Montana wins the crown and it's the comeback to end all comebacks! Montana was the only state to never make the semifinals in Miss Teen USA history and in the end, Big Sky Country wins in a big way and not only makes the semifinals for the first time but takes it all! And it's all thanks to Katie Blair!

So this year we returned to Palm Springs with very teen sounding music from "High School Musical" and two first time hosts, Shaun Robinson and Damien Fahey. Shaun was a good choice and Damien Fahey reminds me of a Brian McFayden meets Carson Daly type of character both of whom have hosted Miss Teen USA and all of whom I find to be somewhat bland. Allie Laforce looked awesome on the final night of her reign and it was cute how she gave a "did-I-just-say-that" look when she mentioned possibility starting an all women's sports network when Donald Trump's help. But the sight that made me happiest of all was the return of Miss Universe 1995, Chelsi Smith as a judge. Seeing how she is the main cover girl the front page of my website, you can tell that I have a reverence for Chelsi that is unparalleled. It was the pageant she won that sparked my Miss Universe obsession and I just adore her for her incredible beauty, intelligence and that voice. I must have rewound my tape each time she was on camera at least 20 times just because I couldn't get enough of her and also couldn't believe it was really her after not seeing her for so many years. After her reign, all I saw of Chelsi was that she modelled Venus swimwear in 1998 alongside Joyce Giraud, Miss Puerto Rico Universe 1998 and Chelsi still looked phenomenal but she was supposed to be so much more and hope to see much more of her in the future. Brook Lee was seen several times after her reign as Miss Universe but my heart always yearned to see Chelsi again. Rumor has it that Chelsi had a little bit of a falling out with Al and Gail Clark, directors of Miss Texas USA, which may explain why Chelsi has never been seen at Miss Texas USA either after her reign and her divorce to Kelly Blair certainly didn't help. Chelsi said in her farewell at Miss Universe that the road ahead was not an easy one and no one knew the meaning of that more than Chelsi's successor, Alicia Machado who almost lost her crown due to a weight gain during her reign. After Chelsi attended the Miss Universe preliminaries this year in Los Angeles, Donald Trump apparently invited her to judge. I was very happy that he did that and Chelsi was also the last Miss Universe before Trump became owner of Miss Universe.

Okay, now back to Miss Teen USA! So I got 7 of the 15 semifinalists plus 2 alternates and 2 honorable mentions. The 4 that weren't on my list were North Carolina, North Dakota, Maryland and Nebraska.



Winner=Montana-Katie Blair

Winner=South Carolina-Brittany Smith*

1st RU=North Carolina-Melissa Lingafelt

1st RU=Utah-Elizabeth Anne Leyda

2nd RU=North Dakota-Katie Cooper

2nd RU=Georgia-Brittany Sharp*

3rd RU=Virginia-Samantha Casey

3rd RU=Michigan-Raquel McClendon*

4th RU=Georgia-Brittany Sharp

4th RU=Tennessee-Ashley Durham

FINALISTS (alpha'l)


Arizona-Emerald Zellers

Florida-Jennifer Lynn Wooten*

Kansas-Gentry Miller

Virginia-Samantha Casey*

Maryland-Jamie O'Brien

Montana-Katie Blair*

New Jersey-Julianna White

Illinois-Ceitlyn Glenn

Rhode Island-Shaelyn McNally

Wisconsin-Bishara Dorre



Florida-Jennifer Lynn Wooten

Alabama-Carla Baumann

Michigan-Raquel McClendon

Arkansas-Taylor Wright

Nebraska-Danielle Zuroski

California-Jessica Bre Powell

Oklahoma-Morgan Woolard

Colorado-Blair Griffith

South Carolina-Brittany Smith

Kansas-Gentry Miller*


ALTERNATES:New Hampshire, New Jersey*, Oklahoma*, Oregon, Texas


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Arizona*, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island*, Washington

* = made actual top 15


So what happened to my picks that didn't make it? I was shocked that Utah didn't make it. She was stunning and definitely should have been up there. I have no idea why she wasn't. Also Tennessee should have been there but perhaps her gown choice didn't help her advance. Illinois, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, California and Colorado all had great looks and gowns but like always Miss Teen USA is usually quite unpredictable. I should mention that Montana's closeup actually kept her out of my top 5 in my initial predictions but her look was definitely it.

First up for the top 15 was the swimsuit competition, starting with Oklahoma who had a nice long, lean body with great abs and I liked the high ponytail. She definitely should have advanced. Michigan was stunningly exotic with gorgeous body and she also should have advanced. Georgia had a look reminiscent of Shelley Hennig, Miss Teen USA 2004 and with her fine tan, she was just obvious for top 5. Nebraska was a bit of a surprise. She was okay but not great. North Carolina for whatever reason was very low-key and not really a standout for me. South Carolina was my prediction to win because I really liked her overall appearance and spirit and thought she was the perfect fit but her awkward turns and walk in swimsuit may have cost her which is a shame because I loved her look. Montana, our eventual winner, looked every inch the part and looked sensational. North Dakota was another one who wasn't really a standout for me. She was just there. Kansas had a nice look and hair. Arizona for whatever reason reminded me of some teen contestants from the 80s. Florida looked perfect but perhaps a little too perfect with the hair and the smile looked a little forced and she had rounder hips. Maryland was a very out-of-nowhere pick but I can see why she made it. She's very teen. New Jersey looked okay overall. She certainly worked her facial expressions. Virginia was a total pageant girl. Really worked that awesome body and you could tell that she had modelled herself after Miss USA 2004, Shandi Finnessey and I also sensed an injection of Kellie Lightbourne, Miss Virginia USA 1999 in there too. Rhode Island was an interesting pick but again she just looked okay. The swimsuit ending looked a bit off since the girls weren't always walking together but the girls looked caliente and guape as the 'Bop Til You Drop' song suggested. Of the 5 girls that didn't advance, I think all but Nebraska should have. Oh well.

After the top 10 were announced, we saw the gowns and Georgia started as off looking even more like Shelley Hennig with a white gown and a sparkly belt. Rhode Island's gown had a very wedding cake feel to it. Montana's whip cream gown certainly was eyecatching. I loved Virginia's bold blue gown purposely sticking out the leg on occasion. This time the leg was long enough. (I say that because I made a comment in 1999 about Kellie Lightbourne who wore a similar color gown but said her leg didn't look long enough.) It was nice to see this shade of blue because we tend to see an onslaught of white gowns at Teen. New Jersey in a duller greyish shade of blue and you could see she tried to be vibrant but the sparkle just wasn't there. Kansas had an interesting hairdo in her pastel pink number. Maryland looked very cutesy and teen again with the bow on her gown but this was as far as she would go. North Carolina followed with a gown that sort of created an illusion of nudity under a ruffly turquoise gown with diamond patterns and bow. This gown was very inspired and had an interesting concept. It was very teen meets Miss. North Dakota had a shades of Autumn gown that looked nice. Arizona completed the gown competition in a white gown that looked pretty good with the curly hair but she looked a smidge overconfident.

After the confessions of our teenage beauty queens, where we got some insight into how teens think today and how the cellphone has become a staple in our society, we saw North Carolina take Photogenic and Colorado take Congeniality. I was happy to see Colorado get that award because I liked her. The top 5 consisted of North Dakota, Georgia, North Carolina, Montana and Virginia which was quite a decent top 5. North Dakota spoke of how she saved a 10-year-old boy from drowning in a pool. The boy went in the deep end to look for lost goggles and she was ready to do CPR on him but he got his breath was bawling and she said it was an emotional, physical experience and to save a person's life was awesome. Georgia spoke of a caving trip, doesn't recommend it for the claustrophobic since they had to do an army crawl through the mud slipping and sliding but it was a great, fun experience. North Carolina had some interesting jobs and said her most memorable was when she was Cinderella for a little girl's birthday party. The wig was a Sleeping Beauty wig and both of them wore glass slippers and it was the best experience of her life and she was so excited. Montana spoke of her love of Van Gogh's artwork and went to his museum. She went last winter with her dad for her birthday and New Year's and she flew from London to Amsterdam in one afternoon. Her dad has an oil and gas company so he must be pretty rich considering the exorbitant gas prices we have today. She thought the museum was very modern, incredible and it was amazing to see all his work together. Finally, Virginia talked of a wild boat ride in Florida that she had in her friend's cigarette boat with huge waves, 90 miles per hour speeds, flying 10 feet in the air, and she said it was nerve racking but definitely worth it. I wonder how she would have reacted had she got judge Brody Jenner's question.

The final 5 faced the judge's for the final question. North Dakota was asked by Hayden Penettiere if today's teen are obsessed with weight and image. North Dakota said girls especially are obsessed with weight more so than boys but that everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin and to go for it and feel comfortable no matter what you do. It was a decent answer but perhaps not too convincing. Georgia was asked by Chelsi Smith (so happy to her voice again!) what is one big contribution teens are making in today's world. In a sort of nonchalant way, Georgia answered that community service is added to schooling and you have to have it to graduate and she tries to make it a lot of fun. Almost sounded like teens are being forced into community service and not really doing it out of their own will. This may explain the 4th-runner-up placement. North Carolina was asked by Brody Jenner if the driving age limit should be changed since the percentage of teenage related drunk driving accidents continues to increase. I think it's more of an issue of teens having access to alcohol rather than the driving age but it's his question anyway. North Carolina humorously stated it took a quite a while for her to get her driver's licence, gave a cute apology and then said seriously that the death rate increases dramatically from age 15 to 16 so raising the driving age is something that should be thought about. Montana followed with one of the most scrutinized answers ever. Carl Lewis asked what integrity means to her. Katie said it means that you're driven and you will do all that you can and not let anything stop you to get the goal you want to achieve. Hmmm...Webster's dictionary defines integrity in three ways. 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY, 2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS, 3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS. Not quite a match to me. I probably would have quoted what Shauna Gambill said at Miss USA 1998 about integrity but I know not all contestants memorize past pageant answers like I do. Montana's final answer was even mocked on the Jimmy Kimmel show but the judge's minds must have been made up at this point. Finally, Virginia was asked by Darren Brooks what song best describes her life and why. She said it was Jessica Andrews' "Who I Am" because it's about a girl who's proud of who she is and where she comes from. I thought Virginia should have placed higher than 3rd-runner-up but I have a feeling we may see her at Miss USA in the near future.

As Allie Laforce said a really nice farewell, Georgia was 4th runner up, Virginia was 3rd runner up (you could tell she wasn't too happy with that), North Dakota was 2nd runner up (after shaking Montana's hand and giving a pissed look at not winning) and finally North Carolina was declared 1st runner up as Montana wins in the most unimaginable way. Many times, the last becomes first and of course, that was just the case as Montana was the last of all states to not make the semifinals and then their first semifinalist takes it all. This means keep a close eye on Delaware at Miss USA since they are the only state to have never made the semifinals there. Congratulations Katie Blair on a memorable win as Miss Teen USA 2006!