From the Miss World stage to the Miss USA stage to the Miss Universe stage goes Olivia Jordan! She is Oklahoma's first Miss USA. The Miss USA title has evaded Oklahoma many times even though they have captured six Miss America titles so what a win this is and Olivia more than proved herself worthy and that her experience on that Miss World stage paid off as Olivia absolutely gave the best final answers to her questions. In a daring gown that stood right out on that stage, she made us realize that choosing a questionable gown can make you a trendsetter if you have the goods and she certainly does. While I was originally thinking that Olivia was going to go the way of Sallie Toussaint, Miss World USA 1997 who later competed for Miss USA 2000 but did not place, Olivia did the exact opposite and won it all. This will make Olivia the first woman to represent the USA at both Miss World and Miss Universe. After being asked the final question, Olivia said she would like for Harriet Tubman to be the first woman to appear on American currency (the $10 bill) and that absolutely impressed me as it has become rare to hear an answer that really demonstrated that this woman is educated and knows her history. I severely regret placing her as only an alternate in my predictions. Although, initially it looked like the girl I did choose to win, Rhode Island's Anea Garcia was going to win, she buckled under the pressure and some unfortunate stumbles during her answer to her judge's question sealed her fate but she did manage to pull off a 2nd runner up placement which is coincidentally exactly where my winner for last year, Georgia's Tiana Griggs placed. Olivia Jordan was also first runner up to Miss California USA 2013, Mabelynn Capeluj who placed in the top 15 at Miss USA 2013. Olivia was later chosen to represent the USA at Miss World that year and would place in the top 20 of Miss World 2013. The 2013 Miss California USA pageant also seemed to have spawned some other Miss USA contestants: That pageant's 1st runner-up, Olivia Jordan won Miss USA 2015 representing Oklahoma. The 2nd runner-up Brie Gabrielle just won Miss Florida USA 2016 so she will compete next year for Miss USA. 3rd runner-up Natasha Martinez represented California this year but went unplaced. Top 10 finisher Elizabeth Cardillo represented Pennsylvania and was a non-finalist for Miss USA 2015 and other top 10 Finisher Brittany McGowan represented Nevada and finished 3rd runner-up at Miss USA 2015 so a big wow goes out to the class of Miss California USA 2013. Another interesting factoid pointed out to me by Brett was that on July 3, a Mexican-American (Victoria Mendoza) beat a former Miss America (Teresa Scanlan) for the title of Miss World America. At Miss USA, a former Miss World America beat a Mexican-American for the title of Miss USA. Oklahoma and Texas were the final 2 which flip-flopped the results of Miss USA 1989 and repeated the results of Miss Teen USA 1986.

