“I have one thing to say. Sashay, Shauntay. Shauntay-Shauntay. Shauntay-Shauntay-Shauntay. It don’t matter what you wear. They’re checkin’ out your savoir-faire.” Okay, I’ll stop. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Ah, politics and pageants. Where to start? First of all, the nation’s capital winning the Miss USA crown seems appropriate following the events of September 11. But I’m content with Shauntay winning the crown although my prediction was the lovely Miss Kelly Lloyd of Indiana. It looked like Kelly had this one in the bag. One of the many reasons was because she is biracial just like Miss Teen USA, Marissa Whitley. Where’s the connection, you ask? Well, ever since 1997, I’ve noticed that Miss USA winners look like they could be the previous year’s Miss Teen USA’s older sister. Shawnae Jebbia looks like she could be Shelly Moore’s big sister. Kimberly Pressler could be Vanessa Minnillo’s big sister (okay, this one is a bit of a stretch but both of them have Asian blood—Vanessa’s half-Filipina and Kimberly is ¼ Japanese). Lynnette Cole could be Ashley Coleman’s big sister. Kandace Krueger could be Jillian Parry’s sister and now Shauntay Hinton easily passes for Marissa Whitley’s big sister (similar hairdo and all). Now, that I’ve pointed this out…it probably won’t happen next year…or will it???

As for hosts, Deion Sanders, Ali Landry, and Kandace Krueger. Deion did a decent job up until he started asking the girls their final questions at which point his delivery became painfully annoying. Ali was great. Who needs Julie Moran, when we’ve got Ali?!?! She seriously did a great job. Her experience in the past years really paid off. Kandace Krueger did a decent job as background commentator. She looked a lot like Pamela Dennis at times.

As for the Rock Americana style opening, the delegates looked awesome in their outfits that blended old and new styles together. Many of the delegates seem so much more real than the delegates of yesteryear. The intros were dizzying at times, with the jumps from the video screen to the actual person. I don’t understand why this part has to go so fast and the musical numbers just seem to drag on for all eternity. At least, we got to hear all the delegates but we could easily give them 5 seconds instead of 2. My favorite intro of the bunch was Massachusetts. The musical numbers were unnecessary but I was expecting them so this year I was prepared for them. Michael Bolton, Sara Evans, and Joe appeared before the audience to eat up time with their forgettable songs.

This year marked the return of the top 12! Definitely a step up! The semifinals seemed that much better and fuller since we got to see 2 more delegates. Apparently, they decided to go with 12 due to an unbreakable tie. So many question is why there wasn’t a top 6 in Miss Teen USA 2001 when Miss California Teen USA was denied a spot in the top 5 when she and Massachusetts had an exact tie for 5th in the semifinals. I was very suspicious about the “real” reason for having a top 12. Was it to include a certain delegate??? Possibly one from New York (think World Trade Center)??? Hmmmm…. In any case, I hope they keep this idea of having a top 12. We haven’t seen a top 12 since 1995 and it’s high time that it returned for good.

So how were my predictions this year? Well, I got 5 out of the 12 semifinals, plus 1 alternate, and 1 honorable mention.



Winner=District of Columbia-Shauntay Hinton

Winner=Indiana-Kelly Lloyd*

1st RU=Kansas-Lindsay Douglas

1st RU=Colorado-Keely Coe Gaston

2nd RU=Indiana-Kelly Lloyd

2nd RU=Kansas-Lindsay Douglas*

3rd RU=Minnesota-Lanore Van Buren

3rd RU=3rd RU=Tennessee-Allison Leigh Alderson

4th RU=Connecticut-Alita Hawaah Dawson

3rd RU=4th RU=Illinois-Amanda Sue Reynolds



South Carolina-Katherine Ashley Williams

Texas-Kasi Laine Kelly*

Texas-Kasi Laine Kelly

District of Columbia-Shauntay Hinton*

Louisiana-Anne-Katherine Lené

Alabama-Tara Tucker*

Alabama-Tara Tucker

Georgia-Heather Hogan

Rhode Island-Janet Lynn Sutton

Michigan-Rebekah Decker

California-Tarah Marie Peters

North Carolina-Alison English

New York-Karla Cavalli

Missouri-Melana Scantlin


ALTERNATES:Rhode Island*, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arkansas


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Minnesota*, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington

* = made actual top ten


So, what about my girls that didn’t make it? Colorado was strong in all rankings for me so I expected her to do well and I guess the prelim judges saw things differently. Tennessee didn’t make it which was quite a shock and Allison Alderson’s look has changed quite a bit since Miss Teen USA. Her eyebrows almost looked too blond. Illinois had a huge crowd cheering for her but she didn’t make it and I have no idea why. Perhaps it was interview. Georgia was another shocker. Lots of people had her on their lists. Michigan had a 4-year streak in the semis but that’s history now. This year’s delegate had a nice gown. North Carolina had a nice gown. Missouri probably tried very hard but her height may have hurt her chances. As for the girls who did make it, there were no jawdropping surprises but just a few boring choices.

So, what about the “less than congenial” delegates that made the semis as referred to by Wisconsin and Mississippi?? Well, it was more than obvious that New York was one of them. You can actually hear it in Karla’s voice. She is a rough, tough, no nonsense, New York attitude type of girl and I got the impression that she may have been saying something to the effect of “the World Trade Center collapsed, therefore I’m making the semis.” As for the other uncongenial delegate, my guess (judging from the lack of applause from the other delegates during the evening gown competition) is Rhode Island, and perhaps to a lesser extent, Connecticut. Of course, I was not backstage to see what actually happened but the delegates made some things clear about who they actually didn’t like with their body language throughout the night. But, hey, this is exactly what the public wants to hear! They don’t want to know that girls who are competing against each other are getting along splendidly…The public wants cattiness and it looks like the claws came out this year.

The video segments were great showing the girls talking about how they got into pageants, misconceptions about beauty, their flaws, and pickup lines. Wyoming’s experiment of dyeing her hair from blond to brown resulting in a higher GPA was very interesting! Among the judges, we had Jermaine Jackson (so that’s what Michael Jackson is supposed to look like!), Nikki Ziering from the Price is Right (interesting to note that Claudia Jordan, Miss Rhode Island 97 and RI Teen 90 is also a Barker’s beauty), and we see Dr. Joyce Brothers, yet again.

The introductory walk where the delegates worked the runway showed DC showing off awesome thigh-high slit jeans, New York’s skirt was unusual. South Carolina’s bellbottoms were eyecatching and California had that Coyote Ugly look going on. Soon followed, the swimsuit competition which wasn’t broken up this year. With fire rising on the stage and the rock music in the background, the delegates showed off their bodies. In recent years, we’ve been seeing a lot of the fire fountains as opposed to water fountains like we used to see during the swimsuit competition. Interesting contrast. DC was first and a deliciously nice muscled body and she certainly does walk to be noticed. New York actually impressed me in spite of her height. She has great abs, a very nice stance and I was surprised at the low score. Perhaps the judges knew something about the cattiness. Kansas followed looking very appealing with nice legs and flowing hair. Her waist was a little wide but how can you not like her?? Minnesota has a nice body. I wouldn’t say it was the best even though she won the swimsuit competition. Louisiana was very blah—nothing outstanding. Rhode Island has great legs and she did look very good overall. South Carolina looked okay and had a nice stance but I would have liked to have seen her work it a little more. Texas was next. I’m glad Kasi kept her hair down but one thing that I noticed was her wide hips. Connecticut was certainly fit and had a nice body. Alabama was just long and skinny with little muscle but she walked gracefully. California followed in the dreaded one-piece. The one-piece is a kiss of death these days and I found it very unusual that a California girl would wear a one piece, especially since it did absolutely nothing for her. It made her waist look big. Indiana looked gorgeous and built. It looks like her hips have filled out a bit but she looked to be in great shape.

Next was the gown competition with the same 'wordless' song as last year (Funky Guitar by TC 1992 Berry). Again, I liked this really upbeat evening gown competition. DC had a nice one shoulder white gown. She walked slow and elegant and she looked very graceful. New York followed in a very sexy gown. She walked very nicely to the music. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I loved that twirl she did when her skirt opened at the bottom because it was definitely the highlight of the entire gown competition. It was beautiful. Kansas won the gown competition in a lovely, yet simple, white gown. Minnesota had a slinky, body clinging silk gown draped over her. It was pretty nice but I think I preferred her white preliminary gown. Louisiana followed looking like “Midnight in Antarctica” in a nightgownish number. It did nothing for me. Rhode Island had a very nicely shaped red gown and it fit her body very nicely. South Carolina followed in an ordinary gown that wasn’t outstanding, just safe. Texas’ gown was made of nice material but it did accentuate her wide hips and it made her breasts look like they started just above her stomach. Connecticut looked elegant in her velvety gown. Alabama followed in a Tiffany Meyer knockoff. It normally is a good idea to stick with what works but sometimes you just have to be a little more original. California followed in a black gown with some a leather stripe on the bodice. It wasn’t really a great gown. Indiana, on the other hand, had a spectacular beaded gown that all the right cuts, moves, and flares. Kelly looked fantastic.

For the first time in history, the top 5 contained 4 black delegates. A lot of people were reminded of Miss Universe 1988 when 4 Asians made the top 5. I shouldn’t be drawing attention to this since they are ALL, first and foremost, Americans…so I won’t! I didn’t really object to any of the choices for the top 5, except perhaps Connecticut but the rest deserved their spots. I did think it was interesting for Connecticut to do so well since she was very open about being a Muslim. It would have been quite controversial to have a Muslim Miss USA shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks so it seems likely that her openness about her religion helped her make it very far. It was funny that 3 of the girls in the top 5 were next to Miss New York when they were called in. Kansas reacted happily, looked at New York, realized it was her, and sort of walked away. DC and Minnesota avoided her entirely. Very funny stuff!

Now the top 5 had to answer questions submitted by other delegates. Kansas chose Vermont’s question, “How have the events of Sept. 11 affected you personally?” Kansas responded by saying that her family meant more to her and that life is short and those who died in the attacks are now angels looking down on us. Vermont thought she sounded sincere, I thought it was a nice answer, perhaps a little on the goody side, but still decent. Indiana picked Kansas’ question. Alarm bells!!! What if Kansas chose her own question??? That wouldn’t have been fair! Anyway, she asked if she would rather have a strong president with weak morals or a weak president with strong morals. Of course, Kelly said the only “right” answer to that question which was a weak president with strong morals because the strong in heart can become stronger people and rise to the top. DC chose SC’s question, “Bush said, ‘America is in a war for freedom.’ What freedom is most important to you?” DC said active citizenship, meaning being informed and volunteering, is one freedom we can’t deny. DC answered well as she sounded confident but just a little rehearsed. Minnesota chose Washington’s question, “If one of the delegates received the questions in advance, what would you do?” Instantly, I was having Marena Bencomo flashbacks. Instead of repeating Marena’s awesome answer, Minnesota said that it wouldn’t be fair to others but she would have no feelings of animosity because once you are up there, all you can do is be yourself and answer to the best of your ability. Not a bad answer but not as outstanding as Marena’s answer. Connecticut chose Missouri’s question asking if she would support a casino in her state since gambling can be an addiction. Connecticut was quick to reply that she already 2 casinos in her state, named them, and said we just have to reach a happy medium and for gamblers to just have self control. I was impressed! Very straightforward and down to earth answer and she was quick to name the casinos in her state. Good job, Alita!


The final question asked to the final 5 was, "What is the most mind boggling thing about the opposite sex?" A very good question. It was better to have a lighter, fun final question than something serious. Kansas thought of her boyfriend and asked why men suddenly become coaches while watching sports on TV. Good answer. Indiana also recalled her boyfriend watching in Florida saying that he can remember romantic moments but tends to forget important dates, but he sends flowers and luckily he remembered Kelly’s birthday during the time they were at the pageant. Another great answer. DC simply said the way men think. One minute they’re hot and then they’re cold and DC is left wondering, “Why didn’t he call me today?” I didn’t think this answer was better than Kansas or Indiana but I think it was the way she naturally said, “why didn’t he call…” succeeded by laughs as if she was so comfortable on stage. Minnesota (followed by way too many “come on”s from Deion—annoying!!!) said the way they think and then let it slip out that she thought men were not as intelligent as women. Yikes! The audience reaction was a total mix!! Minnesota realized what she had said and tried to save herself with an “opposites attract” statement. It was a funny situation. Finally, Connecticut tried a “Can I get a witness, ladies” appeal to get the women in the audience on her side in stating that men never share their emotions even if feelings between her and a man are mutual. She concluded with a, “Can you answer that for me, Deion?” Deion said maybe later and that was that.

Finally, Kandace Krueger said farewell in a gown that had a similar shape to the gown she won in but it had silver waves on it. At the end, Connecticut was 4th runner up, Minnesota was 3rd runner up, Indiana was 2nd runner up (sniff), then as Kansas and DC stepped center stage, it was announced that Kansas was 1st runner up and DC won Miss USA! The reaction was funny because Kansas tried to hug DC and DC was all over the place. She said her knees buckled but shortly after Shauntay was sashed and crowned. Shauntay will be a good Miss USA. She has an unconventional look that will get her noticed. Now, the nation’s capital has captured its second crown (the first was in 1964). Shauntay has a new song to sing and what else can I say other than…She’s Capital!