Ah, Controversy, thy name is Donald Trump!

So just what is my reaction to the reactions to the 1999 Miss USA pageant? BLOWN WAAAAY OUT OF PROPORTION!! There were tons of people e-mailing and posting remarks on this pageant all over the place with rumors flying left and right! The "Pussycat" song for the swimsuit competition was considered inappropriate because of the word "pussy". A little too suggestive but some people said something about "pussy-power" in the song and I didn't hear "pussy-power" in that song once!!! Then there were Shemar Moore's lewd remarks and sexual innuendoes throughout the pageant, which I also thought people took way too seriously even though he was the host. It's plain to see that the pageant is trying to reach a newer audience and is breaking free from the regular pageant traditions that turn people off to pageants. The ratings for this year's Miss USA had the best Friday night ratings for CBS but I think Shemar Moore being the host may have had something to do with that. Now, where I draw the line is when people left and right are writing "Shame-on-you" type complaint letters to the Miss Universe organization. I really do not think that this type of response is necessary! But where it really gets ugly is where many people are suspicious about Kimberly Pressler's win and starting such rumors as: she worked for the Miss Universe Public Relations department and all this. But before going on, I have to comment from the beginning of the pageant to the end.

Kimberly Pressler was originally Miss New York Teen 1994 and competed in Miss Teen USA against the one and only Shauna Gambill, whom you will all remember as the winner of Miss Teen USA 1994 and first-runner up to Miss USA last year. Who would have known that a nobody like Kim Pressler back then would arise to hold a major title that Shauna couldn't snag?! I wonder what Shauna's reaction to this win was!

As you can see, I got five out of ten semifinals just like Ali. I picked Indiana as the winner because I thought she was stunning and definitely had the "diverse" look that the Miss USA pageant has been seeking recently but Kim Pressler is also 1/4 Japanese so I guess she fits the bill. California was just obvious for top 3 and Iowa was sort of a last minute throw in because I felt that Jamie Solinger was owed for last year and her sister actually looked very elegant in her gown so I thought she would be in there. I really didn't like Miss Texas either and I only in put her in because Texas usually does well. However, one of the biggest regrets I had was placing Tennessee only as a semi-finalist because her pictures did not do her justice AT ALL! After hearing Morgan speak, I was just taken aback because she has such a glimmering personality and her look was unique, classy, and very eloquent especially after seeing her in that gown! She had a very distinct brand of beauty that I really enjoyed. This just goes to show you that you have to hear the girls speak to make accurate predictions because that makes all the difference!

WINNER= New York-Kimberly PresslerWINNER=Indiana-Pratima Yarlagadda
1st Runner Up=Tennessee-Morgan High1st Runner Up=California-Angelique Breaux
2nd Runner Up=California-Angelique Breaux2nd Runner Up=Iowa-Jaclyn Solinger
4. South Carolina-Lauren PoppellTexas-Carissa Blair
5. New Mexico-Michelle RiosOklahoma-Dia Webb
6. Indiana-Pratima YarlagaddaFlorida-Melissa Quesada
7. Virginia-Kellie LightbournMichigan-Shannon Clark
8. Oklahoma-Dia WebbSouth Dakota-Shawna Gross
9. Ohio-Melinda MillerKansas-Amanda Carraway
10. Michigan-Shannon Grace ClarkTennessee-Morgan High

I knew that since Miss Teen USA 98 had a good format that this was a good sign for USA 99 and, sure enough, it was proven. It seemed much bigger this year with a bigger stage and the delegates did the dancing which I liked seeing. The music was also very polished and better than last year. And so the stage was set in Branson, Missouri and the stage opened up behind Shawnae Jebbia as the audience roared. But then the same song as last year, "We can touch the dream in the heart of the USA" was played but my friends and I noticed that "the 1999 mix" was much more polished and actually sounded professional this year, which I was glad to hear. Again, I liked the background pictures but I wish they would show the prelim scores again. Since they didn't show it for Miss USA this means that they won't for Universe so this upsets me somewhat. Seeing how Shemar confessed that this was his first time hosting a pageant, I could see that Shemar was unnecessarily trying to fill in the voids by saying things like "show some love" and "stomp, scream and shout" when announcing the top ten. However, he did try something different and I appreciated that he tried to make it cooler. I especially liked Tennessee's reaction but I have to admit that the "boobshots" right before Miss Oklahoma was announced weren't necessary. That may have been an accident though! YEAH RIGHT!

