Congratulations to the new Miss Teen USA, Ashley Coleman of Delaware! I think she was an excellent choice especially with her Shirley Temple-esque look and innocence. Ashley was a standout from the beginning and she is only the second girl from Delaware to make the semifinals to Miss Teen USA so I couldn't help but recall the notable incident that happened with the first. Let's travel back in time to 1995 and meet a stunning and very outspoken beauty named Dawn Renee Huey. She was one of my favorite contestants in the 1995 Miss Teen USA pageant but she will go down in history as that girl who took the "long pause". She barely made the semifinals at 12th place but then advanced into the top 6. I remember she said for the trip take in the swimsuit competition that she adored speaking in public which she describes as people's number one fear more than dying. One would question this statement based on what happened to Dawn later. When it came time for the top 6 question, Dawn was asked if unwed teenage mothers should be allowed to collect welfare. Dawn firmly stated that they should not be allowed to collect welfare. She said "we have such a big problem in our society that..." At this moment, Dawn lost her composure. Her mind just went blank so I'm assuming that she was trying to give an answer to this question that she had memorized but she clearly forgot it and was trying so desperately to remember it that she paused for 10 seconds which was not easy for Dawn seeing how a live audience was clutching their fists for Dawn and staring at her as she struggled. This was not an easy moment but Dawn came back with an excellent answer. "We just have a really big problem with welfare in our society...Teenage mothers became pregnant due to lack of responsibility and I feel that all teenagers and adults should be responsible so I don't think that they should collect on the welfare." I think everyone who watched this incident sighed with relief for Dawn but she would end up in 6th place. It's incidents like these that brings to mind the realization of the necessity to speak from the heart. I certainly would love to see Dawn at Miss USA since I admired her personality very much but I'm sure she is over this incident. It was a learning experience.

Okay on to Miss Teen USA 1999. This pageant had the potential to be one of the best ever but I was disappointed with the outcome. The top ten was a very lackluster group. There were better girls and so many of them were overlooked.



Winner=Delaware-Ashley Coleman

Winner=Missouri-Andrea Camille Elliott

1st Runner Up=Louisiana-Sarah Thornhill

1st Runner Up=Tennessee-Rachel Boston*

2nd Runner Up=Maryland-Khosi Roy

2nd Runner Up=Alaska-Kjersti Maria Parker



4. Arizona-Danielle Demski

Oklahoma-Ashley Bowen

5. Michigan-Sara Marie Dusendang

Kansas-Grace Shibley



6. Kentucky-Lexie Kemper

Florida-Michelle Schmotzer

7. Texas-Misty Giles

Maryland-Khosi Roy*

8. Tennessee-Rachel Boston

Kentucky-Lexie Kemper*

9. Virginia-Kristi Glakas

Texas-Misty Giles*

10. Nevada-Kristen Walthers

Wyoming-Katie Rudoff

ALTERNATES: Arizona (*-made actual top ten), Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico

As you can see, I got 4 out of 10 semifinalists plus 1 alternate but I do have to re-raise the point that one must see the girls on stage and moving and hear them speak in order to make accurate predictions so I never call my predictions accurate since they are basically made from inanimate pictures and read not spoken bios. Our winner, Miss Delaware lit up the stage during the opening number so I was not at all surprised to see her win. As for the other girl in my predictions list, Missouri was favored by many and she had such irresistible eyes to which you couldn't say no and those prelim judges said no! I have no idea where she lost her marks because she was strong everywhere. As for Alaska (I didn't know her name Kjersti was pronounced Chesti, I thought it was more like Kyersti), I had a feeling she wasn't going to make top ten but I couldn't say no to her. Oklahoma had the best body in the entire competition so I was shocked that she didn't make top ten. She could have lost it from interview. I would also assume Kansas lost it on the interview because she was very strong elsewhere. Florida was nagging me from the beginning. Although she was strikingly beautiful (I loved how she worked her gorgeous hair in the opening number), she must have lost out on swimsuit because her body wasn't really all that tone. I hope she tones up and I definitely want to see her again so I hope she runs for Miss USA.

As for the hosts, Carson Daly was pretty dormant but did well. He didn't have the same energy as Mario Lopez but as an experienced host, he asked better questions. Ali Landry & Julie Moran, our special commentators were awesome. They definitely have come a long way and they are just a lot of fun. As for judges, I heard Jordan Knight had to fly out on a family emergency and so he couldn't judge. The other judges were rap star Coolio, Salt 'n' Pepa songstress Dee Dee Roper (aka Spinderella), soccer star Tisha Venturini, Colin from MTV's the Real World, Eric Lively from American Pie, Jeanie Pyun, Kim Kirberger, and Dave Tomberlin.

