyone watched Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley as often as they could. I had no idea we had so much in common (lol!)
Betty is Greek!
Betty’s original name is Baciliky, after her Greek grandmother (btw – Baciliky means “Royalty”). You’re going to think I’m joking, but I have a Greek grandmother too (although my sister is named after her, not me). When I learned Betty was Greek, I began to wonder if perhaps we were switched at birth (and someone added 20 years between us). It’s possible.
She Thinks Tom Brady Cheated.
Again, crazy too, because I also think Tom Brady cheated! Another uncanny similarity. Where will it end???
She’s a Phenomenal Opera Singer. Well – this is where our similarities come to a screeching halt, because Betty could pretty much sing circles around me in her sleep! During her Miss America press conference, the judges said Betty’s Talent performance gave them “goosebumps and chills” which is pretty unheard of, coming from a group of celebrity judges who make their living entertaining others. #Amazing
So – now you know everything I wish I would’ve known about Betty Cantrell… I take full responsibility for not doing adequate amounts of research on Betty prior to the competition. We picked Betty to win prelim talent on her talent night because I KNEW she could sing, but I had no clue about all these other fun things we had in common! My bad for not digging deeper and discovering the potential Miss America inside. 🙂 CONGRATS again to Betty and Team Georgia for their big win!!!
Oh – and if you’re looking for our full list of predictions, we’ll be posting them later this week 🙂
MISS IOWA LEFT OUT OF THE TOP 10
Now – Another question I keep getting has to do with Miss Iowa, Taylor Weibers, not making the Top 10. For those of you who don’t know, Taylor was a double preliminary winner at Miss America this year (which is pretty darn rare)… So I completely understand why many of you have lingering questions. I have a couple of thoughts on this one… Here they are…
Obviously, the first place I look is the fact that this year, Miss America used a two-panel system. There are several reasons why Miss America uses the 2 panel system this year… Here’s just a couple of them…
- The first panel needs to give up their whole week to serve as a judge, the second panel only needs to be there a couple of days.
- The first panel can have judges who are more “specialized” in their field of expertise, the second panel can have judges who are more “well-known” across the country for their individual fame and/or success.
- But the most important selling point of having a two panel system, is the fact that we now have 14 people’s opinions instead of just 7.
Everyone knows, the larger your sample size, the more accurate the final assessment will be. In this case, fourteen people made their selection based on their collective opinions, which allows for a greater consensus of opinion. But let me give you a thought as to what may have happened to Miss Iowa when you employ 2 panels of judges.
So, the first panel gives Taylor the prelim win for both Talent and Swimsuit on her night. There are 7 judges on the prelim panel – so for the sake of argument – let’s say all 7 loved Taylor. If that was the case, Taylor would’ve received 9’s or 10’s from each judge when she received her “composite score”. That composite score is what carries over from the prelims and is the only score a contestant has before her performance begins Sunday night.
Because Taylor only made it through the swimsuit and gown rounds of competition (not into the Talent round), I’m led to believe that all 7 prelim judges didn’t love her. Quick side note here – it’s crazy to think you can ever get ALL of the judges to agree on one contestant… especially at Miss America!!! We all have our own “personal opinions” – So to have all 7 judges agree on one contestant is kinda crazy. It RARELY ever happens!
Personally, and this is total speculation on my part, I believe 4 out of 7 judges loved Taylor. That majority (4 out of 7) gave her the prelim swimsuit and talent wins. This means Miss Iowa had a “majority” but not necessarily a “consensus” – those are two different things.
When you bring on a brand new set of judges… It’s likely that Taylor Wiebers simply didn’t have a “majority” or a “consensus” with the new judges. Maybe it’s because they weren’t in the room with her during her private interview. Maybe it’s because Taylor didn’t have the same energy on the final night that she had during the week. Maybe it’s because we’re all human and we all have different qualities that attract each of us to one another. And maybe, just maybe, out of 14 judges, Taylor still had 4 or 5 that really adored her – but it just wasn’t enough to get her into the Talent competition.
Again – I have no clue if that’s what happened or not… it’s purely speculation on my part. But it does give an explanation for how a prelim swimsuit and prelim talent winner – something that hadn’t been accomplished in 15 years at Miss America – could be left out of the Top 10.
As I said in my Newsletter yesterday, whatever the reason, it doesn’t diminish Taylor’s incredible personality, talent and grace to handle the whole situation. It takes nothing away from her ability to be an outstanding Miss Iowa! She has the opportunity to define herself and her year as she sees fit – not as how 14 people saw her. CONGRATS TAYLOR WIEBERS for being YOU! Can’t wait to watch you finish your year as Miss Iowa 2015!!!