On to the press conference, which had some of last year's questioners blended with some new ones. Ohio was first and I think she handled her questions fairly. That name your cousins question was flat out stupid but I guess it tests the lady's ability to handle any question. I liked her statement "beauty comes from within" when she asked about make up advice. Virginia was next and you could tell she was really into this. I wasn't the least bit surprised that she won the in-style award. She had an excellent attitude and was energetic. That "Oui, oui, Can I have a sandwich" in a French accent may have been offensive to some viewers but I think she was fine. I really hate to say this but it sounded like the audience was laughing at (and not with) New York especially when asked from whom she would like to catch a football and she said, "Tiger Woods...I like him." That was just silly, I'm sure she could have thought an actual football player! She seemed a little naive and innocent but I guess this was a quality desired by the judges. I loved Tennessee, she was bright, outgoing, and humorous especially when she flat out said that she has short hair because she doesn't like to do it! She faltered a little bit when she forgot about that Dr. Seuss book at the end but she held it together and still pulled off second in the press conference. I thought it was neat that Michigan's father's name is Kent Clark, and he was referred to as her Superman. She was also pretty funny and sweet. Her "I'm 6' tall and I like to wear heels" remark was funny and I liked how she said "you are looking gorgeous, girlfriend!" Hilarious! California was next and a lot of people said she was somewhat unnatural and I think what may have driven this thought was her not wanting to knock anyone out and saying that everything was fine back stage. She'd also like to see Monica Lewinsky wearing the "Big A" (Scarlet Letter). Nice answer. Next was my fave, Indiana. She seemed a little shaky but I liked her style very much. Did you notice the questioner said you come from Shipshewana, INDIA?! Why don't we just take the "NA" off her India-na sash then?! The funniest thing she said was that if she was stranded on an island, she would take (of two things) a flare, and a bag of rice because that's all they eat at home! Next was "Wild Eyes" Oklahoma with her opera singing with which she ended very nicely. She handled everything well and seemed very mature but simultaneously fun. Did you notice that Kelly Lebrock gave her a 5.00? Oops!! South Carolina followed and I didn't think she was all that bright. She said Ben Affleck was whom she would like to see in a swimsuit when Shemar was standing right next to her. I'm sure he hated her after that. New Mexico was funny but her humor seemed a little forced to me. I don't exactly know how to explain it. That Wimoweh question was stupid and she was subtle about her crush on Shemar. She got the audience laughing with her "everybody's feet stink" remark.

When Shemar asked those two girls in the audience if he could watch them parade around in their swimsuits, I hated that girl who said "But of course". I also noticed Arkansas 98, Kami Tice appearing again to talk to Ali about defending the swimsuit competition. The "Backstage News" clips before and after commercials were better than "Postcards from the Road" from last year. I liked Miss West Virginia's hairdon't and Miss Virginia's cutesiness but California made it too obvious that the little accidents were intentional. I actually regret badmouthing last year's fitness video because this year's was better with "spice"-ier music and it wasn't too long either. For the swimsuit competition, the swing music was a nice touch and energetic. Ohio looked very nice in the only one-piece swimsuit. She had excellent form and looked very nice. Virginia's spunk just lit her on fire and she twirled nicely and really got into it, which I like to see. I hope New York does some toning up before Miss Universe because she really looked like she was all of nothing with little muscle but she did get a high score. Her stance to elongate her thighs was good nice she isn't all that tall. Tennessee looked sensational with nice legs and form. Michigan had a horrible, horrible stance, which did not flatter her form. She didn't flex but she did suck in because you could see the ribs. California looked sensational with her tone body and long legs and busts pushed up and together. Indiana looked nice with her tone legs but I would suggest some sit-ups because you could sort of see some rolls but she looked nice. Oklahoma had long legs but that torso did not look as extended perhaps because the panties were up too high. South Carolina had an excellent stance and New Mexico probably could have tried to look a little better. I also wanted to add that Ali and Julie said that there was a tie for the swimsuit competition and said that both California and South Carolina get the prizes but this never happened before!! I don't think that was correct because South Carolina had a 9.6467 and California had a 9.6417 but the screen showed that they both had 9.64 but South Carolina won so I don't know what's going to happen with that.

The evening gown competition was put to a very nice song sung by Collin Raye. There were a lot of white gowns this year. Ohio was first and she looked nice in her white gown. Virginia looked very calming in her elegant blue gown but when she stuck out her leg it just didn't look long enough so this may have cost her the marks. New York followed in a simple white wedding dress adorned with jewels and it did look nice. Tennessee's long sleeved black gown was the stunner here. I loved how she stood in it making it tight on her body and it just looked classy and elegant. Michigan looked okay but she seemed like she wasn't trying hard enough. Her gown was white and looked fair. California had a very nice, shiny peach gown that glistened in the lights and looked very appealing. I hated her hairstyle though with the double bun. It just didn't look nice. Indiana had a very nice white gown with open cuts around the stomach area and it looks like she wanted to do more with it but she seemed a little disoriented coming down those unusually long stairs. They were difficult for many of the ladies to walk on and some tripped in the part when the other delegates were shown. Oklahoma had a "Holly Mills"-type black gown, which was very tight and busts up in the air. South Carolina came out in a simple white gown with these poofy fur off shoulder attachments and I didn't think it looked all that nice. Next came New Mexico in her "Denyse Floreano"-ish gown except Michelle's had a really open back and she also had a little trouble with the stairs but she came through.