The announcement of the top ten followed. I loved the background music, btw. Virginia had the best reaction and I liked how Carson goes, "You'll love this one...Louisiana!" The audience went wild for the homecrowd favorite. When I ranked all the girls, all of them except Louisiana were in one of my top fifteens so I can say Nevada made it in on interview, Tennessee-everything, Virginia-interview, Kentucky-interview and gown, Texas-everything, Michigan-gown, Louisiana-home crowd fave (5 prelim judges were from Louisiana), Maryland-everything, Delaware-interview, Arizona-gown and interview.

The first interview was called TQL (the question line) and Nevada was okay but wasn't great. She said she would put her attitude in a museum because it was original and she would most think about Barbara Walters' salary since she is broadcast journalism major. I was expecting her to be somewhat off-the-wall based on her bio because the answer to where she sees her herself in 5 years is hilarious. She said, "In five years I will have a diploma from USC and will be working for a major network. If I am not still dating my current beau, I will probably be dating Ricky Martin and Matt Damon. I will continue to be an advocate for cancer research. Also, I will be training with Billy Blanks for the Miss USA Pageant!" Tennessee was way underscored. She was asked whom she would like to interview and she said Justin Timberlake (one of the N SYNC boys) but they actually met and had the same agency and she said he's a neat guy. She said she would choose a geek for a boyfriend whether or not he was rich since she said that she was known as a geek at school. Virginia was next and was asked to do an impression and she chose Marilyn Monroe and sang "Happy Birthday to you" with a hypnotic look in her eyes and then did a cutesy high pitched "diamonds are a girl's best friend". She was then asked which animal best describes her and she said a laughing hyena because her friends make fun of her laughing like you would not believe and although she refused to laugh, she laughed anyway and it was a very distinct laugh. Kristi clearly got in on interview and she does remind me of one of my classmates who has the same personality, laugh, and hair but a prettier face. Kentucky was awesome and very teen like but was somewhat flirty with Carson. She serenaded Carson with "Great Balls of Fire" and airplayed a guitar while leaning against Carson and she asked sexily, "Did you like it, Carson? Okay, good." She was then asked because she speaks French, what do you prefer, French perfume, french fries, or french kiss. I also know French and I can tell you that Lexie forgot her French momentarily, she said in a muffled way, "je t'aime une kissy" which means, "i love you a kissy". She meant to say 'french kiss' but she saved herself in saying that her father was sitting right there and instantly the scores shot up! Miss Texas said she wouldn't be giving demonstrations on how to light up a pickle with jumper cables. It was good that she said you can kill yourself using these suicide clips so don't try it at home and Carson followed with a "hide the pickles immediately". She also said she could explain military strategy to an alien since she was an army brat and she could talk about running at 5 a.m. Texas did well here but her score was somewhat low.

Michigan said if they named a car after her, it would have to be a Bronco since she is a Rodeo girl. Carson asked what has made the greatest impact on her generation. He said MTV with an emphasis since he is on MTV, then said CNN or ESPN. Sara dared to say ESPN since she loves sports although Carson was on MTV. Carson then said in a pout, "You're gonna have trouble getting out of here tonight, Michigan!!" Louisiana talked about crawfish being mudbugs. Next up was Maryland and I absolutely loved her. The competition was clearly between Maryland and Delaware but Delaware triumphed. Maryland hits the mall like the river wild and explained it like any teen would. You gotta get a lot of money first and she would just run in like a mad woman putting stuff on hold and then going back. When asked whether she was flava, solid, or sassy, she said, "Oh my God, I'm all three! No, I'm playing." She was definitely cool and then she said she said she would be flava like Janet Jackson since she is such a role model and is very talented. Delaware followed. As a collector of Beanie Babies she said that she would give up her Hope bear because "she's brought me so much hope that I hope that she can bring hope to someone else." She's also a cheerleader and asked what she would cheer for and she said the Delaware memorial bridge since it's in Delaware as she said with a "duh" intonation in her voice. "I mean, come on Carson." Carson asked her if she would give a cheer and unlike last year's delegates, she did what any teen would do, she gave a strange look and said no. The audience loved it and then she said in a normal voice, "Uh, go bridge." It was very funny and Maryland and Delaware clearly took the interview competition. Arizona was last and asked if for 1 million dollars whether she would gain 50 pounds, shave her head, or pose nude. Carson then said to please pick option three but she laughed and it caught her off guard a little so she said she would shave her head since her hair is curly and goes crazy on occasion. She also would love to sing with Miss Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady since that is one of her favorite musicals.

