She is a goddess. All hail her majesty, Queen Lynnette in all her splendor and glory.

Come with reverence and bow humbly at her feet.

All hail her majesty, Queen Lynnette in all her splendor and glory.

Isn't it such a redeeming feeling when you know the right girl has won the crown? The win of Lynnette Cole was truly a breath of fresh air and it is the first Miss USA win of which I approved 100% since the win of Chelsi Smith. This was a nice little birthday present for Lynnette, now wasn't it? She turned 22 on Feb. 9, which was only five days after the pageant!

First things first--the opening number. This was a great idea to introduce each contestant as they progressed from the dressing room to the stage. As for those pink dresses, they wore for the opening, some actually looked good and gave the girls some sex appeal, while others did not flatter some of the girls, and others with the frills looked odd. Who really struck me during the opening? Well, Arizona has come a long way since Teen 92, Heather reminded me of Christina Applegate. Connecticut's Sallie Toussaint (a favorite who failed to make top 10) worked the camera in the dressing room. Notice the saggy breasts? Isn't that a sign of age when your breasts are no longer perky? Iowa, complete with very visible nipples, looked sweet. Kentucky--was that the same girl I saw in prelims?? Wow! Oklahoma's Amanda Penix--that hair! Amanda was gorgeous. She was robbed again!! And finally, was that Miss Utah or Madonna? Keri Hatfield looked amazing!! Keri also had the best pink dress with an open back and slit on the side. The song for the opening was great. It was very "electrifying" and I loved the little chair dance they did--it was very energetic. And Kimberly Pressler looked great as she came out wearing a snazzy pink pant suit, looking like a former Miss Egypt (in the eyes).

As for the hosts, Carson Daly was great but he seems to lack the same spunk that past hosts have had, i.e. Bob Goen. Ali Landry and Julie Moran were fantastic as always and they both looked incredible too! Julie just had a baby but she looked stunning. I agreed with many of their comments especially when they said the judges have a different opinion but we're usually right!

Of course, since the judges made the right choice, I applaud them. I was glad to see Kelly Hu (Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993 (4th place at Miss USA) as a judge because she's very in the know. Pop-sensation Usher was among the judges as was one of the Super Bowl champs, Grant Wistrom. Good panel of judges.

As for the announcement of the top ten, the song used for the background was "You're A Superstar" by Love Inc. which interestingly enough is a CANADIAN song! I'm sure Canadians who were watching this "American" pageant appreciated hearing a little Cancon (lingo for Canadian content). The group Love Inc., which features the vocals of Simone Denny, is the brainchild of renowned Canadian DJ, Chris Sheppard who is popular for his underground pirate radio sessions. I own several of his compilations but if you like "You're A Superstar" then you will like even more Love Inc.'s first single "Broken Bones" which is one of the most awesome songs of all time!! But I digress. On to the top ten, which was a fair top ten. The absence of Connecticut (a former Miss World USA) shocked many people but the show went on. I loved the crazy wave Miss Utah gave to the camera as the remaining delegates left the stage.

the top 10

As for my predictions, I got 4 out of 10 semis, plus 1 alternate (AGAIN--remember Teen 99?) NY was also one of my honorable mentions. I'm also so glad that I stuck with Miss Iowa (I knew there was something about her!!!)



Winner= Tennessee-Lynnette Cole

Winner= Tennessee-Lynnette Cole*

1st Runner Up= New Hampshire-Bridget Jane Vezina

1st Runner Up= Oklahoma-Amanda Penix

2nd Runner Up= Alabama-Jina Mitchell

2nd Runner Up= Connecticut-Sallie Toussaint



4. Kansas-Tiffany Meyer

Kansas-Tiffany Meyer*

5. Georgia-Patti Dunn

South Carolina-Lisa Rabon*



6. Colorado-Tiani Jones

Texas-Heather Ogilvie

7. Michigan-Jill Dobson

Missouri-Denette Roderick

8. New York-Carrie Tucker

Florida-Kristin Ludecke

9. South Carolina-Lisa Rabon

Iowa-Jensie Grigsby*

10. Iowa-Jensie Grigsby

Washington-Jamie Kern


Alabama (*-made actual top ten), Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Virginia

Lynnette and the Donald

The first competition was the rapid fire press conference. South Carolina was up first and had to suffer the consequences of going first since the judges gave her a terribly low score. The judges obviously were expecting a little more from this competition. I think the most interesting thing she did was showing her face while on a roller coaster. Colorado was next and I just want to mention that she has a great name (Tiani Jones). I'm glad she's a journalist because there's just something about that name. I wish she had different hairstyle but her answers were very good. The best was when the reporter asked her that stupid question "Name all the characters from Star Trek" and Tiani said, "Have your people call my people and we'll do something about that." Iowa was next and Jensie has an amazing voice. She was a little slow on thinking up a slogan for herself. Her answer about the controversial ad being with the changing times and if it's in good taste, go for it, was great. Her 'naughty baby' rendition was very jazzy and Carson was great when he said, "Naughty baby, I thought you were calling me!" Following her was New Hampshire. I agree with Ali (she wasn't that strong!). She said she wouldn't compromise herself for money. Mm-hmm. Kansas was next. The gorgeous Tiffany Meyer didn't really get great questions but her talking gibberish was fun. Is there a method to that? When asked who's temperature she'd like to take, she said "Definitely, Carson Daly!" Great answer.

Michigan was first of the next group and she was fair. She claims to not be able to speak Danish. She says confidence is sexier on a woman than Control Top Pantyhose and would put Miss Oregon on the cover of her "magazine" which is also her best word in Scrabble. As for Alabama, I was surprised she did so well because her answers weren't really that great. Someone asked her what the lead story of the pageant was and she goes "200." Was that press lingo for something (i.e. to 86 something means to cut something off or something like that, does 200 mean something like "pass"?!) because that made absolutely no sense! And she said she would leave right away if she got a $2 million contract. She shouldn't be in Miss USA for the money!!! I'm assuming the judge's rewarded her honesty! Next up was the oh-so-perfect Lynnette Cole of Tennessee. I love hearing Lynnette speak because all her answers are always excellent. She is just so poised and articulate and I knew she'd ace this competition. She had to hold an albino snake for a good cause and she said she turned as white as the snake. Beautiful!! And to the Tennessee Titans who lost the Super Bowl, Lynnette said "I wish your arm was longer!" Fantastic!! Lynnette is also a substitute teacher and talked about that Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, saying that the family should stay together. Georgia was neither here nor there for me, I didn't really care for her. She said she feels ravishing in a British accent and her fashion emergency was a run in her pantyhose. (hits her head) Crazy!! She did handle the questions well but I think the judges didn't really like her phony perkiness. New York is a self-professed technology geek because it takes her twice as long to debug than to program something. She said she'd like to be but unfortunately that site is already taken and belongs to Diva Communications, Inc. and I'm sure they were thankful that Carrie plugged them! Her funniest answer was when she chose Bill Gates over the Backstreet Boys. "Bill Gates, come on!"

As for our little number starring Christina Aguilera with a fitness video playing in the background, it wasn't necessary and I don't even like that song she sang. "Genie in a Bottle" is ten times better! Didn't you get cold just watching the girls work out in those heavy jackets and scarves?

Lynnette with Miss Utah, Keri Hatfield

On to the swimsuit segment starring Lou Bega singing "Mambo No. 5" (a perfect song for a pageant) and the remaining delegates as a background band. Strangely enough, none of the girls' names that Lou Bega mentions in that song (Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Mary, Jessica, Pamela) were the names of any of the 51 delegates!! Lou also had to sing over background vocals so he wouldn't get distracted when the names were called.
Swimsuit competition:  South Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, New York
South Carolina looked great with superb abs. Colorado followed with very long legs and she gave us a nice little dance too. Iowa followed and she was very tone but everybody seemed to have noticed the moles on her stomach. New Hampshire followed and she had a horrible, horrible stance. I know she tried to gain weight for the pageant (which was different) but it seemed like she purposely tried to look fatter and I thought that was a little odd. Kansas followed and what else can I say but perfection, perfection, perfection! Future pageant contestants--strive to look and stand like Tiffany. Michigan was next but nothing really spectacular. Alabama followed and I liked how she gave us that one leg in front of the other walk about midway through. Jina has a great body. Next was Tennessee, the sensational Lynnette who wowed us with her fabulous figure. No surprise that she won this competition too! Next was Georgia who also had a great body. It was very tone and looked nice. And finally, the teensy-tiny Carrie Tucker from New York who would have scored higher if she was taller.