Now when I played judge, I did some calculations and I found that Indiana would made top 5 instead of New Mexico which I think was the rightful top 5 because New Mexico lucked out on the press conference and Ali and Julie also said they weren't expecting New Mexico. For the top 5 interview, South Carolina plugged New York (not Kim Pressler, the city) big time and talked about her love of travel and showed Shemar how to shag or at least tried to. She was fair but I didn't like her saying "How did you know that?" at the very beginning and Shemar goes "Because that's what it says on the card". I think Lauren just made herself look stupid by asking that question. New Mexico was funny when she said that we can go sailing if we park the boat on the beach because she doesn't like water and she responded very well in saying that altering genetics is not natural. California handled her questions very well in defending "History class" while showing her human side. Shemar was reading the card when asking her if she could bend over backwards and touch her nose to the floor, which was a dumb question but she handled it well which showed that she could handle any question well. Very few questions actually asked of Miss USA are not these pageanty-like questions so I didn't think this was a bad question because she obviously wasn't going to do it and it showed how well she could handle these situations. New York was asked all these "If you became Miss USA" questions which I think furthered some suspicion about her win. However, she handled her questions well, and you could tell that she was ready for anything. Her reasons for leaving her man to be Miss USA were valid since she said that if true love is really there it will be there after and I think that is a very good message to promote. Tennessee handled her questions excellently and she was very good-natured about Shemar's talk about the "bedroom". What confused me was that it was said that she came from a town of population=300 but then she said she came from Nashville. I know that Nashville has more than 300 people so what's up with that?!

After the announcement of the top 3, Julie was backstage and all the delegates were going for Tennessee except Ohio who "stuck with Kimmy". What I really hated what they snubbed Miss Indiana!! I couldn't believe it! They talked to all the other semifinalists except her and Miss Kentucky! That is extremely unfair!! Anyhow, the final question followed. It asked whether or not Chelsea Clinton is off limits to media since she is soon to be an adult. All the ladies basically said the same thing, which was to leave her alone because she did not choose to be in that position. The answers were all very good but I thought that Tennessee's was delivered the best. Many people thought it was between Tennessee and California but New York came out as the winner. After Shawnae Jebbia said goodbye and Kim was announced the winner, she jumped up and down with quite a reaction and was crowned and tripped a little bit on her dress as she took her walk.

To address an issue, the judges in the final vote are allowed to cast either a 1, 2, or 3. Whoever has the lowest score is the winner. Many people thought that the judge's made a mistake choosing Kimberly and that there was a proposed butchering process where New York emerged as the winner because half the judges gave a 1 to Tennessee and 3 to California and vice versa. However, I looked at the judge's ranking for the top 5 interview which is a good sign for the proposed ranking of the winner. Although, Tennessee won that portion with a 9.7333, New York had 9.6667 and California had a 9.6067. After tabulating the scores of the judge's based on the judge's ranking then. The scores would have looked like this:

New York=1,1,1,1,1,3,3,3 TOTAL=10 AVG=1.66
Tennessee=2,3,2,2,2,2,1,1 TOTAL=11 AVG=1.83
California=3,2,3,3,3,1,2,2 TOTAL=15 AVG=2.50

From these results, it is clear that the first five judges liked New York more and this is actually a plausible suggestion for the final scores. However, Tennessee had the higher score prior to this, which indicates the problem that the strict margins between a 1, 2, and 3 are too narrow. Whereas the gaps are a little more defined when the judges punch in closer stable scores.

It all ended with mixed reactions to overall pageant and the winner but the Miss USA pageant is known for this type of thing. Ever since 1996, the ones many people thought would win didn't and someone came out of nowhere to take it all! I was a little iffy about including Kimberly in my predictions list because she was getting a lot of press attention and interviews as was Miss California prior to the pageant so this may have been a sign. I think the press has access to little tidbits of information which cause them to interview the winner before she wins because this also happened with Shawnae Jebbia last year. Only a few years ago, pageants were hardly getting the attention that they enjoy today for which Donald Trump may be a factor. When Kimberly showed up on Regis & Kathie Lee, I thought she was very poised and I could see that she has some potential for Miss Universe. However, USA making top 10 at Miss Universe is never a surprise at all. She has to be in there because there is a little thing called business involved. To me, she seems like a blend between Ali Landry and Joyce Giraud both of whom did very well at Miss Universe. I don't think she will win Miss Universe but she's a sweet girl and I think everyone should just adjust to these flushes of changes because I admit even I don't approve of all this change at first but it just takes some gradual adjustment. Another chapter begins as the millenium comes to an end.
Lord only knows what's in store for Miss Universe!