Chris Harrison begins hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Monday night, but on Sunday he was emceeing a smaller affair: Who Wants to Pay Off Their Student Loans. That’s right, Miss America was back to crown its 95th winner, and this time, they were feeling apologetic.
While your new Miss America 2016 will be memorable for her black tie crop top and moniker straight out of Mad Men, certainly the most interesting moment of the show (other than that jazzy “Clubbed to Death” number, but we’ll get to that) came when Miss America CEO Sam Haskell took Vanessa Williams in his tender, scripted embrace and declared that just because some old Miss America fogies got mad at her in 1983 and strongly suggested that she resign after Penthouse published nude photos that had been shot the year before, doesn’t mean that she should have been made to feel “any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.” Vanessa called his words “unexpected” and “beautiful,” but her eyes were saying, “You have 32 years to make up for, but this is a cute little start.”
But hey, maybe you missed all of that because you were watching the Federer vs. Djokovic match, or you were scared that Miss America is the pageant that puts dollars directly into Donald Trump’s pockets (it’s not, but Miss Alabama will gladly let you know a few other ways you can stick it to him).
Over the course of the Swimsuit, Evening Gown, Talent, and Question portions, 52 contestants dwindled to a top 5: Miss Alabama, Miss Louisiana, Miss Colorado, Miss Mississippi, and Miss Georgia. And it was Miss Georgia who took home the crown — and hopefully some congratulatory basket full of muffins and sweat pants — following the operatic talent that surely won her crown, and the fumbled interview answer that nearly lost it. And though those may have been the real winning moments, there were a few other gems worth giving titles to…
Best State Intro Pun, Butt Category: Miss Wisconsin “Representing the Dairy State, come smell our dairy-air — I’m Miss Wisconsin.” Welcome to Wisconsin, where we tell you to smell our butts in the name of a very loose pun!
Best State Intro Pun, Testicle Category: Miss Montana “Though Rocky Mountain Oysters are our delicacy, I’m here to grab the bull by the — horns.” Unfortunately, horns didn’t get Miss Montana to Top 15… should have gone with the, uh, oysters.
Best American Broadcasting Network Cross-Pollination In addition to the (g)Hosts of ABC Past and Present, Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke Charvet, the judges included three past DWTS contestants — Amy Purdy, Danica McKellar, and Zendaya — and one Shark in the form of Kevin O’Leary.
Miss Kinda Over It: Vanessa Williams Of all the wonderful camera pans to Vanessa Williams looking both flawless and terribly bored, the best moment had to be when the camera lingered just long enough to flash Miss Alabama Meg McGuffin’s fun fact right over V-Williams’ solemn face: “Nickname is Egg McMuffin.”
Miss Kinda Over It Teen: Zendaya Equally flawless, equally bored, slightly more spectacles.
Most Unexpected Murder Dance Miss America’s Talent portion is often full of young women singing songs only because they had to and the talent of “studying really hard and being really nice” wasn’t popping as much during dress rehearsals as they thought it would. But not for Miss Alabama (that’s Miss Egg McMuffin for those of you playing along at home) — she likes to “do talents that are a little edgy,” leading the ever edgy Chris Harrison to utter these words: “Performing a contemporary dance en pointe to ‘Clubbed to Death’ from The Matrix soundtrack, here is Egg McMuffin Meg McGuffin.”
Phrase Most Likely to Get Brooke Burke Charvet Yelled at by 37 Rejected Miss America Contestants: “The rest of you, I am so sorry that you’re not going on to compete, but these girls will have the best seats in the house to cheer on your friends.” Definitely! That’s why we took a year off of school and got a Costco membership in order to buy hemorrhoid cream in bulk for under-eye puffiness.
Phrase Most Likely to Get Brooke Burke Charvet Yelled at by 5 More Rejected Miss America Contestants: “Even though you’ve been eliminated from the competition, you get to sit here with Nick Jonas — I mean, not a bad consolation prize.” I don’t know, Brooke… I was kind of hoping for that $50K! But he is cute.
Best Interview Question Hot Takes: Miss Tennessee on federal funding for Planned Parenthood — “Yes!” — and Miss Alabama on Donald Trump — “No!” (Not Miss Georgia on if Tom Brady cheated — “I think I’d need to feel the balls!”)
And Most Miss America Name to Ever Miss America: Betty Cantrell. It just doesn’t get better than that. Congrats, Betty! Please sing “Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio” forever.
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