Donald Trump announces he is running for President But oh, getting to the finals night of this year's Miss USA pageant was a turbulent, chaotic ride. On June 16, Donald Trump (who co-owns the Miss Universe family of pageants including Miss USA and Miss Teen USA) announced that he was running to be the Republican candidate for President and since then, he has risen to the top of multiple polls. However some comments uttered during his speech triggered a lot of boycotting of things associated with Trump. Many people took offense to one portion of Trump's speech when he said, "When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. (audience applauds) Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably, probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast." Donald Trump, Riyo Mori-Miss Universe 2007, Mario Lopez after the Miss Universe 2007 pageant in Mexico There is some speculation that the source of these comments came from when the behind-the-scenes deal for Miss Universe 2007 which was held in Mexico went awry. The 2007 Miss Universe pageant held in Mexico City was likely what soured Trump on Mexico. He was booed during his appearance but the recipient of the most boos that night was then Miss USA, Rachel Smith, who placed as 4th runner up even after falling during the evening gown competition whereas then Miss Mexico, Rosa Maria Ojeda Cuen made the top 10 but not the top 5 which angered members of the predominantly Mexican audience. This whole episode was reminiscent of the 1993 Miss Universe pageant which was also held in Mexico City. When Miss Mexico didn't make the top 10 that year, many members of that audience became raucous and booed loudly throughout the show daring to target then legendary host, Dick Clark and especially then Miss USA, Kenya Moore who also participated in the most recent Celebrity Apprentice featuring Trump in the leading role. Also, according to an article from Yahoo Finance, the Mexican businessmen responsible for paying the hosting fee of 6.5 million dollars to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Mexico in 2007 didn't pay the full hosting fee originally. One businessman paid 1 million dollars upfront out of the 6.5 million dollar hosting fee. As collateral for the remainder, he agreed to set up a trust containing 26 properties belonging to a second businessman. After the show was over, they refused to pay the remaining balance and it was impossible to claim the collateral and it turned out that the assets were never actually contributed to the trust. The Miss Universe organization went to court over this in Mexico and won but it got tied up in the Mexican court system and after interest and legal fees, the amount owed to the Miss Universe organization grew to 12 million dollars but they ended up not being able to collect it. On February 24, Trump tweeted, “I have a lawsuit in Mexico’s corrupt court system that I won but so far can’t collect. Don’t do business with Mexico!” Trump shortly thereafter vowed that Mexico would never host another Miss Universe pageant. The unravelling of Miss USA 2015 pretty much started on June 24 when one of the original performers, Latin singer J. Balvin said he would no longer participate at Miss USA because of Trump's comments and from there the Miss USA pageant started unravelling at the seams. Univision was slated to broadcast the Spanish version of Miss USA 2015 which was to be color commentated by Chilean actor Cristian de la Fuente, who has previously participated as a judge for Miss Universe 2000, and the Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez but all of them bailed. Originally 5 judges were announced: Former Miss Universe, Puerto Rico's Zuleyka Rivera, Property Brothers star Jonathon Scott, Football great Emmitt Smith (husband of Pat Southall, 1st runner up to Miss USA 1994), E! News co-anchor Terrence Jenkins, and country singer Jessie James Decker. As posted in my first round prethoughts, there was speculation that Catelyn Jenner (formerly Olympic champion, Bruce Jenner who is transitioning to become a woman) was rumored to also be a judge but any hopes of that happening were eliminated. Other originally slated performers all dropped out and they included: Flo Rida, Natalie La Rose and Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of the seventh season of The Voice. The original hosts, Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts said they will no longer be participating. Some sponsors pulled out and NBC Universal who co-owns the pageant also announced that it would not broadcast Miss USA this year even after recently signing a five year deal. Naturally, Trump has said that lawsuits will follow since there are many contracts being broken over this. Many businesses associated with Trump or selling his products also broke ties with him. A lot of Latin countries are also boycotting the next Miss Universe pageant (with a date and venue that has yet to be announced). But chances are pretty high that Trump is going to end up selling his stake in the pageants if they are to survive. The New York Post reported that he is looking for a buyer for his 49 percent share. Was the fact that there was no Miss Universe pageant in the calendar year of 2014 (delayed to late January 2015) a sign of things to come?

Hosts: Todd Newton and Alex Wehrley The 51 delegates arrived in Baton Rouge to this unsettling news but the show had to go on for these innocent bystanders caught in the middle who dreamed of this moment and it did as the pageant quickly had to find replacements. The pageant was broadcast in some states where it is available on a cable network, the Reelz channel who saw their highest ratings since a broadcast of the show "The Kennedys" as a result but the numbers were a little unclear. Originally, it was announced that 925,000 people watched the broadcast on Reelz even being beat by a re-run of "Full House" but that number later grew to 2.5 million which was still less than half of last year's audience said to have reached 5.4 million viewers when it was broadcast on NBC. The rest of us watched the webcast on YouTube including myself and at the time, YouTube fluctuated between 30 and 40 thousand people watching that live webcast. All of this was reminiscent of the Miss America pageant which was dropped by ABC so there was no Miss America pageant in the calendar year of 2005 just like there was no Miss Universe pageant in the calendar year of 2014. Miss America 2006 was broadcast in January of that year picked up by the network CMT similarly to Miss USA being suddenly dropped by NBC to be aired on Reelz so it's unclear at this point whether or not the next Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast on NBC or not. The Miss Teen USA pageant has not been broadcast on NBC since 2007 and it is currently webcasted each year. Will Reelz pick up Miss Teen USA on August 23 too or was this a one-time thing? Todd Newton stepped in to host and did a wonderful job. Todd was backstage commentator for Miss Universe 2001 and returned to the pageant stage along with Miss Wisconsin USA 2009, Alex Wehrley who also served as a co-host replacing originally scheduled hosts: Thomas Roberts and Cheryl Burke. Julie Alexandria served as backstage commentator replacing Jeannie Mai who originally stated that she wasn't going to drop out of the pageant but then later did.