VANESSA WILLIAMS and the MAO APOLOGY…
And finally, the other comment/question I keep getting from Junkies is in regard to Vanessa Williams… A few Junkies out there believe it wasn’t a good thing to bring Vanessa back to Miss America… Let alone have so many people celebrating her return! Further, many people feel it was unnecessary for MAO to apologize to Vanessa because she’s the one who violated her contract.
Time for a quick Miss America history lesson – Years before she was named Miss America, Vanessa Williams had nude photos taken of her which violated the morals clause in the contract… In addition, Vanessa later admitted to having an abortion in high school, which was also against contract rules at the time that she won.
Here’s my two cents…
Sam Haskell didn’t apologize for taking away Vanessa’s crown in 1984. Instead, he was apologizing for the way Vanessa was treated by the Miss America Organization 32 years ago.
I was only nine at the time the whole thing went down with Vanessa… But even I knew it was a “scandal” (and that was before the word scandal started being used for every “gotcha moment” in recent history).
After someone discovered dirty photos of her (taken before she was crowned), and Penthouse Magazine threatened to publish them, Miss America feared the pageant would be forever tainted by allowing Vanessa Williams to keep her crown. Sponsors threatened to pull out completely and leave Miss America high and dry a mere seven weeks before the new pageant was going to take place. People couldn’t believe the “American Ideal” would have such a dark secret in her closet and for most people, this was extremely risque for 1984.
Tragically, once Vanessa resigned her title, she also faced a great deal of ridicule from the African-American community. Although she had been a hero for being crowned the first African-American Miss America, many in the black community began to call her “Nasty Nessa” and “Vanessa the Undressa”. Here she was, one of the most celebrated Miss America winners to date – and now, she was nothing but trash.
And while I know you can’t control what other people think about you, you need to know, the Miss America Organization did nothing to help. They tried to distance themselves as far away from Vanessa as possible. They did her no favors in the PR department. They ostracized her and they shunned her. They walked away and the press hung her out to dry. Through MAO’s inaction, they essentially allowed her to be publicly humiliated.
In case you can’t quite get your arms around this yet… Take Vanessa’s situation from 1984 and place it in 2015. When I do that, here’s what I get…
It’s as if her entire private photo session was videoed without her permission, and then it was uploaded to YouTube. It was then promoted, “shared, liked and commented” on by millions of people who passed judgement on her without ever speaking to her – or hearing her full side of the story. Then, she suffered the all-encompassing act of “twitter shame” which ultimately caused her to resign her title. And nobody from the Miss America Organization did anything about it.
I don’t care what kind of “wrong” or “sin” or “whatever you want to call it” – has been committed… People don’t deserve to be treated that way.
I’m certain we’ll never know everything Vanessa and her family went through during those years, but I do know, public humiliation is never a good thing. I also know the Miss America Organization could’ve done a heck of a lot more to spare Vanessa from that kind of humiliation, but they were too worried about keeping the upstanding image of their pageant from being tarnished.
Whenever you seek the protection of an institution – at the expense of the individual – you’re making the wrong choice. I’m not saying Vanessa should’ve kept her title. I’m saying the whole thing could’ve been handled a bazillion times better than it was. You can cut ties with people and still do it in an appropriate way. Nobody deserves to be crucified in the public square the way Vanessa was.
And for that – Miss America needed to apologize.
I for one, am so glad they did. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about the competition that year, says that Vanessa was CLEARLY the winner. She was beautiful, she was well-spoken, and she was insanely talented. Her efforts were rewarded by winning both the Talent and Swimsuit preliminary competitions her year. To say that she shouldn’t have been named Miss America 1984 is just silly! Her long list of accomplishments as a vocalist, and as an actress on the big screen, television and Broadway, speaks for itself. She was the correct choice. She simply made a mistake earlier in her life and unfortunately, she suffered severely for it.
Again, I’m not saying Vanessa should’ve been allowed to keep her title. But I am saying, Miss America needed to apologize. Not for Vanessa’s sake… Obviously, she’s moved on and doesn’t appear to be holding any grudges. No, Miss America needed to apologize for our sake. The fans need to know that whatever our personal disagreements with contestants, volunteers, directors or anyone else involved with the Miss America Organization – We need to hold fast to the individual more than the institution. Treating others with respect and loyalty is the best way to advance the cause of any organization. And as long as Miss America remembers that, we’ll never need to offer a public apology to any of our titleholders, ever again.
And there you have it! Those are my long-winded thoughts on all the controversial topics of the week! Again, I’ll be posting a full run-down of my picks, that were originally released in the Newsletter, a little later this week! Also – I’ve recently posted a podcast talking about our time in Atlantic City – we do an awful lot of name dropping in it because we met a TON of Junkies during Miss America! Feel free to listen to this link here if you think your name might be mentioned!
Otherwise, be sure to check back in to see our post about our predictions! And as always, I’m happy to hear your thoughts/comments below!
Thanks for being a part of the Junkie-Nation! Now, where are those bon-bons…? 🙂