Thoughts of Miss Teen USA 1998


"Groove it, shake it, move it, take it, who do you think you are?" Oops..that was last year! I will always treasure this pageant because I watched it with a bunch of my friends at the house of one of my friends and it was also a spectacular production. Shreveport was bumpin' as the delegates danced and showed themselves one by one to the sounds of "Keep on Reaching, Ain't no stopping us now." I especially noticed the vibrant, stunning, and energetic Miss Nevada, Victoria LaShay Franklin moving her body nicely to the "oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah" parts in the song. I was also instantaneously struck by the mesmerizing beauty of the angel on earth, Miss Tennessee, Bridgett Jordan. These two ladies just kept on impressing me more and more as the competition proceeded. But somehow, the crowd pleaser, Miss South Carolina, Vanessa Joy Minnillo, seemed to emerge in front of these two to take it all and break a few records in the attempt!!

Mario Lopez was an awesome host. I hope to see more like him in the future because he was a lot of fun and really got into the mood. I also used to watch his show "Saved by the Bell" practically everyday which also featured other beauties like Tiffani Amber Thiessen who went on to star in "90210", Lark Voorhies who went to star in a soap opera and in a Boyz II Men video, and Elizabeth Berkley (the star of Showgirls which was a surprising, no, SHOCKING role change from her old role of Jessie Spano). I could easily see these girls in the Miss Teen USA pageant but they all became popular quickly so there was no need. Dustin Diamond stars in the new version and Mark-Paul Gosselaar stars in a new series called "Hyperion Bay" but enough about Saved by the Bell, let's bring on the delegates!

Oh wait, let's not forget our special commentators, Julie Moran and Ali Landry. Ali was so funny, especially when she said, "Teens,..hmmm" when they were talking about taping. Hee hee! I didn't see when Ali competed in Miss Teen USA 1990 but it must have been a kick in the pants seeing the girl who beat her, Bridget Wilson, to win the title win a distinguished achievement award but I think Ali was changing into another evening gown which I will talk about later. You could also tell that some of the judges were just punching in any old number except when it came to Miss South Carolina! I especially noticed Alek Wek and Tim Brando working often together to butcher some other ladies. I also thought it was neat that Tara Lipinski was a judge so the tables were turned and Tara also gave decent scores.
It's always exciting when the top ten girls are announced. Florida was jumping up and down and it was obvious that her and Nevada became good friends because they just went nuts! Colorado was announced next and had a cute little reaction with her hands covering her face. Nevada was next and her standing next to Florida gave the ladies an opportunity to give each other five much like was done for Miss Kansas Teen 95 and Miss Missouri Teen 95 who also became good friends. Friends always react well together! Illinois was next and her hair was so big and when she turned it just went flying! Mississippi came next and Nevada gave her a big hug. The next part was what I really noticed. Texas' Christie Cole was praying and her name was announced and she was so surprised and clasped her hands together in a 'Thank you Lord' fashion. South Carolina had such a quick reaction that whoever she hugged was totally caught off-guard! Wyoming, Tennessee, and Virginia followed after with nice reactions.