In terms of my predictions, I picked 8 of the top 15 plus 3 alternates (2 of whom were the top 2 - Oklahoma and Texas so those were risky misses for me as well as Michigan who placed in the top 10) and 1 honorable mention (Illinois). The three that I missed entirely were: Delaware (who makes history being the first time that this state places at Miss USA so now every state has placed at least once), Hawaii and New York (both of whom were mentioned in the tier below my honorable mentions so this was a tough year to predict. The 7 ladies in my list that did not place were: Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Utah, Tennessee and Massachusetts. So what happened to my ladies that didn't place? Ohio sent stunning Sarah Newkirk who was an amazing delegate with one of the bodies of the pageant. She also had a unique gown that looked like a painting. It was colorful and she pulled it off very well. Others thought her look was more mature but I didn't see that. Perhaps her interview performance did it. North Carolina was one of three famous sisters competing this year. Julia Dalton is the younger sister of Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009 and Julia even placed as 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2008. Easily one of the best faces of this pageant, Julia was robbed but I've noticed that they tend to do this on purpose and leave out at least one of the delegates that would heighten the excitement of the competition significantly. For example, in 1998 we had two former Miss Teen USAs competing for the crown (Miss Teen USA 1992, Iowa's Jamie Solinger and Miss Teen USA 1994, California's Shauna Gambill) but only Shauna placed as 1st runner up and Jamie went unplaced so this wasn't the fight to the finish originally anticipated. Similar scenarios happened last year at Miss USA 2014 due to the participation of two 1st runner ups at Miss Teen USA (North Dakota's Audra Mari and Illinois' Lexi Atkins). Audra, like Shauna Gambill placed as 1st runner up at Miss USA and Lexi went unplaced like Jamie Solinger. Also, at Miss Teen USA 2014, Connecticut's Sydney West who is the younger sister of Miss Teen USA 2012, Logan West but Sydney went unplaced. Judges: (pictured left to right) Tara Conner-Miss USA 2006, Brook Lee-Miss Universe 1997, Danielle Doty, Miss Teen USA 2011, Rima Fakih-Miss USA 2010, Nia Sanchez-Miss USA 2014, Paula Shugart Allison-MUO president, Leila Lopes Umenyiora-Miss Universe 2011, Michelle McLean Bailey-Miss Universe 1992, Nana Meriwether-Miss USA 2012, Crystle Stewart-Miss USA 2008, Kimberly Pressler-Miss USA 1999 This year, of the famous sisters (North Carolina-sister of Miss USA 2009, Utah-sister of 3rd runner up to Miss USA 2013 and Virginia-sister of 2nd runner up to Miss USA 2004), only Virginia placed and she was eliminated in the first round when she could have gone a lot further. All I have to say is something is up with all of this and I don't like it. Utah's Nicol Powell was also very strong like her sister, Marissa Powell who was my prediction to win Miss USA 2013 but after an unfortunate final answer, she was relegated to 3rd runner up that year. So this I assume is a warning sign for all the famous sisters that may consider competing in the future. Florida's Ashleigh Lollie who studies law was also a stunning beauty with an exquisite gown and I likened her look to Aishwarya Rai-Miss World 1994 but Ashleigh also was eliminated which I assume was due to a low energy performance but perhaps she didn't want to be Miss USA this year given all the turbulence this year. Colorado's Talyah Polee looked stunning and glowed working her gown fabulously during preliminaries so I have no idea what happened there. Perhaps it was interview as Talyah experiences 3 losses at Miss Nevada USA before crossing over to Colorado to win that state crown. Tennessee's Kiara Young was quite accomplished and I loved her golden gown worn in the preliminaries. Knowing that she cheerleads for the Tennessee Titans made me sing, "Oh, I think I found myself a cheerleader." Some people weren't really a fan of her look and speaking skills though so the preliminary judges saw it their way but Tennessee is a very strong state that regularly sends one contender after another. Finally, Massachusetts' Polikseni Manxhari already sounds like a broadcaster and had an amazing overall look and being of Albanian descent like pageant photographer, Fadil Berisha, certainly didn't hurt so I have no idea what happened there. Indiana won the Photogenic Award... Um... Okay... and Alaska and Delaware both wearing yellow (the color of joy) won the Congeniality Award this year due to a tie. This wasn't the first time that happened though. It also happened in 1976. Kentucky was saved by an online vote as she was originally eliminated from the cut from top 15 to top 10 after the swimsuit competition so her save meant that the top top 15 was narrowed down to a top 11 this year. Also, there was another historical first this year. Due to the chaos that ensued leading up to this pageant with the original hosts, judges, performers, sponsors and broadcast networks all bailing on the pageant due to Trump's comments, a new panel of judges was selected and for the first time in Miss USA history, fans were delighted to learn that the panel of judges consisted of 9 former Miss Universe organization titleholders and they were: Michelle McLean-Bailey (Miss Universe 1992), Brook Lee (Miss Universe 1997), Kimberly Pressler (Miss USA 1999), Tara Conner (Miss USA 2006), Crystle Stewart (Miss USA 2008), Rima Fakih (Miss USA 2010), Danielle Doty (Miss Teen USA 2011), Leila Lopes-Umenyiora (Miss Universe 2011), Nana Meriwether (Miss USA 2012). Former titleholders also judged Miss World 2005 but the panel of judges for Miss USA 2015 made a much more sensible choice than the panel for Miss World 2005. A new set of hosts were selected and they did a fine job too! Did you notice though that all of the states represented by the formers who judged (2 from Texas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York) all placed? Things that make you go hmmm...



