Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Judges and Facial Hair

There are a few things in life that continue to make sense outside of the doors of a schoolhouse/college. Allow us to elaborate...

1. I was a starter on my High School varsity basketball team for 4 years. No, I wasn't the female LeBron James, I just played as hard and as smart as I could (and I was much more successful in some games than others). Early on, I learned that a 'foul' is only a 'foul' when the referee calls it a 'foul'. This is different than trying to 'get away with' a foul... I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the little ways that some refs let you play, and some refs will call a foul before you even make the move. The trick is, you need to learn which ref you're playing for and if your actions are going to bring you into foul trouble or allow you to have an amazing game.

2. Shortly after I began college, I discovered something similar. In order to get a good grade (besides normal studying), you needed to learn how your professor wanted you to respond in class, and then respond accordingly. Some professors could care less if you were in class, they only wanted to see you perform well on tests. Other professors rewarded you for never missing class because they saw how much blood sweat and tears you put into conjugating Spanish verbs even when you failed the tests miserably (ouch, that was a little close to home, but true). The trick is, you had to learn what was expected of you by that individual professor in order to get a good grade.

It's the same with judges and pageants.

Put 5 judges on a panel and they'll select 1 girl as the winner. Bring on 5 different judges and honestly, you may not get the same winner. Pageants are subjective - the beauty, strength and personality of the contestant is in the eye of the beholder... and 5 people can only behold so much when the competition is steep.

That's why we never make any predictions about who's going to win the crown until we know the judges. And this year, Miss America has picked the following people with the unenviable task of choosing Miss America 2012 (and if you're already familiar with this year's judges feel free to skip to my 'Obvious Thoughts' section below).

From the Field of Performing Arts- Mark Ballas – A lifelong dancer and musician, Emmy nominated Mark has wowed viewers on ABC’s, Dancing with the Stars, for nine seasons, winning two mirror ball trophies. Born in Houston to a family of international dance stars, Mark moved to London as a child; he attended the world-renowned Italia Conti Performing Arts School. Here, he not only danced, but also was required to sing, act and play an instrument. By age 12 he was writing and performing his own music, playing guitar, drums and bass. When Mark isn’t performing, he is passionate about speaking to school-age kids about acceptance, sparked by his Uncle David’s suicide nine years ago. He helped form The Ballas Foundation and is committed to removing the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide.

From the Field of Communications – Raúl de Molina - Raúl is the multiple Emmy award-winning co-host of Univision networks #1 rated entertainment news show El Gordo y La Flaca, which has more viewers on its time slot than ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX combined. He is the author of the bestselling La Dieta del Gordo and one of the original contributors to the Huffington Post’s Food and Latino Voices sections. In 2008, he was chosen by People en Espanol as one of the most influential Hispanics in the United States.

From the Field of Star Power – Mike Fleiss - Mike is founder of Next Entertainment and executive producer of The Bachelor franchise, which also includes The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad, and will serve as executive producer of H8R. His credits include High School Reunion, The Cougar, There Goes the Neighborhood, Hitched or Ditched, More to Love and Leave it to Lamas. With a multi-year deal with Warner Horizon Television to create original series for network, syndication and cable, Mike is a leading producer of reality programming. He has created over three dozen series and produced over 300 hours of primetime television.

From the Field of Beauty – Kris Jenner - Kris is the Star, Creator, and Executive Producer, along with Ryan Seacrest, of Keeping Up With the Kardashians for E!. The show wrapped its sixth season, and enjoys the title of, “Highest Rated and Most Watched Telecast ever on E!.” Kris also produces Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Khloé and Lamar. In her new memoir, Kris Jenner And All Things Kardashian, she writes about her relationships, her kids, and her intimate connection to the O.J. Simpson trial. She is the president of her own production company, Jenner Communications, and for the last 20 years she has been manager for her husband and Olympic Gold medalist, Bruce Jenner’s motivational speaking tour. Kris also manages the careers of her six children.

From the Field of Talent – Teri Polo - Teri currently stars as Theresa Hayden Keen on ABC’s Man Up! She is best known for her role as Pam in the Meet the Parents theatricals. Originally from Dover, DE, Teri began her performing career as a dancer. By age 13 she was attending New York’s School of Ballet. The summer before her senior year, she was signed to a modeling contract, which led to a role on Loving.

From the Field of Fitness – Chris Powell - Chris is the host and transformation specialist on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, which debuted last May as the number one show on TV. Chris exploded onto the fitness scene with his unorthodox approach, becoming a pioneer for a new hybrid of fitness professionals. He has captured national attention with the largest and fastest natural weight loss ever documented, transforming the life of David Smith who lost 401 lbs in 26 months. It was Chris’s unyielding dedication to another that captured the heart of America as he shared his story on such national shows as The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, The View, as well as a one-hour documentary for TLC.

From the Field of News and Entertainment - Lara Spencer – Lara was named lifestyle anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America in March 2011. She was previously the show’s National Correspondent from 1999 to 2004. In 2004, she began hosting The Insider. During her seven seasons there, she interviewed the industry’s biggest stars and traveled the world for exclusive interviews. She also hosted three primetime TV specials for CBS. She is an advocate for Greenwich Adult Day Care in Connecticut, which helps seniors living with Alzheimer’s. She is married and a mother to a son and a daughter, Duff and Kate.

So - what are our thoughts about this panel and how it relates to the new winner?

Obvious Thought #1. ABC better get good ratings this year since they had such a significant influence in the judging selection. If they don't, it's THEIR fault, not Miss America's fault.

Obvious Thought #2. Reality TV Rules. If you don't have 'camera charisma' you're not going to impress these judges this year. And yes, Miss South Carolina has an advantage because her story went so public so quickly about losing 100+ pounds and winning the title. That's a 'reality story' with judges who know a thing or 2 about losing weight.

Obvious Thought #3. Ummm... where's the former Miss America who usually sits on the panel? Or how about at least someone who's been in pageants before? Wow.

Not So Obvious Thought #1. NO VOCALIST JUDGE this year, but instead, we have 2 judges who understand dance (Mark and Teri). Perhaps that's in response to the 25 dancers we have at Miss America this year?

Not So Obvious Thought #2. Kris Jenner. Is this just a response to Joy Behar being selected as a judge last year in 2011? Which was a response to Rush Limbaugh being selected as a judge in 2010? Which was a response to Chris Matthews being selected as a judge in 2007? I guess I don't understand what she brings to the table that Mike Fleiss doesn't already bring. Except eyebrows. As a friend of mine recently said, "Because of Kris Jenner, don't you think we'll crown a Miss America this year with Eyebrows?" (lol - can't make this stuff up!).

So, besides Eyebrows, what do you think this panel brings to the table and who is it likely to benefit in 2012???

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