The sound bites concept was a pretty good idea but they could have done the press conference like in Miss USA but I guess this makes Miss Teen USA more distinct. Miss Florida, Nicole Broderick, was the first delegate and I thought that the questions that she was asked were so denotative in the sense that they really didn't penetrate deeply into Nicole as an individual and sadly enough she received a terribly low score of 8.94 even though I thought she did quite well. It was also funny when Mario goes, "You were voted most valuable athlete" and then she goes "Whoa" and the look on her face was really cute. On to Miss Colorado, Katee Doland, the youngest cheerleader for the Denver Broncos. Her "little dance" was nicely done and she said she's pretty good on the Internet so I better watch out what I write about her! I think the fact that she was a Denver Bronco cheerleader got her a higher score because she did not really say much. Next was Nevada, one of my two favorites, who impressed me even more with her fun spirit and attitude. Everybody seemed to like her after that rendition of "Gettin' Jiggy With It" but when she was talking about Janet Jackson it sounded like she was losing her voice but I liked her so much and a lot of my friends thought that she was going to win. Next was Miss Illinois, Nicole Manske, and I almost don't want to say this but she was definitely a cross between Blair from "Facts of Life" and Marcia Brady of "The Brady Bunch". She was all goody-goody with her squeaky clean bathroom. I also thought her answers were all wrong because she chose Ally McBeal as her best friend, instead of Bill Gates (a potentially funny answer for obvious reasons) and she said she never watched the show!! Hello!! For her magazine, she should have chosen Teen Scene if she wanted to include the NFL thing since Mad Magazine is entirely different than what she said, thus, it was absolutely no surprise to me that she placed last in the interview. Miss Mississippi, Jennifer Reel, was next and it seemed to me like she wasn't really expanding on her answers and Mario had to force her to. However, I liked her sassiness but you could tell that it wasn't really her. Miss Texas, Christie Cole, yet another nethead. One of my friends thought that she was around 30 years old when he saw her picture on the net. She did fine in the interview. Bring on the unstoppable, Vanessa Minnillo, Miss South Carolina. This interview really took her over the edge. I really liked the fact that she chose one of the answers (the bungee jumping as the most adventurous act) and then explained why not the other two (dying her hair--she could get over it, shopping at the mall the day after Christmas--which, to her, is not that bad since she works at the mall). The statement that her first kiss was a comedy was funny because of how nicely she phrased it. She goes "I hope he's not watching, I'm not laughing at you but it was a comedy." Perfect pause for the audience to get it. It implied that she was saying, hey, I'm going to use you to win this competition and you can't do anything about it!!! South Carolina was the story that night because she swept every competition as well as the Miss Teen USA title itself. Wyoming's Gina DeBernardi (I like this name) was next and had a tough act to follow and Mario didn't really make it any easier for her since Mario thought her dancing was too girly for him to do which I could not see. But I'm so glad she handled it well and didn't take Mario's comment as an insult. She kind of messed up her pizza question but she finished it off nicely in saying "pizza's not my thing". Gina was very in control and I admired that quality. Next was the oh-so-perfect Miss Tennessee, Bridgett Jordan. She interviewed very well but I want to point something out. Did you notice how many times she said the word "amazing"? It was like this was her buzz word of the night just like Ali Landry never stopped using her buzz word "wonderful" when she was competing in Miss USA and in Miss Universe! I guess it helps to have a buzz word! Next was Miss Virginia, Misty Horn, who would probably have done better in another pageant with different judges because her saying all the right things was sending off all the wrong vibes. Her statement to stay in school if she was offered a chance to dance with Janet Jackson was too obvious and the 4.0 grade point average may have been taken the wrong way. Mario then said that Janet can wait but Janet may not last forever so the smarter thing to do may be to jump on the bandwagon after high school but Misty would never say anything like that. Her impression on the head boppers on SNL needed a little more head movement and I was expecting "What is Love" by Haddaway to suddenly start playing like on SNL but unfortunately, they didn't do it.

In the Speedo fitness wear video to "Don't Stop" was pretty good but again I noticed Miss Nevada who is such an awesome dancer and the fact that she can sing and has an awesome body definitely says that she has star power! On to the swimsuit competition which can easily be ranked the second best swimsuit competition next to the Miss Universe 1996 swimsuit competition because of N SYNC. I really like their sound better than the Backstreet Boys and the choreography was showstopping. I was just afraid that the audience could not stop looking at N SYNC and not at the delegates! The delegates seemed to be just in the way! I think that the performance for "I Want You Back" should have been done separately from the swimsuit competition but it did spice it up which is why it was so good. I think it was fitting Florida was first since N SYNC is from Florida. Nicole had a form that was decent but didn't really have that tight look which was unfortunate. Her hair and face are very beautiful which explains why she won Miss Photogenic. Colorado was next and it was obvious that she would be last. I know some people are born with big thighs but Katee really needs help in the thigh area. Her legs were an unfortunate disadvantage. I also saw her ribs the whole time which made it obvious that she was sucking it in. She needs to learn to suck in those ribs too! Next was Miss Nevada and did somebody hear a Boom because this girl was DA BOMB! She looked so awesome! Victoria was very fit, well endowed in the chest area, very nice legs and stance and abs were showing as well. She also has nice hair! The scores really shot up here! Next was Illinois who had a pouch sticking out of the one-piece which was unfortunate. Nicole was busty and had fair legs. Mississippi was next and also had a leg problem. This was what cost her the marks. She did nothing to elongate them but she was fine everywhere else. Next was Texas, and I really don't know what to think about her because...were those abs or was that fat?! It was weird because they looked too sloppy to be abs yet if it was fat, it was pulled in tightly in the ab area. I still don't know what to think and confusion can cost you the marks as they did Christie! Next was South Carolina whipping her head like Alicia Machado. The most stunning thing about this competition was her score which was a 9.963! No delegate in the Miss Universe ring of pageants had ever received above 9.90 let alone a 9.96 which was so impressive! Upon seeing this 9.96, I knew it was safe to say that Vanessa was going to win and sure enough she did. The competition could have stopped right there but out came Wyoming with an okay form. I could see that she tried to increase her bust and her legs were not long enough but she did try to elongate so this helped her. All of a sudden, VAVAVAVOOM! Here comes Tennessee. She was hot and she knew it based on how she strutted out on that stage. Beautiful hair, busts out, flexed belly, and firm legs. I noticed that her thighs were fairly big but her beauty totally took me away from that and the judges gave her a whopping 9.88! Finally, Virginia came out, or as I like to call her LEGS OF STEEL! Damn, this girl had legs! She also was busty but her midsection was too tiny and looked more scary than skinny. Of course, the audience boomed with applause when N SYNC completed their song and the top ten teens graced the stage. Coming back to the 9.96, did you hear when Julie Moran was talking about the swimsuit competition and Ali goes "Oh my gosh" and I knew she was staring right at that 9.96 on the monitor. Ali, as I, knew that South Carolina was clearly the winner but Julie didn't have time to notice the score because they had to cut backstage very quickly and I know Ali would have mentioned this record-shattering score if they had more time.

On to the evening gown competition. Prior to this, Ali and Julie changed while Bridget Wilson, Miss Teen USA 1990 accepted a distinguished achievement award. I think a lot of people noticed Ali changed and was wearing her farewell gown yet again but that's okay, there's no rule that says you have to wear a different gown all the time! N SYNC performed very well here their song "God Must Have Spent.." to serenade the ladies as they stepped out. Florida stepped out in a stunning white gown and looked "amazing" as Bridgett Jordan would say, and I liked how she looked suspiciously out of the corner of her eye as she walked down the steps. I think Nicole is bi-racial because when I first watched this pageant, I didn't realize that she was black until I saw her in this gown. I don't know how this happened! I tried to explain this to my friends but they didn't understand me, oh well! Next was Colorado, in a yellowish gown which was structured similarly to Katie Aselton's (Miss Maine Teen 95) gown. This gown was nice but it really didn't say much. Nevada followed in a dark pink silk gown which some of my friends said made her look too much like a bodybuilder but I thought Victoria could have chosen a better gown. Next was Illinois in a frilly lavender gown and now I must mention the other stuff, starting with her breasts, they were huge! I could not believe that a girl with a body structure like that could possibly have these balloons on her chest! Anything that awkward looking has got to be natural because Illinois didn't really strike me as the implant type. Mississippi chose a very nice tan gown which had a clever see through structure at the sides which were curved in to make her form like even nicer. She looked very pleasant in this gown, no complaints here. Next was Texas, with a pink gown with a diamond leaf like pattern in the center which was okay. South Carolina followed and I didn't know what to expect in terms of the scores, would it be a 9.99? No, it would be a 9.89 because Sarah Schaub was starting to dislike her. The gown was white with a one-shoulder strap and see through cape attached to the opposite wrist in bracelet form and the bust had a floral design. I thought this gown looked okay on her but it didn't really suit her style but it didn't matter. Wyoming followed with a simple off-white gown which looked very nice but didn't really say anything. And then comes, Tennessee, (Somebody call Heaven, there's an angel missing!!) If "amazing" was her buzz word, she certainly exemplified it here with her full blue satin gown accentuating her fabulous form. Her lips glistened when she smiled and everything matched. I couldn't stop looking at her after she stepped out in that gown. My only complaint was the score it got which was 9.66 (8th place was far far too low), I felt like turning those 6's upside down to make it 9.99! Finally, out came Virginia. Those short gowns are so 1996!! This gown was a poor choice because it did not make her form look appealing at all. The waist structure made her hips look way too big and it flattened her chest and didn't look like it fit her right.
The selection of the top 5 was fair except that a lot of my friends thought that Florida should have made the cut instead of Wyoming just like Ali and Julie thought but even Texas beat Florida! My only concern was that Tennessee and Nevada were in there and sure enough they were. Did you notice that right before Tennessee was announced, Texas was praying yet again and Mississippi also lifted her hands in a Praise the Lord manner? Tennessee and Texas also both start with a 'T' and Texas jumped a little bit because she thought for a split second that it was her but no, it was 'T'ennessee! The top 5 interview questions followed. The scores were so readable because I knew the order of each of the ladies just by calculating the scores in my head! South Carolina being placed first was just obvious at this point though. Virginia had somewhat of a tendency to ramble like Lana Buchberger but this sincere attitude that Ali admired so much didn't sit well with the judges which is why they got rid of her. South Carolina strayed pretty far from the question but I could see her point and understood what she was saying. Actually, she didn't even answer the question which was "Should there be stricter punishment for kids who kill?" She went on to put on a scenario in saying that the life which a teenager chooses to lead cannot be controlled entirely by the parent which is true and she did stress the importance of learning the consequences but at this point, the high scores which she was receiving were diminishing slightly but she still pulled off first place. Wyoming answered her question concerning curfews excellently but she was placed 4th. Nevada followed and gave an answer that was expressed very well. She was asked whether or not pregnant teenagers should be allowed to hold an honor roll status and Victoria claimed that this was setting a poor example for other teenagers and that one must deal with the responsibilities that accompany the responsibility of having sex, therefore, these pregnant students should be denied honor roll status. Tennessee followed and it was obvious that everybody thought she was beautiful. Mario was talking personally with her after the evening gown competition when all the ten ladies were on stage and Jose also called her "Beautiful Bridgett". Her question inquired what she would do if she found out that she was switched at birth as a child and if she was a mother in that situation. She stated the obvious, it is the choice of the child, and thus the top 3 would soon be announced.

Shortly after Massachusetts won the in-style award and South Carolina won Miss Congeniality, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Nevada, each with excellent reactions, stepped forth and the final question would be announced. "If a pill was invented that would keep you at the age you are right now for the rest of your life, would you take it? Why or why not?" Tennessee said that taking that pill takes away your whole life and the ability to experience growing in wisdom and earning more respect is awesome. South Carolina said she would take it because she loves everyday of being 17, and Nevada said likewise while adding that she would be senior class president when school started so why not! Of each of these answers, Tennessee gave the best, South Carolina, second and Nevada, third but you knew that the judges were going to pick South Carolina no matter what. As it was predicted, Nevada was 2nd runner up, Tennessee was 1st runner up, and South Carolina won. However, this usually happens to me, I have two favorites and someone comes out of nowhere to beat them both. Ah well. If Bridgett Jordan runs for Miss USA, she will have my support 100%. I heard that she won another pageant similar to Miss Teen USA which was called Miss All-American Teen or something like that so I know her experience will take her far. Victoria Franklin is also a star in the making and I know I will hear her name again in the future. I will conclude in the words of Mario Lopez, "Miss South Carolina, Vanessa, please take your walk!"