Winner=Oklahoma-Olivia Jordan

Winner=Rhode Island-Anea Garcia*

1st Runner Up=Texas-Ylianna Guerra

1st Runner Up=Ohio-Sarah Newkirk

2nd Runner Up=Rhode Island-Anea Garcia

2nd Runner Up=North Carolina-Julia Dalton

3rd Runner Up=Nevada-Brittany McGowan

3rd Runner Up=Florida-Ashleigh Lollie

4th Runner Up=Maryland-Mamé Adjei

4th Runner Up=Maryland-Mamé Adjei*

FINALISTS (alpha'l):


Alabama-Madison Guthrie

Colorado-Talyah Polee

Delaware-Renee Bull

Nevada-Brittany McGowan*

Hawaii-Emma Wo

Utah-Nicol Powell

Kentucky-Katie George

Tennessee-Kiara Young

Louisiana-Candice Bennatt

Louisiana-Candice Bennatt*

Michigan-Rashontae Wawrzyniak

Alabama-Madison Guthrie*



Arizona-Maureen Montagne

Kentucky-Katie George*

Illinois-Renee Wronecki

Virginia-Laura Puleo*

New York-Thatiana Diaz

Massachusetts-Polikseni Manxhari

Virginia-Laura Puleo

Arizona-Maureen Montagne*


ALTERNATES: Georgia, Texas*, California, Michigan*, Oklahoma*


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Illinois*, Mississippi, Maine, Wisconsin, New Mexico