And now the evening gown competition.
Evening gown competition:  South Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, New York
Brian McKnight and Mark Wills singing "Back at One" sounded great and fit the atmosphere perfectly. First was South Carolina in a fiery red gown in which she looked "on fire!" Next was Colorado with a nice gold gown which was nice but wasn't enough to pull her into the top 5. Iowa followed in a wine-colored melange of tattered material. Jensie was one of my predictions and yes, I knew about this daring gown but she scored high in my bios so it didn't matter what gown she wore since her interview was superb. The gown made her arms look very muscular. Next was New Hampshire in a boring, shapeless red gown. I swear this girl should have been wearing a green dress because she was LUCKY to make it as far as she did. Bring on the breathtaking Tiffany Meyer of Kansas. This gown wowed everyone and actually won everyone's approval. Tiffany looked amazing! Michigan came out in a light blue gown which was nice. Now here comes Alabama as she gets the highest score in Miss USA history (although the score for Tavia Shackles, Miss Kansas 93 in the judge's question could have been higher--that was back in the day when they didn't show the complete score). Jina got a jawdropping 9.933 for a simple, black Pamela Dennis gown. But Vanessa Minnillo still holds the highest score of the three pageants (9.963 at Teen 98 swimsuit). Jina wore it so well and she had an awesome back, just like Pavlina Baburkova, Miss Czech Rep 93. Out came Tennessee's Lynnette wearing an exquisite black gown with the perfect shape. The goddess herself was stunning! Next was Georgia is a simple white gown with icicles on the breasts which looked elegant. And finally New York, this 'two-colored' gown was very nice but it couldn't save her height so unfortunately little Carrie got the lowest score in evening gowns.

the top 5:  Alabama, New Hampshire, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee





(Top 5)

"Who Wants to be Miss USA?"

South Carolina















New Hampshire






























New York





Lynnette and Carson Daly play Who Wants to be Miss USA?

After the announcement of the top 5, it was time for "Who Wants to be Miss USA?", a parody of the wildly popular gameshow "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Okay, now let me just say that it competition had its good points and bad points. It was a neat idea and all but we hardly learned anything about the delegates so I hope this format won't return next year. Carson made it funny with his blatant reluctance so I'm glad Carson saved this portion. The lifelines were interesting because it was a chance to see and hear the relatives of the contestants. Alabama was first and was asked to name a Marilyn Monroe movie, not to expand on why she likes it or anything, just pick an answer. It was just so stupid and pointless to just have them pick an answer. And she picked the wrong one at first!! Then she went to her lifeline, her mom in the audience to ask what a "flat cheer" was. "Dolly Parton need not apply"<--Now, that was funny. And of course, her mom knew best. Next was Tennessee, who also won this competition. I loved Lynnette's giggle to Carson's little comments. I thought she showed so much class and it was a selfless act when she chose to test her lifeline first. The father who adopted her, Larry Cole, gave the Habeas Corpus answer and obviously it wasn't La Vida Loca or Carpe Diem so of course, that was it. Her next answer "Venus Williams" had as one of its alternate answers "Vanessa Williams", a former Miss America. Um, should the Miss USA pageant be mentioning a former Miss America?! Next was New Hampshire who surprisingly managed to pull off 3rd position at this point with her Cannoli answer. Her grandfather was her lifeline and was asked to name swimmer "Amy Van Dyken" which he did and I like how Bridget said "Good job, Grandpa." Next came Georgia. You could see that they were rushing to move it along quickly at this point. She was asked to pick a "roundhouse" kick and "Tapas" as a Spanish dish. She was asked bad questions and was rushed so no surprise that she ended up 5th. She was the only one who didn't use a lifeline and they showed that she had a cheering section when she was announced in top 10 so it was unfortunate that she chose not to give any relatives any airtime. Finally, Kansas was great. She even gave the correct answer when it sort of wasn't there. Tiffany said the average heartbeat was 60-100 and they only had "72" as one of the answers so Tiffany was smarter than whoever wrote that question! With her dad as the lifeline, she was asked why Karl Malone (basketball player for Utah Jazz) is called "The Mailman". Her father said "He Delivers" and before Tiffany could even choose to agree, Carson cut her off and she ended up 4th. What a shame! Tiffany deserved better!

On to the announcement of the top 3, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Alabama. The final question was about Monica Lewinsky and her newfound celebrityism as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and the delegates were asked how they felt about that. Lynnette said that it was unfortunate how she became famous and then she said exactly what I wanted to hear, she could take this opportunity and turn it into a good one by helping others lose weight. New Hampshire basically said every aspect about this was negative. Alabama (the poor dear) just totally lost her composure. It was literally like watching her drowning in water without being able to save her. She tried to give a woman-power speech but she choked so badly when she started off that she just lost it. As Ali and Julie said, she probably wished that wasn't her final answer.

The farewell of last year's Miss USA, Kimberly Pressler was quite notable for several reasons. The sword salutes returned!! This was a nice return to the pageant tradition with which Miss USA was once synonymous. Kim looked the same during her farewell walk as she did the previous year and even did the same things by tripping on her dress twice. Alabama was announced 2nd runner up and after a long pause, Carson gave the wonderful announcement that New Hampshire was 1st runner up and Lynnette was Miss USA. Lynnette gave a fabulous memorable reaction as our dreams came true. To fully appreciate how special this win was, one had to have seen Miss Teen USA 1995 and know Lynnette's whole story which I'm sure most people watching the 2000 pageant did not know.

From left to right, Sean (Lynnette's biological brother), Gail Cole (mother by adoption), Lynnette, and Larry Cole (father by adoption)

On Feb. 7, Lynnette appeared on Regis and Kathie Lee. She talked about how she competed in pageants since age 15. That's what they're born and raised to do in the South. She is taking correspondence courses from Columbia State University studying pre-law to become a child advocate attorney. She talked about how she was a foster child at 10 months and the Coles' adoption of Lynnette and her brother, Sean, was finalized when she was 2. The Coles moved to Ohio and opened their home to 127 youths over 15 years. Kathie was very impressed by this saying, "I don't even know these people but I love 'em." They humourously asked if she moved in with Donald Trump. Regis' corrected Kathie is saying "Donald Trump's APARTMENT". Lynnette is sharing an apartment with Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe. When asked about the differences between Miss USA and Miss America, Lynnette said that they don't have talent competitions in Miss USA and later they showed the crown, got some oohs and aahs from the audience, and mentioned that she will be competing for Miss Universe in May in Cyprus.

Obviously, you know that I'm rooting for Lynnette at Miss Universe. The only other real competitor so far that can match Lynnette's excellence is Miss India, Lara Dutta, so Miss Universe 2000 is bound to a very exciting, competitive pageant. Again, congratulations to the most worthy and deserving recipient of the prestigious title of Miss USA 2000, Lynnette Cole. I never doubted it for a second and as you all know, I knew it from the beginning.

A goddess

Here's an interesting article about Lynnette written for the New York Post.

The newly crowned Miss USA yesterday said women contestants who are divorced or have had abortions have no place in the pageant.

"I think the Miss USA pageant should be done how it's always traditionally been done -- for single, childless women," said Lynnette Cole, 22, who won the crown Saturday night.

"People who are married, divorced, have kids or have had abortions -- they should branch off and have their own pageant."

The raven-haired stunner from Tennessee -- who'll now compete for the Miss Universe title on May 12 -- has more of a hard-luck story than most Miss USA winners.

At the age of 10 months, she was taken away from her mom in Detroit and, with her brother Shawn, placed with foster parents Larry and Gail Cole, who eventually adopted them.

"The Coles are the only real parents I've ever known," she said.

"I'm half Puerto Rican, half Caucasian, and I used to come home crying after kids would make fun of me for having a white mommy and daddy.

"My parents would hug me and tell me I was special because they chose to love me."

Now the long-limbed beauty -- who grew up with a slew of foster brothers and sisters -- says she plans to go to law school after her reign as Miss USA to become a child-advocate lawyer.


51 Candidates for Miss USA 2000

Alabama-Jina Mitchell
Jina was 1st runner up to last year's winner Doree Walker.
Alaska-Laurie Miller
Laurie was also Miss Alaska Teen USA 1997.
Arizona-Heather Keckler
Heather was also Miss Arizona Teen USA 1992.
Arkansas-Whitney Moore
An interesting notable incident occurred in this pageant, Whitney's 1st and 2nd Runner Ups were identical twins!
California-Rebekah Keller
Rebekah was also Miss California for Miss America 1997 and placed 5th in that pageant.
Colorado-Tiani Jones
Colorado has been fairly successful at Miss Teen USA recently so let's see if Tiani can do it for this state at Miss USA.
Connecticut-Sallie Toussaint
Now, this is an interesting situation and makes Miss USA 2000 that much more of an intense competition. Sallie was Miss World USA 1997 and placed in the semifinals of the 1997 Miss World pageant which was won by India's Diana Hayden. Sallie is very experienced in the pageant world and if she wins Miss USA, she will be the first American to compete in both Miss World and Miss Universe. Keep a close eye on Sallie.
Delaware-Jennifer Behm
Jennifer represents the state of the reigning Miss Teen USA. Do you think Delaware may win it again?
District of Columbia-Juel Casamayor
The country's capital has not won the title since 1964 and placed in the semis last in 1990. Can Juel do it?
Florida-Kristin Ludecke
Kristin was also Miss Florida America 1995.
Georgia-Patti Dunn
Patti has won a Georgia Teenager title but is new to the USA system.
Hawaii-Michelle Kaplan
Let us greet tropical Michelle with an Aloha!
Idaho-Brooke Gambrell
Yet another America-USA crossover. Brooke is a former Miss Idaho America.
Illinois-Constance Renee Stoetzer
Illinois is well known for sending well prepared girls but Illinois hasn't won the title since 1974. Can Constance do it?.
Indiana-Kristal Wile
Kristal is 22 and hails from Anderson.
Iowa-Jensie Grigsby
Iowa hasn't won the crown since 1956 but that winner, Carol Morris, became Miss Universe. Let's see if Jensie can do it for Iowa.
Kansas-Tiffany Meyer
Tiffany was also Miss Missouri Teen USA 1994 and placed in the finals at the national level. She was also 1st runner up to last year's Miss Kansas, Mandy Carraway.
Kentucky-Jolene Youngster
There was some expectation that Wendy Marshall would take this crown but unfortunately Wendy failed to make top 5. Kentucky hasn't made the semis since 95 and they have never won the title so Jolene has the chance to be the first Miss Kentucky to win Miss USA.
Louisiana-Jennifer Dupont
Wow, that was fast! Jennifer was also Miss Louisiana Teen USA 1998 and now she's going for Miss USA!
Maine-Jennifer Hunt
Rack up another one from the class of 1994. Jennifer also competed at Miss Teen USA 94.
Maryland-Christie Davis
Christie beat out former Miss Maryland Teen USA 1996, Jennifer Smith.
Massachusetts-Rosalie Allain
Shawnae Jebbia represented Massachusetts and won the Miss USA crown in 1998. Can Rosalie bring in a repeat victory?
Michigan-Jill Dobson
Jill was first runner up to last year's Miss Michigan, Shannon Clark who made the USA 99 semis. Now it's Jill's turn!
Minnesota-Paige Swenson
Yet another for the class of 94. Paige competed at Miss Teen USA 94.
Mississippi-Angie Carpenter
Angie was also Miss Mississippi Teen USA 1994 and was a semifinalist in the 1994 Miss Teen USA pageant.
Missouri-Denette Roderick
Denette has been a runner up several times in the Miss Missouri pageant but she got it this time.
Montana-Brandi Bjorklund
Brandi is 20 and hails from Bonner.
Nebraska-Valerie Cook
Nebraska hasn't made the semifinals since 1980 and this state has also never won the Miss USA title. Valarie has a chance to be the first.
Nevada-Alicia Carnes
"And what else do I have?...three cats!!" Alicia who was Miss Nevada Teen USA 1995 (the girl with tons of pets) is now Miss Nevada USA 2000.
New Hampshire-Bridget Vezina
New Hampshire has never won the crown and hasn't made the semis since 1980. Let's see if Bridget can do it.
New Jersey-Michelle Graci
New Jersey hasn't made the semis since 1997. Will Michelle do it for Jersey?
New Mexico-Christina Ortega
Arriba, chihuahua, viva New Mexico. New Mexico made the semis last year and last won in 1984. Let's see how Christina does.
New York-Carrie Tucker
The reigning Miss USA is from New York, so let's see if Carrie can rack up a double victory for NY.
North Carolina-Portia Johnson
North Carolina has never won the crown and NC last made the semis in 1994.
North Dakota-Amie Hoffner
Amie hails from Minot.
Ohio-Cheya Watkins
Chyea was also Miss Ohio America 1998.
Oklahoma-Amanda Penix
Oh my gosh, it looks like Miss USA 2000 is going to be the pageant of my dreams!!!! For those of you who read my
Thoughts of Miss Teen USA 1997, you will already know that Amanda was my prediction to win that year!! And she was my vote for Miss Photogenic that year too!! She consistently gave the best answers that night and was robbed of a spot in top three. She placed 6th at Miss Teen USA 97 and was also 1st runner up to last year's Miss Oklahoma, Dia Webb. Look for Amanda to be among my favorites but Tennessee (another all time fave) is still my winner so far.
Oregon-Elizabeth Heitmanek
The beautiful northwest coast gives us Elizabeth.
Pennsylvania-Angela Patla
Eighth time's a charm! Angela finally won the Miss Pennsylvania title after eight tries!
Rhode Island-Heidi St. Pierre
Lovely Heidi is 22 years of age.
South Carolina-Lisa Rabon
South Carolina has several titles to its name. SC has won Miss USA three times and two of those winners became Miss Universe in 1954 and 1980. This state also won the Miss World title in 1990 and won Miss Teen USA in 1998. This pageant was apparently pretty competitive so there's much pressure on Lisa.
South Dakota-Vanessa Shortbull
South Dakota hasn't made the semis since 1974. Can the state of Mount Rushmore finally do it this year?
At last! I have awaited this moment for a long while and now the dream has come true. One of my all-time favorite pageant contestants who was 4th at Miss Teen USA 1995 is the new Miss Tennessee!!!! Be absolutely 100% certain that she will be among the favorites for the crown and if she wins Miss USA, then I will be rooting loudly for her at Miss Universe! Go Lynnette!!!! You are my winner!!
Texas-Heather Ogilvie
Heather is 21 and both Heather and her sister, Valerie competed for the title of Miss Texas USA. Valerie also made the top 12.
Utah-Keri Hatfield
A student of University of Utah, Keri is a personal training and nutrition consultant.
Vermont-Kathryn Bolton
Vermont hasn't won since 1955 and last made the semis in 1982. Let's see if Kathryn can do it.
Virginia-Crystal Jones
Crystal is 26 and hails from Virginia Beach.
Washington-Jamie Kern
Jamie is 22 years of age.
West Virginia-Tara Shae Wilson
Tara is 23 years old and hails from Wheeling.
Wisconsin-Samantha Jo Picha
20 year old Samantha has a very unique look.
Wyoming-Rebecca Jane Smith
Rebecca is 20 and hails from Jackson Hole.