Now about the little Britney's beat segments featuring Britney Spears. They could easily have done without these and could have given Vanessa Minnillo the extra spotlight she deserves. Many people just find Britney somewhat annoying and yet she professes to know so much about Louisiana but she sounded terribly conceited when she said, "Can you believe I make a platinum selling album but I can't go into the casino?!" Why so many people like this girl is beyond me! That Francofete piece was just a laugh and a half. She said "Laissez les bon temps rouler" but she pronounced "laissez" as "lesez" instead of "lesay" and I know my French teacher would have just screamed her head off at Britney for that little faux pas! And she said she'd be reading something in English and French during Francofete. That would be a laugh out loud kind of moment!

On to the swimsuit competition featuring N SYNC sounding pretty good singing "I Just Wanna Be With You" but they were not as energetic as last year. The mellow groove was actually pretty good though. Nevada looked somewhat big. Poor Miss Tennessee wasn't announced so she just had to walk on stage. I think Carson was afraid to interrupt N SYNC's singing but she looked fantastic. Virginia looked somewhat hefty to me but her stance was good. Kentucky looked gorgeous and she caught a few eyes of the guys from N SYNC as she walked flirtatiously past them. Texas looked fine. Michigan was the shortest delegate this year at 5'2" but I appreciated how she made all she could of that 5'2". She was built like a brick and had an excellent stance. Louisiana had a fairly long torso but she knew how to work the body. Maryland was awesome again. It is so hard for me to believe that she didn't actually win Miss Maryland Teen but after Kristina Sisco gave up the title to star in "As the World Turns," Khosi took her deserved spotlight. She was totally confident and had a mystical aura about her and she looked amazing. Delaware also looked fine. I didn't think she had the best body but everyone certainly favored her. Arizona was one of the tallest and she exemplifies a simple beauty. I really like her and she strikes me as a cross between Desiree Lowry, Miss Puerto Rico 95 and Ali Burr, Miss North Carolina Teen 97.

For the evening gown competition, I liked how all the other delegates assembled on stage and showed themselves off as N SYNC sang "I Drive Myself Crazy". Carson chatted briefly with Miss California, Marianne Kennedy who was clearly a Michelle Cardamon (Miss California Teen 96) wannabe. They talked similarly, had the same short hair, and had a similar gown. Nevada came out in a loose fitting white gown that made her look huge. Tennessee had a rather unique gown. It looked like she was wearing a sweater over a dress in a strawberry pink style. Virginia was going for the Grecian goddess look. Kentucky had a nice gown but unfortunately she looked pregnant in it because her stomach bulged right out. Texas clearly had the nicest gown. That black number was stunning but she didn't put her hair up. She just kept it in a pony tail and that ruined the whole effect. I think the ponytail was meant to make her more suited for "teen" but it just looked wrong. Misty will probably be back for adult pageants. Michigan's elegant blue velvet gown clearly got her in. She scored very high here. Louisiana scored high thanks to the homecrowd girl advantage. Maryland clearly stood out in this huge white gown and she clearly felt good about herself and exuded confidence. She was excellent and it was funny how Julie said she should have been on top of a wedding cake. Delaware made a terrible gown choice but it didn't matter what she wore because the competition was hers. I did like how she bounced with every step. Arizona had an excellent gown with the white skirt and the beige top. She did exemplify a simple beauty. Ali made a valid point when she said that when judges like girls this early in the competition they stick with her no matter what. Unlike Shelly Moore in 97 and Vanessa Minnillo in 98, Ashley Coleman never faltered and remained consistently strong, whereas the other two were favorites who did not give the best final answers.

I liked the lip service segments with the tap dancer and Colorado looking gorgeous as she made a flower with her tongue. Virginia's impression of the Saturday Night Live clubhopping headboppers was funny. The little raps were okay and Pennsylvania's laugh was infectious.

























































On to the top 5 announcement, the last five delegates were called up. Of these 10 girls, I probably would have replaced Michigan and Louisiana with Kentucky and Texas. Miss Kentucky was blatantly upset about not making the cut and to make matters worse she was only a few points off Miss Louisiana. Ali was also shocked about Texas not making the cut.

The top 5 questions started with Michigan being asked about Woodstock 99, which ended in a blaze of bad publicity with burning cars and rapes. She said there was so much violence in the 'peace and love' festival because teens are just rowdy and ready to have a good time and such things happen if teenagers choose not to act responsibly. Carson followed up with a question of having ratings on concert. And she, flat out, said to go ahead because it won't change how some teens act. Maryland blessed us with a classic interview. She was asked to pick a question and goes "okay" in a giddy sort of voice and that's what I love about Khosi. She knows when to be giddy and when to be serious. Carson said Hillary Clinton is running for the New York senate and Khosi claps clearly because she likes Hillary and Carson gave her a funny look and asked if 8 years qualifies Hillary to be in the Senate. Khosi responded, "I think under any circumcise...uh, circumstances, it qualifies her to be in the Senate." Whoops! Circumcise? Where was your mind, Khosi? At this point, she was trying to redeem herself by rambling. She went on to say that Hillary's an excellent woman and that she'll win, do well, and deserves to be there. She then went on to describe the first lady several ways. "She's fabulous, absolutely fabulous, extraordinary." Why don't we throw in a Bridgett Jordan? "She's amazing!" and while we're at it, how about an Ali Landry? "She's wonderful!" Carson then said Hillary has never lived in New York and asked if that is a problem. Khosi concluded this interview with a great statement, "You have to live in the state to know anything about it but she has experience and some senators don't do as well even though they have lived in that state their whole lives. She has a lot going for her overriding the fact that she never lived there." What really made this interview classic was Ali's reaction to it. She just laughed uncontrollably between the words desperately trying to say, "Julie, we have to understand that this girl was on the number one forensics team in the country and she-hee-hee.." Julie had to come in a save her and she said, "You're laughing, now. Stop it! She contradicted herself and she did say circumcise." Ali gave yet another giggle as it came time for Arizona to be announced. Now, I had to rewind this part like three or four times before I could catch Arizona's question because Ali's laughing was just too infectious. Arizona was asked about JFK Jr. and whether or not the media was justified in their 24/7 coverage of him since he was not a politician or tried to be celebrity but a lawyer and magazine editor. She replied that if you're in the public eye sometimes the media takes it to an extreme but this is what happens when you're in the limelight. Carson said that teens cried at the memorial and Arizona said that he was a role model, and that they both triumphed over dyslexia. I thought this was a nice interview but Julie and Ali didn't feel a sincerity. Delaware was asked about sports stars running for political office since Jesse "the Body" Ventura, a wrestler is the governor of Minnesota. She excellently stated as long as they are qualified, she sees no problem with it. Carson asked if the line between entertainment and politics has been blurred but Ashley said you can define the line by showing true qualifications rather than use of fame to get into office. She would not vote for someone just because her favorite star does because she looks at qualifications first. Carson humorously stated to Louisiana, "Too bad you don't have any fans here tonight." Louisiana didn't really respond so she must have been slightly nervous and she was asked about Columbine. I definitely knew, even when it happened, that they were going to ask about Columbine in this Miss Teen USA pageant. For those who don't know, Columbine is a high school in Colorado in which two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting rampage on Hitler's birthday and shot and killed several students and teachers. They also set up bombs and killed themselves afterwards. Now because of this incident, schools are hiring armed guards and putting in metal detectors and Louisiana said those are safe and agrees with those precautions but she suggested more community involvement in groups like her group called "Passion for Purity" which is a peer outreach program promoting sexual abstinence. There's that word again, "abstinence", the buzzword for Miss Teen USA.

Upon the announcement of the top 3, as Ali said, the competition was really between Maryland and Delaware who were tip for tap the whole night and Louisiana snuck in each time. Vanessa Minnillo took her final walk at this time and she did look stiff as a board since she could hardly move in that gown. She truly enjoyed her reign and you could see it was hard for her to give it up. She also thanked her 4 "big sisters", Shawnae, Wendy, Kimberly, and Mpule. They all must have had an awesome year. Now the final question. It was funny when Carson said "you have a rip in your dress" to check if the other girls could hear. The question was "Soccer star, Brandy Chastain, recently posed in a magazine nude holding only a "well-placed" soccer ball. How do you feel about that?" Delaware said that she thought it was inappropriate and she is a role model to whom little girls look up thinking posing nude is right which is not so she needs to reconsider what she has done. Her answer was the best of the 3. Louisiana thought it was unwise because she is in the public eye and that promotes sexuality (she said it with an 'ew-gross' look on her face). She is looked up to and is not setting a good example. Maryland could have taken it but she didn't give a great final answer. Her answer was actually pretty much spinning in circles. It was inappropriate and she's a role model. She's a role model and it was inappropriate. I think that it was inappropriate since she is a role model. She also said she should have been aware of her position.

Now, dragging the homecrowd favorite into the top 3 is never a good situation. I was disgusted with the audience reaction to Delaware beating Louisiana for the crown. Ashley didn't look like she wanted to blow them kisses or wave to them either seeing how unwarm this reception was. Past history has shown that the homecrowd favorite is usually dragged into the semifinals but usually does not advance into the finals unless she is outstanding and there were girls that easily could have replaced Louisiana this year so I don't think it was wise to take her in that far when it wasn't necessary. She was fortunate to have the crowd support.

Overall, Maryland and Delaware were clearly a cut above the rest. These were the only ones the judges really cared about because they just lit up the stage. This year was a fairly weak competition unlike last year where there were several outstanding delegates with not as many surprises. Congratulations Ashley on a job well done.