* = made actual top 15

This is the second year that Miss USA was a 3 hour telecast which I wasn't sure if that was going to happen this year but it was likely originally scripted to be that length so the show aired as planned. But I might say that given the craziness, they actually pulled off a great show. After the introductions set to the songs, "Born on the Bayou", "She's a Bad Mama Jama" and "American Woman" with the ladies in three sets of outfits appropriately designed for the Louisiana setting, the new hosts did a fine job bringing us in and there were some very nice montages showcasing the delegates and their crowning moments during the telecast. The announcement of the judges and the 15 semifinalists in groups with introductory video highlighting their lives and stories, it was on to the swimsuit round. The Nothing But Crown band with Travis Garland stepped in to perform "Something Big", "Fun" and "Want to Want Me". Texas was up first. I took a big risk putting her as an alternate in my list as Texas is easily the most successful state at Miss USA. They did miss the cut last year and like 1999 and 2000, I was thinking it would be two in a row originally but I actually sensed that she not only would she place but that she would called first too. She has a decent body and all but her look just wasn't to my taste. At times, I felt she looked a bit snarky and I just wasn't overly impressed in the preliminaries even though others liked her but everyone sees things differently so you never really can tell what will happen. Maryland was a stunning exotic sista with a great face, hair, body and overall look. She has an upcoming stint in the next season of America's Next Top Model so Mamé isn't out of the spotlight just yet. Arizona had her supporters with her being half-Filipina and all but she placed exactly where I thought she would as I knew she would be eliminated in the swimsuit round as her body couldn't compare to the others. Michigan was told Roshantae, you stay after the swimsuit round. She does have a great body and had an impressive story about being raised by a single father and being an expert on cars so I wasn't surprised to see her place but I think she wasn't necessarily a pageant girl but her hair looked the part anyway. Virginia's Laura Puleo is the younger sister of 2nd runner up to Miss USA 2004, North Carolina's Ashley Puleo and the both of them have insanely ripped bodies but I did get the feeling she would be eliminated in the swimsuit round and she was. She will likely be a great lawyer as she speaks in a manner that demonstrates a maturity beyond her years. Rhode Island (my winner) showed us why she was my winner because this girl easily had the body of the pageant and not only that but she knew how to work it as this girl clearly had a catwalk that rivalled those of Venezuelan pageant pros. She did tone it down a bit for the all female judging panel but still she was undeniable. She had an emotional story about being the product of a rape when her mother was 13 and was therefore adopted by her grandmother and they were homeless living in a car for a while and they overcame that struggle. Kentucky followed and being the jock that she is gave her a naturally fit body. Hawaii was very thin with an indented waist and I wasn't sure how that look would be interpreted this year but she did manage a top 10 placement. New York had wider hips so I didn't think she would make it far if she placed. Her gown was designed by noted Venezuelan designer Gionni Straccia and while her styling was on point, I expected more power from her though as she is quite experienced in pageants. She also was a former Teen who placed in the top 15 at Miss Teen USA 2010 and she also placed in the top 10 at Miss Dominican Republic 2014. Oddly enough, Hawaii and New York both competed at Miss Teen USA but they didn't place as high at the Teen pageant yet placed at Miss USA whereas North Carolina and Georgia who were both runners-up to Miss Teen USA didn't place at Miss USA this year. Illinois was next and while fit, I thought she had more of a mature look to her. I sensed though as soon as I posted my predictions commenting that her gown made her vagina look huge because of the large distracting unusual fold on the front of it that she would place and she did! Standing out or going with the unusual worked for a lot of delegates this year but not all of them. Nevada had a very fit body as expected since she trained with former Miss USA, Shanna Moakler who directs Miss Nevada USA currently and she does make sure her girls show up ready for the competition. Oklahoma who would go on to win the crown showed up looking happy to be on the stage as she was living her dream. Delaware's Renee Bull made a little history and showed up letting all of us know that she works out. I actually didn't think she would place and break the Delaware curse though as while fit, the shape of her body looked a bit boxy and not as curvaceous. Louisiana stepped out rocking those ripped abs and making her home state proud that was gracious enough to not bail and continue to host this year's pageant. Finally, Alabama keeps the streak going with her strong overall look. Alabama has the longest streak in the Miss USA semifinals currently placing six years in a row now.

Of course, those nostalgic moments that were incorporated into the pageant were much appreciated especially by followers like me who have been watching and studying Miss USA pageants for years. When Julie Alexandria interviewed Erin Brady, you couldn't help but notice, Kristen Dalton-Miss USA 2009 sitting in the audience behind her looking down obviously because her sister competing this year didn't place. The video segment featuring interviews with former Miss USAs: Lu Parker, Shanna Moakler, Susie Castillo, Shandi Finnessey, Kristen Dalton, Olivia Culpo, Nana Meriwether reliving their moments of glory and how the title changed their lives.

Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, VirginiaThen it was on to the evening gown competition featuring a performance by Adley Stump singing "Little Black Dress" followed by a performance of "Just the Way You Are." When it came to the online save to keep one of the first five eliminated delegates to go into the top 11, Kentucky easily won the save so she had a plan in place. While the other 4 were struggling to even get up to 20 percent, Kentucky was consistenly over 40 percent as the results were being shown. As soon as she got a chance to celebrate being saved, Kentucky had to quickly switch to competition mode and came out in a classic liquid-beaded navy-blue gown with slit that looked divine but the online save usually proves to be worthless as she ended up getting eliminated again anyway similarly to Iowa's save last year and Texas' save in 2013. Nevada followed in a Joey Galon gown that immediately reminded me of Venezuela's Carolina Indriago who also wore a long sleeved gown with a large train while competing for Miss Universe 1999. Although, she opted to remove the train resulting in a slight stumble shortly afterwards, I actually wish she would have kept the train on. I like gowns that take me back to the 90s which was when my obsession with pageantry was at its peak. Hawaii followed in one of those dreaded granny-panty gowns but at least she wasn't blatantly trying to flash her cooch every five seconds like we've seen with other women who have competed in this style of gown. (I'm looking at you, Miss Russia 2012!) Rhode Island was the tallest delegate from the smallest state in the union and she followed in yet another gown that I was not expecting. Also, a Venezuelan design worn by a former Miss Apure, Anea showed off her assets but I really think she needed a gown with a slit to show off her legs as she had trouble walking in this gown throughout the night and it was almost too sexy with the see through stripe down the middle with conveniently placed rhinestones covering the right places but I like that girls are stepping up their game with some of these gowns. Maryland followed in a different black gown with sheer material covering the legs and had an almost villainous look to it with the spiky ruffles around the neck and shoulders and made me think of Maleficent. This gown also was almost a little too sexy but Mamé is a gorgeous girl but I wish she stuck with the black fishtail gown she wore in the preliminaries as I like how that one flowed on stage. Alabama was the one I was hoping would change her gown but she did stick with the greenish one which just had a homemade feel to it and I wasn't a fan of the material but it showed off her body nicely. Louisiana had a very nice gown. I loved the gradient effect of the silver to gold to bronze from the top to bottom. Michigan followed wearing the 70s choir girl looking white gown that she wore in her original portraits which she clearly could walk better in than the notorious Gatorade gown she wore in the preliminaries. Oklahoma followed in that polarizing pink costumey gown that looked very Teen and like something straight out of Barbie's wardrobe but as a child, Olivia said that she dreamt of competing for Miss USA in this type of gown. Originally, I thought it was a disaster but somehow, she made it work and there's no denying that you couldn't miss her on that stage so she stood right out in that gown. It reminded me of the gown Venezuela's Ivian Sarcos wore when she won Miss World 2011. Delaware followed in a joyful gown and she has a great personality but this was as far as she would go. Finally, Texas came out in another Gionni Straccia white gown that had a crystal-beaded train that others loved but it was one to which I was more or less neutral.

The top 5 of Miss USA 2015: (pictured left to right) Nevada, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas, Oklahoma The final 5 were announced: Oklahoma, Texas, Rhode Island, Maryland and Nevada who had to face the judges in the round of the judge's question. Oklahoma was up first and got Brook Lee's question which was, "The Confederate flag, excessive force by police and same-sex marriage are all recent hot button issues in our country. What do you think will be the next that we need to tackle on a national level?" Oklahoma answered, "I think that we still need to talk about race relations in this country. We have not solved this issue. We are still having problems and we keep hearing about new issues that are coming up. We really need to work on being an accepting society and being a society where every single person, no matter your race, no matter your gender is the given the same rights and opportunities." A very impressive answer from our eventual winner reminiscent of pageants of the 90s and prior. It's been a while since I've heard someone speak with this calibre and Olivia has obviously studied pageants and being on the Miss World stage also likely helped cultivate her into a woman who understands beauty with a purpose. Even though, Sallie Toussaint (Miss World USA 1997) competed at Miss USA 2000 without placing even though she made the top 10 at Miss World, there seems to have been a shift in how Miss World delegates are perceived in the Miss Universe system in recent years. Like Ada de la Cruz (1st runner up to Miss Universe 2009) and Yendi Phillips (1st runner up to Miss Universe 2010) who both competed at Miss World 2007 only placing as semifinalists before excelling at Miss Universe in their respective years which is a route that Olivia is likely to follow. Miss World places more emphasis on interview skills over the body. Next Texas was asked by judge Michelle McLean-Bailey in her amazing voice, "Last year, CEOs in the United States made around 300 times as much as the average worker's salary. Should the government impose boundaries on salaries of executives?" Texas responded, "That's a very good question. You know, I think that if you work hard enough you can attain anything. This is the land of opportunity and CEOs, I believe that they work hard enough for their money, so they should be able to attain whatever it is that they are working for. Thank you." Texas gave a safe answer and explained her reasoning for her choice well. Rhode Island followed choosing Tara Conner's question, "Recently, comedian Jerry Seinfeld spoke out against political correctness in our culture. Do you think political correctness is hurting or helping this country and why?" Rhode Island's response was, "That's a very good question. (giggles) I think that it's a balance of both. Um, we definitely need... I'm sorry. Would you please repeat the question once more? (Tara repeats question.) (pauses) I think that it's a balance of both. We need, we need the people to remind us especially politicians to remind us what to do right and what to do wrong and it's never... (bell chimes)" Sigh. Like some of my winners past, such as Larissa Meek (2001) and Marissa Powell (2013), this winner of mine, Anea had an epic flub and it was heartbreaking to see this happen. I think she kind of second-guessed what political correctness actually was or perhaps didn't know what it was at all and after this answer, I thought she was on her way to a 4th runner up finish. Maryland chose fellow Marylander, Nana Meriwether who asked, "The United States has agreed to formally reopen its embassy in Cuba. Do you think this change with be a positive one for both countries?" Maryland responded, "I think that it will be a positive trade. I think that it is an awesome thing to open our doors to all countries, all nations and to mend our relations with everyone. Uh. We should not be holding on to old grudges. We should be moving forward and accepting each other and loving one another and moving forward so that we can create better relations, better society, govern our countries better that way." Finally, Nevada chose Crystle Stewart's question, "What would you do to improve race relations in the U.S.? Please be specific." Nevada responded, "What I would do to improve race relations in the U.S. is get more races grouped together and be able to be with each other in a.. in a.. non... Let's see. I apologize. I think what we need to do is bring (light squeal) (giggles). We need to be more accepting of each other and we need to bring people together. That's what I think we need to do. Thank you so much." Nevada also had a flub but she managed to pull it together at the end and this really showed how this is an intimidating round and really tests how the ladies will be under pressure.

Oklahoma's Olivia Jordan answers her question Then it was on to the final question which was submitted on the Miss USA Facebook page from David Scott Cartledge of South Carolina, "In the year 2020, a woman will appear on the 10 dollar bill. Which American woman would you like to see on the first printing of the bill and why?" Oklahoma's response was, "Well, I wish that Oprah was an eligible candidate 'cause I would love to see Oprah on a bill. But there are some amazing women in American history. I think Harriet Tubman would be a beautiful example of where we have been and how far we are coming and how far we still have to go. Thank you." Excellent answer. Olivia prepared very well and this answer demonstrated that she knows her history and Harriet Tubman was a brilliant choice. She threw in Oprah at the beginning as a bit of a dismissive who Maryland actually chose in her answer so it may been right here where Olivia sealed the deal and won the crown and sent Maryland to 4th runner up. Texas answered, "That's a very good question. Um. On the bills that we have right now, they are all of presidents and so I think we should just wait until the upcoming election. We have a both republican and democratic candidate running for president and so I think we should just wait and see." I wonder if she calls every question a 'very good question'... I think this was a cleverly evasive answer that more or less said Hillary Clinton without actually saying Hillary Clinton. Rhode Island's answer was, "I think that it's long overdue that we haven't had a woman on our dollar bill. Having gone to an all girls' school, I realize that there are so many powerful women that can really be an example and the woman that I would choose would have to be Catherine McAuley. Uh, she was a founder of the Sisters of Mercy and she... she founded our school because she really wanted to show the world that women are really, can really be empowering to the rest of the world to be an example and an advocate as well as an inspiration." I think had only slightly redeemed herself from her previous answer but this choice was just okay. I think one of the downfalls of the religious private school system is the lack of exposure to much of the outside world and this choice told me that she knew more about her school's history rather than American history. Maryland's answer was, "Honestly, I would like to see Oprah. I think she's a great role model. She's a person that has transcended so many adversities. She's an example of someone that has been steadfast in following her dreams, never letting go and always holding herself accountable to reaching her goals and that is someone that I hold in high esteem and I look up to and I want to be just like that woman because of the things that she has gone through and the things she has surpassed. No matter what you go through, you can do whatever you want and that to me is inspiring." Even though Oklahoma dismissed Oprah as a legitimate answer to this question earlier, Maryland gave some solid reasoning for her choice but she kind of rambled. Nevada answered, "I would love to see Rosa Parks on the 10 dollar bill. That would be fantastic. As an African-American woman, I feel connected to her. I owe it to her. I'm here because of her and it's... it would be fantastic. I think it would be amazing to have Rosa Parks on the 10 dollar bill and I'd like to say that race relationships should be helped. It starts at the home so I think if we just continue to bring respectfulness from home, we'll solve it." So we have interesting scenario here where Nevada tried to re-answer her previous question after having had time to think about it but her redemptive answer wasn't delivered as well as it could have been so she probably should have left that alone and just answered the question at hand. Rosa Parks was a decent choice.

The top 2 The top 2 After Nia Sanchez said her farewell, we learned the results. Maryland was 4th runner up, Nevada was 3rd runner up, Rhode Island was 2nd runner up, Texas was 1st runner up and Oklahoma won Miss USA 2015. I was quite shocked actually that Maryland finished 4th runner up even though that's exactly here I placed her in my predictions because I thought her were actually quite strong and based on the final results, a lot of people probably thought Rhode Island or perhaps Nevada would have been 4th runner up but remember, the final vote is based on the judges' overall impression and not just the final answer. The fact that she got 2nd runner up tells me that she would have won had she given strong answers to her questions. Maryland was probably 5th coming in to the top 5 which would explain her final placement. History was made this year as Delaware also finally placed so now every state has placed at least once. It only took 64 years. That's all. Oklahoma wins its first crown and this winner, Olivia Jordan will be the first woman to represent the USA at both Miss World and Miss Universe. She is the first to wear the new DIC crown from the Czech company that has designed it with the New York skyline in mind and it bears a similarity to the Miss Universe crown, of course but with stars and bridges on it. While some prefer crowns of the past, this one will take some getting used too. And of course, it has its detractors like my friend MJ who calls it the "DIY" crown feeling like it looks like something made in an elementary school project. Back to Olivia, with some screen credits under her belt, she is quite accomplished. A bit of a scandal surrounds her having a nude scene in the TV series, "Murder in the First" where her bare bottom was seen but this hasn't been seen as grounds for dismissal. Similar scandals have served as pre-pageant publicity in the past such as Puerto Rico's Joyce Giraud's who was still allowed to compete for Miss Universe 1998 where she finished 2nd runner up after semi-nude photos of her surfaced but they were deemed tasteful and not grounds for taking away her crown. Also, did you notice some parallels between this pageant and Miss USA 2012? Like that the winners were both named Olivia. In my predictions, I pointed out that the top 3 states of Miss USA 2012 (Rhode Island, Maryland, Ohio) were all in my top 5 but in the actual top 5, it was Rhode Island, Maryland and Nevada (instead of Ohio) that made it. This is also the fourth year in a row that has a state that has won Miss USA for the first time so will that streak keep going next year? So Miss Teen USA is up next in the Bahamas on August 23 and this is a very uncertain time so we have yet to see when and where the next Miss Universe pageant will be but at least Miss USA happened so we'll just have to watch and see how this all plays out!

 The Prethoughts - Miss USA 2015




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP