Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NINA DAVURULI IS MISS AMERICA 2014!!!!

First of all... let me say how sorry I am that this post was not completed sooner! :(  My apologies to those of you who have been waiting patiently for me to post my over-all thoughts... Let's just say, I'm getting too old to be witty and creative when I've only had 3 hours of sleep!

That being said - Your new Miss America is Miss New York, NINA DAVURULI!!!!


Nina seemed to have everything going for her on finals night... She was polished, yet spunky.  She was approachable, yet beautiful.  Her talent was complex, yet entertaining.  As our first Indian-American to be named Miss America, you may have caught her on one of her TV appearances stating: "The everyday girl-next-door in America doesn't look like she did 10 years ago - and 10 years from now, she won't look the same as she does today either."  Additionally, she is excited about the opportunity to be a role model for little girls who look like she does.

I'll be honest...  I don't care what color she is... Instead, here's what I care about.  Nina is confident, striking to look at, a strong communicator and appears to be extremely genuine.  She could be purple for all I care - as long as she still possessed these qualities which I consider to be necessary for someone to make an impact on others.

So all the best to Nina!  May she become one of our most impacting Miss America's in history!

Now - it's time to let you in on our thought process as Miss America week progressed... Here's several thoughts... in completely random order...

1.  Even though the Junkies went 6 for 6 with prelim winners, we only went 8 for 15 in our Top 15 finalists.  Seems like we have a corner on the "Top Talents" and "Best Swimsuits" but we do not have a good grip on the most consistent ladies on the stage in all areas of competition.  This can be remedied by attending more prelim nights (Junkies only saw 1 prelim this year)... but unfortunately, it's not always conducive to do so (see 'real life' job reference above).

2.  Only seeing one prelim night also kept us from seeing the 'spark' in Nina that the judges obviously saw.  In fact, Nina had her On-Stage Question the night we attended prelims and I'm afraid we weren't able to really pick any of these answers out as "spectacular"... they all sounded about the same in our book.  Had we seen her presence in Swimsuit or her Talent, we might've been able to notice the girl that the judges fell in love with. 

3.  I think the final night panel also threw us for a loop... The fact that all of the Top 5 were brunettes tells us that we weren't in the final night panel's heads at all.  To only have picked 2 of the Top 5 (OK and CA) is a bummer for the Junkies... one of our poorest Top 5 finishes in recent history (boo).

4.  You'd never believe me if I told you how many times I substituted NY, MN and CA into my top 5.  Frankly, I only expected 1 of the 3 to make the Top 5 - never in a million-zillion years did I think all 3 would make it.  I was wrong.

5.  Never in a million-zillion years did I think NY and OK would be looking at Top 5 finishes THREE YEARS IN A ROW!!!  Kaitlin Monte, Mallory Hagan and Nina Davuruli vs. Betty Thompson, Alicia Clifton and Kelsey Griswold (And prior to that, Emoly West from OK was Top 5 and Claire Buffie from NY was Top 10).  To have 2 states performing that well year after year after year has got to be frustrating for 51 other contestants - but dang!  These 2 programs are proving to be the premier programs in the country!

6.  WE'VE FINALLY CROWNED OUR FIRST FORMER STATE OUTSTANDING TEEN!!!!  Nina was Michigan's Outstanding Teen 2006 and 1st runner up at MAOT!  Watch for state pageants across the country to crown more OT state winners this year!

7.  Junkies haven't seen the TV production yet - but to have earned the highest ratings in nine years screams "WE'RE BACK!!!"  WHOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO for finding the magic formula and producing a show worthy of American viewership.

8.  ATLANTIC CITY!!!!!!  Where do I begin???  As a Junkie who saw her first Miss America crowned in Las Vegas, but who's completely familiar with the amazing amount of history and tradition that exists on the Jersey Shore, let me say... WOW!!!  There are most certainly differences between the 2 cities beyond geographics... but I gotta give the edge to the quaint and charming city on the sea.  Plus, getting out to the Sheraton Hotel was a huge bonus - seeing shoes, evening gowns and trophies up close and personal was great fun!  Being 'crowned' by Bert Parks was another big hit!  And having my photo taken next to those famous "Atlantic City" wooden boats on the beach was icing on the cake!  You just don't get that in Vegas, Baby :)

9.  Even if we went 0 for 6 and 0 for 15, we still would've LOVED meeting fellow Junkies!!!  This year was particularly fantastic as so many of you found us and told us what our page meant to you!  We never expected to have that kind of impact on people - and we're grateful to consider many of you 'friends'.  PLEASE continue to stay in contact with the Junkies - and if there's anything we can do for you - just let us know! :)

And that's a Wrap!  Another Miss America crowning is in the books - another woman gets the job of a lifetime and another little girl is currently wondering if she might become the new Miss America one day.  The Junkies look forward to seeing Nina make her mark on Miss America history and will do everything we can to keep you updated along the way...

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN - make sure you're practicing your wave... blowing kisses in the wind... standing up tall with your shoulders back and chin up... as we all sing together... "There She Is..."

Thanks Junkies!  What a GREAT year it's been! :)



MAJ

Sunday, September 15, 2013

JUNKIES FINAL PREDICTIONS for MISS AMERICA 2014

As I type this blogpost, I'm looking out at the Atlantic Ocean from the 67th floor of my hotel room in Atlantic City... 





Interestingly enough, 2 things come to mind...

        - This is best my feet have felt in 4 days...
        - I have no idea who is going to win tonight...

Now, I fully realized some of you might think I'm just feigning ignorance... After all, who goes 6 for 6 when picking the prelim winners and doesn't know who's going to win the whole shi'bang???  Ummm... me.  Truthfully... I don't know who's going to walk away with the crown tonight.  Usually we have an 'inkling' or a reason why we can see it coming - even if our favorite contestant isn't in the mix.  But this year?  Not so sure.

So - before we give you our Top 15, I'd like to ask everyone to please take a deep breath and remind yourself of two things...  THESE ARE JUST OUR OPINIONS - and - THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN! :)  Again, if your girl isn't on our list - it doesn't mean she won't make it... It doesn't means we don't like her... It doesn't mean we don't think she has what it takes... Truth is - predicting a Top 15 is a whole lot harder than predicting Prelim Winners.  ESPECIALLY since The Junkies just arrived on Thursday and only saw the girls on stage for 1 night of competition (last year, we went 14 for 16 - but we also saw 2 nights of preliminary competition).

So - here's what we're going to do... We're going to give you our Top 15 - and then break down to the Top 5 and the winner with a bit of commentary.  We haven't done this before - so let's see how it goes.

Top 15 - In Random Order:

Mississippi
Oklahoma
Georgia
Kansas
California
New York
Minnesota
Virginia
Florida
Tennessee
New Hampshire
DC
Pennsylvania
Maine
Louisiana

We also chose 1 girl from each prelim night that we consider "on the bubble"... Our official picks are still listed above - but here's 3 more who we think could eek out a Top 15 placement.

"Bubbles"
Connecticut
South Carolina
Alabama

In addition - here's who we think goes home with a few specialized awards...

Non-Finalist Interview Award
Alaska

Non-finalist Talent Awards
Wisconsin
Missouri
Indiana
Arizona

And Now - Here's The Junkies' Top 5...

Mississippi - She has the 'classic Miss America look' about her... The one we originally thought MA would crown this year being back in AC.  She's smart, has a killer body, is currently in med school, and won a STEM scholarship earlier this week.  If Miss America wants a "Beautiful, Polished, Smart Girl," she'll win.

Georgia - Junkies hold the theory that Final Night swimsuit goes to the girl the judges liked the best in interview out of everyone else on her night.  Georgia has one of those 'looks' that we think the celebrity panel could really go for... If Miss America wants an "Old-School Hollywood Glam Girl," she'll win.

Oklahoma - With 4 prelim awards in a row (Emoly West, Betty Thompson, Alicia Clifton and Kelsey Griswold) and 3 Top 5 placements for Oklahoma, Kelsey Griswold should keep the current OK streak alive... She looks like your everyday 'girl-next-door' and is uber-talented.  She could be one of the final 2 holding hands at the end of the night.  If Miss America wants a Talented "Girl Next Door," she'll win.
  
California - She's a Stanford graduate, another STEM scholarship winner and could've won Swimsuit on her prelim night.  With a celebrity panel, we think her California-cool-vibe will ooze out of her and put her in the Top 5.  If Miss America wants an Ivy-League caliber, "Social Media Queen," she'll win.

Kansas - Even though we think Kansas may be the People's Choice winner, we also think she could've made the Top 15 on her own.  She's already the media darling and the general public has been extremely receptive to her.  If Miss America wants  "New Kind of Representative" for Miss America, she'll win.

We believe ANY of these girls would make a fine and fabulous Miss America... But because Junkie Tradition says we need to pick a winner... Junkies say...

Mississippi

There you go!  May the Best Girl Win!!!

Junkie Wrap-Up will be posted tomorrow (eventually...)

JUNKIES UNITE!!!

MAJ


Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday Night Prelim Results

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Let's get right to it!  Here are you preliminary winners in Talent and Swimsuit from Thursday Night:

(photos courtesy of the Miss America Organization)

Big Congrats to Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis in Swimsuit and Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones in Talent!

Carly has a great story - she was overweight as a child and at one point, weighed over 200 lbs!  To turn that around and now be named a preliminary swimsuit winner at Miss America is simply amazing!  Being there first hand, we can tell you Carly 'owned' the stage last night... We picked her as our swimsuit winner as we sat in the audience :)

In addition - to know that Myrrhanda Jones tore her ACL during rehearsals only to look the the doctor in the eye and tell him she wanted to perform on the Miss America stage tells you she's strong --- but to then come and and win her Talent Prelim is incredible!  Junkies saw the performance - it wasn't a sympathy vote!  She earned it!  Congrats!

And with Georgia and Florida's wins... that means the Junkies went 6 for 6 this year - for the first time ever in Junkie History!!!  We're sooooooooo excited to have done so well - and say thanks to everyone who's helped offer their opinions along the way!  It's even more amazing to have our "Perfect Preliminary Predictions" take place while the pageant is in Atlantic City!  What a fabulous memory for all the Junkies to always treasure! :)

And speaking of memories... The Junkies LOVED our day in Atlantic City... Walking the Boardwalk, eating fabulous food and dipping our toes in the ocean!  If attending Miss America is on your "Bucket List" may I suggest finding a way to do so next year?  Everyone in AC is so appreciative and so grateful!  We couldn't be in better hands being "Back Home" in Atlantic City!

Finally - many of you have been asking about whether or not we're going to post a Top 15 list, etc.  Rest assured - we are and we will!  We'll be posting our Top 15, Top 5 and our pick to win it all on Sunday night... but that post will have to wait... we have a few favorites who are floating around in our heads - but there are A LOT of strong girls this year!  We haven't seen anyone specific 'rise to the top' just yet :)  

In the meantime - enjoy a few photos from our day 'out and about' today!  Happy Friday!






MAJ

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Junkies Predict Thursday Prelim Winners

Welcome Back Junkies!!!

Soooooo.... Before we get to tonight's picks - can I hijack this post and give you a quick personal update?

First, I didn't sleep well because, let's face it... The night before Miss America typically means... "I'M TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP!"  Then, the area where I lived experienced some significant weather issues in the middle of the night that caused the power to go out... Which means the alarm clock did not go off at 4:00am...

Good news first... We made the flight. :)

Bad news... Have you ever tried to pack a suitcase by candlelight???  Sounds romantic... but not very practical.  LOL!  Frankly, I have no clue what's in my luggage... I hope at least my shoes match!
 
And now - Here's a wrap up of last night's winners!

(Photos courtesy of the Miss America Organization)

CONGRATS to KELSEY GRISWOLD and REBECCA YEH on last night's preliminary wins!  Kelsey is the 4th Miss OK in a row to win a prelim award (Alicia Clifton - Talent, Betty Thompson - Talent, Emoly West-SS) and the 5th Miss OK to win SS!  Rebecca is the 10th Miss MN to win a Prelim Talent award - and she's in good company!  Notable Miss MN's who won Talent before winning Miss America include Dorothy Benham and Gretchen Carlson.

On to tonight's Prelim Picks!  Junkies are on a roll... As some of you have so kindly noted, we are 4 for 4 this year... Hoping to make this year the best Prelim Picking Prediction year in Junkie History - NO PRESSURE - LOL!!!! :)  Here goes nothing...



TALENT = OKLAHOMA, FLORIDA, WEST VIRGINIA, CONNECTICUT
Yes - Oklahoma won SS last night, and if she wins tonight, she'll be first Double Prelim winner in a really, really long time (CUE THE JUNKIE RESEARCH KING!).  Also - say a prayer for Miss Florida who injured herself during rehearsals today (baton twirler)... No final details... but just know she may not be 100%.

SWIMSUIT = SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, TEXAS, CALIFORNIA
Junkies have a theory about Final Night Swimsuit winners... In most cases, the final night SS winner goes to the girl who looks darn good in a swimsuit, but was also one of the judge's favorites interview.  Of course, you never know until the Final Show (and whether or not the final night SS winner makes the top 5)... but that's our story and we're sticking to it. :)

Junkies will be there to see it all in person tonight!!!  Promise to give you a full update on the Thursday Winners and what's officially in my suitcase... Wearing one gold shoe and one silver shoe might become a new trend :)

Junkies Unite!

MAJ



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Junkies Predict WEDNESDAY Prelim Winners

Well Hello Junkies! :)

What a delightful way to start the week!  Let's take a look at last night's preliminary winners!

 (Photos courtesy of the Miss America Organization)

Tuesday Talent Winner = Miss New Hampshire (a correct pick!)
Sam Russo is a gifted vocalist who only recently started vocal training... She is the 2nd Miss NH to ever win a prelim talent award (Miss NH '93 Tricia Ann-Reagan was the first)... Sam sang "Don't Rain on My Parade" - which is the same song she sang at her state pageant (and won the talent award there as well)... Some Junkies might think this song is over-done (and they may be right in most cases)...  But Sam kills this song!  Makes you wanna hear it again and again! :)  Congrats to the Miss New Hampshire team and Miss Russo on the big win last night! :)

Tuesday Swimsuit Winner = Miss Mississippi (a correct pick!)
Chelsea Rick is the 14th Miss Mississippi to win a Preliminary Swimsuit award - 2nd only to California for the most Prelim SS wins per state.  Now, I do need to take a moment to offer a brief history lesson.  In order to be considered a"True Junkie," you need to know about the glorious and magical run the state of Mississippi experienced in the 80's.  From 1979-1988... All 10 girls made the Top 10 during those years (Not Top 15 --- the Top 10!!!).  In addition, from 1978-1988 Mississippi won Prelim Swimsuit EIGHT times and Prelim Talent once!!!  (Big Thanks to our "Junkie Research King" for this reminder!).  With this Swimsuit Win in Atlantic City, I'm guessing lots and lots of "Glory Days" conversations are taking place in the Miss MS ranks right about now!

OK - So - Going 2 for 2 on opening night means we've got our work cut out for us tonight!  Time to buckle down and see what we come up with for Wednesday Night Prelims...

Just for the record, tonight we have Sigma competing in Talent and Mu competing in Swimsuit... Here's the prelim order one more time in case you missed it earlier... Again, you can click on the photo if you'd like to see a larger version...

OK - Here we go!

TALENT = MINNESOTA, ILLINOIS, ALABAMA, KANSAS
Interestingly enough, IL, MN and AL are all performing back-to-back-to-back tonight... We're super curious how this one is going to work out tonight. :)

SWIMSUIT = OKLAHOMA, UTAH, FLORIDA, MARYLAND
This was a hard one for us... Gonna kick ourselves if we miss it... 'cause I think this list has changed 6 or 7 times already.  Can't wait to see who earns the prelim award in this category tonight!

There you are!  We'll see how close our predictions come tonight - and the Junkies are jumping on a plane bound for Atlantic City tomorrow!!!  As always, you're welcome to post your predictions as well!  Who do you think wins Talent and Swimsuit tonight???

#JunkiesUnite

MAJ




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Junkies Predict TUESDAY Preliminary Results!!!

OK, OK, OK...

Let's be honest... the reason it's taking me so long to make predictions for tonight's prelims is because I KEEP CHANGING MY MIND!!!

Seriously - I think I'm about to move into analysis-paralysis... this is like my 6th or 7th time adjusting the list... time to just put it out there already...

SO!  HERE WE GO!!!  Round #1 of Junkie Prelim Predictions 2014!!!  If you missed our previous blogpost about how we choose who we choose, I HIGHLY encourage you to read our earlier post... It also explains the "ground rules" so to speak...  You can check it out here...




And NOW - with no further adieu (because good-golly there's been plenty of ''adieu' already)... Here's our first stab at Prelim Predictions for Miss America 2014!!!

TALENT = NEW HAMPSHIRE, KENTUCKY, CALIFORNIA and MICHIGAN
Talent is STACKED tonight!!!  It's really, really hard for us to choose only 4 states - and we're the first to tell you we might get this one wrong.  It's tough to find a clear winner - and I can't believe we're leaving DE and MO off the list... But I only get to choose 4. That's the rule.  We'll see if I regret it tomorrow.

SWIMSUIT = MISSISSIPPI, KANSAS, VIRGINIA and OHIO
If you thought Talent was stacked... you should see Swimsuit!  Wowzers!  We could list 8 states all capable of winning the prelim tonight - but alas, these 4 are where we're landing.  I can't believe we're leaving NC and IA off the list... ugh... Here's hoping we get at least one of these right!

Alright!  That's what we've got!  As always, feel free to give us your prelim predictions either in the comments below, via Facebook or via Twitter!

Updates Tomorrow!!!

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

#JunkieUnite

MAJ

Junkies Prelim Predictions 101

Many moons ago, before this blog or Facebook was even born, I was looking for a way to reconnect with friends and family around Miss America week.  So, just for fun, I started to see if I could pick 4 states that I thought might win Preliminary Talent or Preliminary Swimsuit at Miss America.  Then, I'd send out an email telling them why I thought "so and so state" could win the given prelim.  At first, I think people just opened the email because they hadn't heard from me in a while (lol) - but soon, they began to humor me and play along.  In order to suck them into my pageant vortex, I named the email list "Miss America Junkies".  Ever since then, I've been posting picks - and each year more and more Junkies join me in my pursuit of the perfect preliminary prediction.

In case you've never seen this before, here's how it goes...

1. Two awards are given on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night... one for Swimsuit and one for Talent (no on-stage awards for Evening Gown or On-Stage Question). Three nights of prelims times 2 awards each night means 6 awards total (who says pageant girls can't do math? GO STEM!).

2. I'll select 4 states out of the 17-18 girls who could possibly win.

3. To provide complete disclosure... I've only seen 3 of this year's contestants in person.  I don't attend Miss America rehearsals.  99% of our research on our picks is from online research alone.

4.  Here's the Prelim list... for Tuesday, we're working with Alpha in Talent and Sigma in Swimsuit...


If you need a larger version, feel free to click on the photo itself :)

Now - before we get started with my predictions, there are a couple of things I need to point out...

1. The predictions below are my opinions and my opinions only.  Sometimes I get it right - and sometimes I'm dead wrong.  Of all the years I've been making predictions, the best I've done is 4/6... Which pretty much goes to prove, I'm not perfect. :)

2. If your daughter/grand-daughter/sister/best friend's-baby-sitter's-car-salesman's niece isn't on our short-list as a prelim pick, it doesn't mean she isn't talented.  It doesn't mean she isn't 'pretty enough'.  It doesn't mean she doesn't have what it takes... It means, I'm not perfect. 

3. Just because we accurately predict a prelim winner - it doesn't mean she is the next Miss America.  Remember, Mallory Hagan didn't win a single prelim - and I'm not sure we even had her on any of our prelim predictions from last year... But she walked away with the crown.  Your girl can too. 

4. This is supposed to be... (wait for it... wait for it...) FUN!!! :)  Since predictions are the origin of MAJ, we have a blast seeing if we can accurately predict a winner simply through research and Junkie intuition.  Please don't take it personally if the girl you adore is not listed in our posts...

Here's a photo of your prelim judges with Sam Haskell (from the Miss America Twitter Feed)... Feel free to click on the photo itself to see an enlarged version...


And the press release offering complete bio's for our Prelim Judges can be found here...

As any contestant will tell you - different judges = different results.  If you think you've mastered "Intro to Junkie Predictions 101" and wanna move into the upper echelon of prelim picking, then study the judges.  Or, feel free to read our opinion on the prelim judges found here in this post and consider it the cliff-notes version. :)

Our first round of Prelim Predictions will be posted later today!!!  And of course, we'll update both our Facebook page and our Twitter feed with real-time results... then, we'll offer another round of predictions tomorrow!  As always - if you disagree, you're welcome to 'play along' by listing your own Top 4 in the comments section below or via Facebook/Twitter. :)

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!!!  First night of prelims is ELECTRIFYING!!! :)

#MissAmerica #JunkiesUnite

MAJ


Sunday, September 8, 2013

"There's No Place Like Home..."

When The Junkies first heard rumors about Miss America returning to Atlantic City, our first thought was, "NO WAY"... and that someone must be smoking crack.  So, we went to the best place we knew to get confirmation... Google. :)

After googling "Miss America Atlantic City" for news specifically reported within the last 24 hours, we discovered 3 different outlets breaking the story.  At that point, I'm pretty sure my heart leaped... We couldn't find any news about it on Facebook or Twitter... and even though we saw 3 separate stories from traditional media, I was still extremely nervous about sending a 'tweet' to our Junkie followers.  If we were wrong - it would be bad (like not-funny, lose-all-credibility, the-Junkies-must-be-smoking-crack-bad).  But if we were right, it would be AWESOME to break the news to our followers before anyone else knew about it.  Suddenly, I was reminded why I have my Journalism degree... and at 6:24pm on February 13th, we sent the following tweet:

"#MissAmerica is coming back to Atlantic City!!!"



After a few followers wondering (say it with me) "if we were smoking crack", word began to spread and the excitement began to build as the truth came out.  May I say, being a "Junkie" has been awesome ever since. :)

In fact, we've gained more followers and posted more blogs over the past 7 months than at any other time in Junkie History!  We've interacted with more of you and LOVED your 'tips' and 'inside scoop' about your favorite contestants.  Moreover, we're blown away by the positive encouragement that gets posted day after day after day from those who have joined the Junkies in our Miss America obsession.  Being a positive outlet was the whole reason we started MAJ in the first place.

To be back in Atlantic City also holds special significance for the Junkies... The last time any of the "Original Junkies" were in Atlantic City, it was 1985... traveling cross-country in a van... with big hair and bigger shoulder-pads.  Now, nearly 30 years later, an entirely new generation of Junkies have come into the picture... and after 8 queens crowned in Vegas, Miss America is returning to her roots.  I expect this year will be more than special... it will be spectacular!

After all, our girls are having the time of their lives!  Dancing into the wee hours of the night, receiving over $800 worth of free merchandise from the Pier Shops, watching a major league baseball game and Blondie in concert, all while keeping their mascara in place and a smile on their face.  But tomorrow, we officially begin the competition. 

Interviews start tomorrow (Monday) morning - and the girls will get their first chance to impress the judges (by the way - if you missed our blogpost with our take on the judges, you can check it out here).  The first on-stage competition starts on Tuesday - which means, we will once again be posting our predictions for Prelim Winners each night!!!  You should be making your own lists as well - posting predictions is half the fun of being a Junkie! :)

In the meantime - you can do your homework by reviewing our contestant lineup...

   

We'll be predicting Talent and Swimsuit winners each night via this blog... and the Junkies will be in Atlantic City to see it all on in person on Thursday night! 

Finally, if you're headed to Atlantic City - we'll be hosting another "Junkie Meet and Greet" - likely on Friday or Saturday.  Last year, everyone who attended listed their Top 5 and we gave away a special prize to the person who accurately chose the most states in the Top 5.  If you joined us last year, we'd love to see you again!  We'd also love to meet as many NEW FRIENDS as possible as well!  Stay tuned to our Facebook page, Twitter feed or this blog for further details about our Junkie Meet and Greet in AC".

Between now and then, I'll be doing all the typical pageant things in preparation for our trip... Make one last stop at Sephora, schedule a spray-tan, re-pack my luggage hoping to fit in one more pair of amazing shoes, and thank my husband for letting me play the Miss America Junkies game twice in one year.  At this point, I'm fairly certain he thinks ALL the Junkies are "smoking crack". :)

Our first prediction post is forthcoming!!!  HANG IN THERE!  Only 8 more days until we crown Miss America 2014!!!!! :)

#JunkiesUnite -

MAJ

Monday, August 19, 2013

FINAL NIGHT JUDGES!!!

So - Let's talk Judges!

If you remember... Miss America announced they would use 2 sets of judges for Miss America 2014... Something they hadn't done since 2002!  It caused quite a stir... and if you missed our original assessment of the Preliminary Panel, YOU CAN FIND IT HERE...

Now that we have a final night "Celebrity Panel" - we can easily compare and contrast the two panels and give you our thoughts.

Thought #1. 

~ If you LOVED the prelim panel, then you likely HATE the final night panel.  If you were APPALLED by the prelim panel, you likely ADORE the final night panel.  Why?  Because these two panels could not be more opposite if they tried!!!

Thought #2.

~ As "Old School" as the Prelim Panel is, that's exactly how "New School" the Final Night panel is.  Case in point... Of the 7 Preliminary Panel judges, we found 2 - count 'em 2, twitter accounts (and only 1 of the 2 judges know how to use it).  On the flip side, take our 2 most popular judges' twitter accounts from the Final Night panel, and you'll find 1.2 MILLION PEOPLE following Lance Bass and Amar'e Stoudemire.  An active understanding of Social Media was a HUGE GAP missing from the first panel --- but it's quickly erased by the second panel.

Thought #3.
~ Never Fear... In the end, we're still going to crown the same kind of girl who will be a fabulous Miss America.  Why?  Because in order to win over these polar opposite panels, she'll need to be well-rounded, able to relate to everyone, and a strong role model.  We call it "balance". :)

For the record, here's your Prelim Panel Judges (click on the photo to see a larger version)...


Here's how we summarize this Prelim Panel.  They are...
 - Southern
 - Accomplished
 - Classic Miss America

Now, take a peek at your Final Night Judges...



When I look at the Final Night Judges, here's how I would describe them.  They are...
 - The "Talent"
 - Liberal/Progressive
 - Confidently Charismatic

Here's what this tells me... The Top 15 who are selected by the Prelim Panel will have every "Quality" that we've come to expect from Miss America winners... She will be poised and polished.  She will be engaging and beautiful.  She will have a solid talent and she will be fit.  Then, the Celebrity Panel will saunter in with a swagger, take it up a notch, and find the biggest star in the group.  They'll only be judging 15 girls - which means 2 or 3 of them should stick out immediately.  The question is... will it be the same two or three girls across the board??? 

The Final Night Panel will choose someone who is striking and has a dynamic presence about them.  Someone who could be seen on the red carpet and hold her own.  Someone who is uber-confident and simply has 'it' (whatever 'it' is!) - because THAT'S EXACTLY who these people are.  Think about it - They're Hollywood types, stage performers, on-camera folks, and an NBA All-Star out of high school... Former panels have had at least one or two 'background celebrities' (producers, directors, founders of companies) - but these people are on the forefront.  They can spot someone like them.  They know what it takes to hold up under public scrutiny and how to keep their personal brand strong.  In my opinion, this panel will not crown a pretty wallflower... They're going to crown a powerhouse.

But you gotta get through the first panel if you expect to be crowned by the second!  If you don't have the whole package - you're not our winner this year.  That means, we might just get the most well-rounded Queen we've seen in a long, long time :)
Those are our thoughts!  What Say You???

#JunkiesUnite

MAJ



Monday, August 12, 2013

MAOT WEEK!!!

It's Time to Talk Outstanding Teen!!!

Admittedly, The Junkies don't give Miss America's Outstanding Teen program as much coverage as we do the Miss program.  It's not because we don't think it's viable or we don't appreciate it - rather, it's because we simply don't have the time to do it justice!  Consider that nearly 1400 girls were involved at the state pageants for the Miss program... Providing adequate coverage for another 1400+ contestants would take herculean efforts on our part!  Perhaps one day, when The Junkies have our own full-time staff, the MAO corporate office on speed dial, and the number one pageant reality show on television, then we'll become Outstanding Teen Junkies too!:)

This year, there are 8 former Outstanding Teen state winners who will be competing at Miss America... And they are... (from left to right)

Top Row = Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and California
Bottom Row = Michigan, Maine, Washington, Nebraska



Of this group...
      ~ Miss New York finished as the 1st runner up to MAOT 2007 Maria De Santis
      ~ Miss Florida finished as the 2nd runner up to MAOT 2010 Jeannette Morelan
      ~ Miss California finished in the Top 10 at MAOT 2009

But as we've seen before, MAOT finishes don't always translate into how well a girl will do at Miss America.  Even though MAOT is Miss America's "little sister" - there are different attributes between Miss America and Miss America's Outstanding Teen - and they don't always translate.  Girls who were big hits as a Teen, sometimes don't make the cut at Miss America and vice versa.  Each pageant is a brand new ballgame and you can't take previous accomplishments as the only indication of future achievements.

That being said... One day... Miss America WILL CROWN a girl who was formerly a State Outstanding Teen.  And when that happens, expect numbers at the OT programs to skyrocket!  The reigning Miss America Mallory Hagan talks frequently about her Miss America experience beginning with the Outstanding Teen program - which has given a strong amount of interest to it thus far... The next step is for Miss America to crown a former OT state winner. :)

Each of our Miss State winners are traveling to Orlando, FL this week to cheer on their "little sister" as the MAOT competition begins.  They'll participate in various autograph signings, photo shoots, and orientation meetings during their time at MAOT as well.  Plus, it's the first time all the Miss contestants will be together - the energy is electric and palpable! (Whooooo Hoooooo!) :)

Interviews for MAOT start today - and the on-stage preliminary competition begins tomorrow!  Good Luck to everyone at Miss America's Outstanding Teen!  We look forward to following your pageant journey - hopefully to the Miss America stage one day!!! :)

MAJ

Thursday, August 8, 2013

JUDGES...

 
Miss America 2013 Judging Panel in all of their glory...



Dear Fellow Junkies...

On Thursday, Miss America announced it would go back to a 2 panel judging system for Miss America 2014... which is why we felt inspired to dedicate an entire blogpost to this topic (which seems to have a few of you quite twitterpated!)

First - please don't 'freak out' about 2 sets of judges for Miss America... Depending on your point of view, there are several pros and cons about this kind of system...  For the sake of clarification, we're going to call the Prelim Judges "Expert Judges" (EJ) and the Final Night Judges "Celebrity Judges" (CJ).  With this in mind, here's just a few random thoughts for your consideration... off the top of our heads... in no particular order...

Pros = 
     ~ EJ's should know what they're doing from the get-go.  For example, some of the first contestants in interview complain that celebrity judges often don't know what they're doing in the beginning and it takes a while to 'warm up'.  No 'warming up' necessary now.
     ~ EJ's should score girls according to their ability in each phase of competition, rather than throwing points to girls in swimsuit or talent because they really liked her in interview  If this happens, we should get an extremely 'well-rounded' winner this year.
     ~ At the end of the Prelims, Miss America will likely show the new judges the Top 15 contestants in interview (maybe in SS, Talent, Gown and OSQ as well). That means it's a whole new ballgame for anyone who makes the Top 15.  The CJ's don't care what 'number' she was in the prelim competition, or if she was right next to another strong girl, or if she came from a 'weak group'...  As long as she makes the Top 15, placement doesn't matter because the CJ's will see her individually on her own merit when they watch the videos.
     ~  Trust me... if a contestant can make an impression on 7 judges, she can make the same impression on 7 more judges via video.  Just remember - there's a reason why pageant girls watch winning interviews... because great contestants connect with people in the room - which translates to all the rest of us watching at home on TV (or online).

Cons =
     ~ Even though the CJ's will likely view the contestants interviews via video, they won't get to interact with them in person - and they won't get to ask a question they might've wanted the contestant to answer, had they been judging the interview while it was taking place.
     ~ If a girl was 'on' all week long, but buckles under the pressure of Saturday night - she won't go very far.  The CJ's will absolutely be able to tell who's shining and who's not - and they won't have any pre-conveived notions of her winning the title because they 'fell in love' with her earlier in the week.
     ~ Girls who can 'fake it' with entertainment might not fare as well as ladies who have 'true talent' with the EJ panel.  EJ's can tell the difference between someone who's been properly trained in her talent and pure showmanship.  So - in order to get to the Top 15, the performance will likely need to be technically sound... But a celebrity panel might give higher scores for 'entertainment value' on the final night (a catch 22).
     ~ In recent years, Miss America has gone above and beyond to connect with high profile celebrities who could judge the pageant and then serve as Ambassadors for the program.  When you bring in 2 different panels, you don't get the same level of commitment from either panel and thus, I'm not sure you're going to see the same kind of desire to promote the Miss America "brand" once these judges go back to their respective careers.  Inundating/sequestering judges from the beginning to the end of the process is a much better way to accomplish the goal of expanding the Miss America brand to the rest of the non-pageant world.

Second - please keep in mind, many of your favorite Miss America winners were chosen under a 2 panel system... Including some of the 80's winners, all of the 90's winners, and some of the 00's winners.

And Finally,  more than a two panel judging system, the Junkies think it's a bigger deal to see WHO is on the prelim panel!  If you haven't read the press release announcing who's judging you can find it here...  At first glance, here's our initial thoughts...

1.  This Panel is "Southern"... Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina play into 3 of the judges backgrounds... Keep that in mind...
2.  This Panel is "Accomplished"... Broadway Vocalists, Outstanding Pianists and those with Stage Presence will be noticed...
3.  This Panel is "Classic Miss America"... If I were placing bets today - I would guess we'll crown a beautiful girl with strong talent and a 'sweet' disposition.  Yes, she'll be able to stand on her own two feet, defend her opinions, and could make a name for herself beyond the crown - but overall, I would guess we're going to get a classic, old-school, back-to-Atlantic-City queen who is fiercely talented and super easy on the eyes. :)

Just think... we still don't know who the people are that will actually choose our next Miss America!  But when we do - you can be sure the Junkies will keep you updated on all the nitty gritty details :)

#JunkiesUnite!

MAJ


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Junkies FAQs Part 2...

Welcome Back, Junkies!

This post is the follow-up to our original "MAJ ~ FAQ" post published last week (because nobody likes a long blogpost...).  If you missed our first post with questions 1-5, you can find it Right Here...

And now - without further adieu... here's Part 2 of our Miss America Junkies Frequently Asked Questions series... :)


6.  Why ON EARTH did you choose the name, "Junkies"?
          ~ LOL... We understand how some people can be 'turned-off' by the name "Miss America Junkies" but we see it as a positive thing.  If you look up "Junkie" in the dictionary, it says "to have an unusual amount of interest in something"... Like a "Sports Fanatic" or "Political Fiend" or a "Jimmy Choo Freak" (HA!).  If you're ever bored and want to check out the archives of this blog, you'll see that Miss America Junkies didn't start as a blog - it actually started as email updates to my friends and family whenever Miss America week took place.  Pretty soon, the list of people receiving my emails simply became too long - so as a joke, I decided to name the list "Miss America Junkies" (because trust me - I'm the obsessive one here and most of my friends were just humoring me).  I'm kinda glad the name stuck because I've always enjoyed the idea of taking something negative and turning it into a positive.  #JunkiesUnite.

7.  Are you involved in pageantry in any other way besides blogging?
          ~ Well, I'm not a 'pageant coach', or a local director, or a consultant... But my goal is to encourage a life-long affinity for the Miss America program.  I've had people tell me that they 'came back' to the program after walking away for a time, simply because of our positive coverage.  That's humbling and gratifying to say the least!  Personally, I love the potential for positive impact... and we can impact a lot of people by providing great coverage, meeting our fans face to face, and even begin judging if given the opportunity.

8.  How do you choose which state pageants you visit each year?
          ~ Because we consider it rude to impose, we wait for an invitation from a specific state before "inviting ourselves to the party".  In some cases, we visit states who have a strong "Junkie" following... But because there's a multitude of states who host their pageant on the same weekend, it's never easy to choose when and where we travel.  Bottom line, the way crazy baseball fans say they want to see a game inside every baseball stadium they possibly can - that's kinda what we think about visiting state pageants. It's a tough job, but someones gotta do it! :)

9.   "I love your blog/website/twitter feed, but you didn't choose my girl on your list of "Who to Watch"...
          ~ Here's the deal... We KNOW we're not perfect... we get it wrong because we're not clairvoyant and we're not super-human.  We also get it wrong because in most cases, we've never even met these girls - we're merely looking at them "On Paper" (and some girls look great on paper, but have significant short-comings we never get to see).  That's why there's a pageant... Not to determine who's the best On Paper, but to see who's the best On Stage.  More than 9 times out of 10, we don't get to see the stage performance and we miss out because of it.  If we didn't list your girl, and she finished in the Top 5, then Congratulations!  I'm sorry we missed her!  We'd love it if we were right 100% of the time, but even Junkies make mistakes... Please know, it's nothing personal.

10.  If you could relive your pageant experiences as a contestant, would you have done anything differently?
          ~ Sure... I would've understood that not winning my state title wasn't the end of the world... that sometimes 'losing' is the best motivator for future accomplishments... That the skill-sets I gained from the Miss America system have allowed me to climb the corporate ladder, emcee audiences of over 5000 people, think critically about my own arguments and opinions, and become someone who makes a difference in my little corner of the world.  I'd tell myself to pick my chin up; because everything I ever wanted to do, can still be done without the crown.

And there you have it!  Our Top 10 MAJ ~ FAQs!  Do you have a question that wasn't listed here?  Feel free to write in the comments section below or send us an email at MissAmericaJunkies@Gmail.com. :)

More Blogging to Come!  Can you believe there's less than 6 weeks until we crown a new MISS AMERICA???  As my son says... "H O L Y  M O L E Y         G U A C A M O L E!!!" :)

#JunkiesUnite

MAJ


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Junkies FAQ's Part One...

If you've poked around this site for any length of time, you can tell the Junkies' Blog "Comes Alive" around Miss America and more recently, during State Pageant Season.  In an effort to "Keep the Blog Alive" between now and September, we thought we'd do our best to come up with topics of interest to Junkies across the nation.  Therefore, today's post addresses some Frequently Asked Questions that have come to us while we travel to various state pageants, via Facebook, Twitter or in personal conversation for people who meet us...

So here you go... In no particular order... These are your Top 10 FAQ's answered by none other than the "Founding Junkie" herself...

1.  How did you decide to start Miss America Junkies?
          ~ Four years ago, I was frustrated and disappointed with how much negativity existed online in Miss America forums.  I longed for a site that would 'lift up' contestants, encourage them to get the most out of their Miss America experience, and would showcase the best of what each girl had to offer - be it compassion, humor, talent, beauty or grace.  Two years passed... and when I realized I couldn't find what I was looking for, I simply decided to start it myself.  Nearly 4500 Facebook fans and Twitter followers later, I guess I was on to something. :) 

2.  Did you ever compete yourself at Miss America or in other pageants?
          ~ I'm afraid I never made it to Miss America... but I enjoyed growing up in a 'Pageant Family'. My pageant career consisted of being named the 1st Runner Up at my state Junior Miss pageant then competing twice at my Miss America State pageant.  I finished as the 2nd Runner Up in my state which also allowed me to compete at Miss Sweetheart in fabulous Hoopeston, Illinois. :)

3.  Do you have a 'regular' full-time job?
          ~ Yes!  I happen to be the VP/GM of a National Media Company by day and a Junkie by night. :)

4.  How do you choose the girls who make your "Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch" list?
          ~ Essentially, we do our best to research the Top 5/Top 10 from the last 2 or 3 years of competition (which can be surprisingly difficult depending on the amount of accurate/inaccurate media coverage your state pageant receives).  Then, we look up Outstanding Teen state winners and runner ups (again - runner up coverage is sometimes very hard to find!).  Then, we look at head-shots and see who catches our eye.  Truth is, we've actually been doing this long enough now that we're pretty familiar with several names and faces from certain states - which makes our jobs much easier!

5.  What has been the biggest surprise to you since you started Miss America Junkies?
          ~ Hands Down... the biggest surprise to me is learning how many incredible young women are more than qualified to represent their state at Miss America.  In many cases, the girls who finish as the 1st or 2nd runner up are just as qualified to be "Miss State" - but for whatever reason, they aren't named the winner.  It's a rare thing to compete at Miss America - but seeing intelligent, talented, and capable young ladies finish within arms length of the crown, is not rare at all.

That's Part One of our "MAJ ~ FAQs"... Part Two will be posted soon enough! :)

If you have a question you'd like to ask the Junkies, feel free to post it in our comment section below.  You can also reach us on our Facebook page, through a private Facebook message, through our Twitter Feed or via email at MissAmericaJunkies@gmail.com.  So many ways to "Ask the Junkies" - Just take your pick!  :)

#JunkiesUnite

MAJ

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Junkies "TOP 5" Wrap-Up Post!!! :)


WHEW!!!!  Welcome to the Junkies "Wrap Up Blog"!

When we started this state pageant season back in April, we had NO IDEA how hard it would be to make it to July 21st!  Fifty-Three Blogs about 53 state pageants can take a toll on even the most dedicated of Junkies!  So - we thought we'd compile a few "Fun Facts" about this year's state pageant season, just in case you didn't know...

~ After writing 53 blogposts, how many did you get right?
Although we wrote 53 posts, we technically only created "Here's Who to Watch" lists for 51 states.  Miss Puerto Rico's facebook page had photos of the contestants, but no names listed (tough to make predictions without researching contestant names) - And we listed all 4 names of the 4 contestants at Miss Virgin Islands (not really a fair way to predict a winner when you list everyone who's competing).  So - of the 51 states where we listed potential ladies to watch (50 + Miss DC) we correctly identified 44 winners.  That translates to being correct 86% of the time. #NotTooShabby 

~ So Tell Us... Who did you miss?
Absent from our list of "Who to Watch" included the state winners from Miss New Hampshire, Miss Iowa, Miss Indiana, Miss Illinois, Miss Texas, Miss Oregon and Miss Idaho.  It doesn't mean we don't love you - but you can bet it means we're paying attention to you now. :)

~ And of the 7 state winners you missed, were you totally shocked? 
Four of these girls were never on our radar and 3 of them we considered listing, but didn't.

~  How many total contestants did you research? 
There were 1380 contestants competing for the 53 state titles this year.  Think about that for a moment...  Nearly 1400 girls!  That means each state had an average of 26 girls competing to win!  We realize most people only care about one state pageant... But our job is to look into all 53 states - and sometimes that means we don't do as much research as we should on "your state".  If you, or your daughter, or your grand-daughter, or your sister, or your roommate, or your cousin, or your neighbor's hair-dresser's best friend wasn't listed, please don't take it personally. :)  We simply couldn't research all 1380 girls and write 53 blogs in basically 2 months.

 ~ Which states received the most interest on your blog?
These 5 photos represent the "5 Most Visited Posts" for this pageant season! From the bottom to the top... We have...
          - 4th Runner Up, Ivana Hall, Miss Texas
          - 3rd Runner Up, Chandler Champion, Miss Alabama
          - 2nd Runner Up, Haley Williams, Miss Michigan
          - 1st Runner Up, Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina
          - Winner = Alison Cook, Miss Oregon!!!!
Big Thanks to all the Junkies who shared these posts with your friends... The 5 posts on these 5 states represented nearly 5000 pageviews!  You guys certainly know how to support your girls! :)

~  What are you going to do now with all your free time?
LOL!  Of course, we've started researching these 53 girls for Miss America!  Because Atlantic City is right around the corner - we think we'll have some strong insights into this class in ways we haven't before.  We can't wait to give our Preliminary Predictions and see the results come September!

So - there you go!  A plethora of pageantry propaganda at your fingertips!

And you thought 'Miss America Junkies' was just a name... :)

#JunkiesUnite

MAJ













Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MISS ARKANSAS!!!

The final blogpost for this state class features none other than Sloane Roberts, Miss Arkansas 2012!

During her time at Miss America, Sloane received the coveted "Miss Congeniality" award... and her reaction to this honor was posted on her Facebook page...

"When my name was called in the dressing room as the 2013 recipient of the Miss Congeniality award, I knew that His (God's) light shined way brighter than I even imagined. In that moment, I felt so humbled. Of course, emotions were on edge and I cried like a baby. That award is by far the greatest achievement I have ever made. I am so glad I had more of an impact on 52 other girls that I will remain in contact with rather than the judges who have probably already forgotten about me. I gave a short speech to the girls telling them how much I loved them and appreciated that more than they even knew..."

We know Sloane Roberts has a heart of Gold - and wish her the best in her future endeavors... We look forward to watching her blossom beyond the pageant stage in the years to come!

And now - The final state competition for Miss America is bound to be a doozie!  There are 20 veterans, 25 newbies for a total of 45 girls!  Although we expect some newbies to make some waves, we're listing our top picks based on previous performance.

Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch:

Morgan Holt - 1st runner up '12, AR OT '07
Amy Crain - 1st runner up '09, 2nd runner up '10, Top 10 '11
Brooke Ault - Top 10 '12, Alpha Interview and Talent awards
Somer Allen - 3rd runner up '11, Top 10 in '12
Tracy Neal - Top 15  in '12, Gown, SS and Alpha Interview awards
Lauren Howell - Prelim Gown '12, Tap Dancer

Good Luck Ladies!!!

MAJ

MISS ARKANSAS RESULTS:
Winner = AMY CRAIN
1st Runner Up = Tracy Neal
2nd Runner Up = Abby Lindsey
3rd Runner Up = Kiley Wright
4th Runner Up = Lauren Howell

Sunday, July 14, 2013

MISS NEW YORK!!!

From Miss New York, Shannon Oliver's personal blog about becoming Miss New York...

          I was sitting in an apartment in Harlem with six strangers and one friend while watching the Miss America Pageant.  And then it happened. My words were gone. I couldn't say "She did it!!" No, I could not even muster an "Oh my gosh!!" Instead, what can only be described as a banshee scream came pouring out of my mouth. Honestly, it sounded as though I had just witnessed murder. My voice teacher would have had a fit on account of my vocal chords as this terrible noise erupted from my throat for what must have been at least 15 full seconds. Eventually I stopped screaming when I realized that the neighbors of this stranger's apartment might call the police. 

"Shannon! Maybe you'll take Mallory's title!", I looked at them as though they had just suggested that in a week from now I'd be on the moon. Crazy-talk.
Well, crazy-talkers, you win. Here I sit, the new Miss New York 2012. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it since, in my mind, Mallory will always be Miss New York 2012."

We think Shannon has been an excellent Miss New York - and would highly encourage you to follow her blog at Shannon's NYC.  She's spunky, confident and only wishes her mom could've been around to see her wear the crown.

Mallory Hagan WILL be on hand to crown the new Miss New York - and this one isn't going to be easy!  There are 5, count 'em, FIVE former Outstanding Teen state winners competing at New York... along with some additional stiff competition!  Can't Wait to see who walks away with this one!!!

Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch:

Nora Ali - America's Jr. Miss '07, Violin Talent
Katie Berry - 1st runner up '12, Prelim SS and Talent, 2nd runner up NJ '10, NJ OT '05
Acacia Courtney - Top 10 '12, CT OT '09
Nina Davuluri - 2nd runner up '12, MI OT '06, 1st Runner Up at MAOT
Amanda Mason- 4th runner up '11
Desiree Wiley - 3rd runner up '11, 4th runner up '12 Prelim SS and Gown
Camille Sims - GA OT '10, 2nd runner up MAOT
Amanda Alicea - NY OT 05, NY Teen America '07 2nd Runner up Nationals

JUNKIES LOVE NEW YORK!!!  ALL THE BEST, LADIES!!!

MAJ

RESULTS:
WINNER = NINA DAVULURI
1st Runner Up = Amanda Mason
2nd Runner Up = Acacia Courtney
3rd Runner Up =   Desiree Wiley
4th Runner Up = Theresa Lii


Saturday, July 13, 2013

MISS MISSISSIPPI!!!



Miss Mississippi Marie Wicks simply exudes warmth, generosity and sincerity.  When watching videos about her, she strikes us as the kind of person who would casually stroll along an quiet, tree-lined street, curiously considering whether or not anyone in history ever walked the same path.

After all, Marie has an inquisitive mind... She has a dual degree in International Studies and French, with a minor in Chemistry.  And while her future plans are not 100% set in stone, she's thinking of a combination of medicine and law because, as she says, she just "loves learning".


At Miss America, Marie was named a Quality of Life finalist, a non-finalist Talent Award winner and was also Mallory Hagan's roommate.  A couple of select awards to be proud of and 10 days with the future Miss America may prove to the least of Marie's accomplishments if she continues to learn, grow and be that classic, "Southern Soul" we love.

And now - Miss Mississippi 2013 is crazy competitive!  With 35 contestants, this one will not be easy at all!

Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch!

Breanne Ponder - MS USA '10, Top 10 at Miss USA
Jasmine Murray - 1st runner up '12, America Idol Top 13 Finalist, Miss MS OT '07 = Top 10 at MAOT
Shelby Corn - 1st runner up '11, Prelim SS
Jessica Terrill - 2nd runner up '12, Top 10 in '11
Chassidy Sumler - 3rd runner up '12
Chelsea Rick - 4th runner up '12, Prelim SS
Laura Lee Lewis - MS OT '09
Kennitra Thompson - spent 2 weeks in a coma on life support and nearly died from an allergic reaction, Miss Black MS USA '10
Jordin Johnson - 4.0 nursing student, competitve gymnast, 1st time to Miss MS
Adrian Turner - 3rd year Pharmacy Student, 2nd time at Miss MS

We'll be watching these results closely!  Good Luck Ladies! :)

MAJ







RESULTS:
WINNER = CHELSEA RICK
1st Runner Up = Hannah Roberts
2nd Runner Up = Laura Lee Lewis
3rd Runner Up = Jordin Johnson
4th Runner Up = Caroline Conerly

Friday, July 12, 2013

MISS VIRGIN ISLANDS!!!

Miss Virgin Islands, Aniska Tonge shone brightly in Vegas... literally.  Anyone who was there saw her amazing gold evening gown - The Junkies even saw her after the pageant was over and complimented her on it in person!

Like many of the other contestants, Aniska regularly updated a blog about her year.  We particularly loved an entry she made in September, reminding us how important it is to have a strong 'support system' in the life of a pageant girl...

          "I can't begin to express how amazing and rare this experience is. Today I took my official head and competition shots. What a feeling! I brought my mom along as well and although I love how proud I have made others, her being proud of me is truly the most fulfilling. She said last night that her little girls were all grown up and soon we wouldn't need her anymore. But how wrong she is. She has taught me every value of a true queen; resilience in the time of struggle, faith when the dark times seem more powerful, and above all love and compassion. I feel as though I am most prepared for this journey because of what she has taught me, so today I took my official pictures for Miss America, and that meant such a great deal to me...But today my mom used her phone and took a million unofficial pictures of her "princess" and that meant the world to me."
         
For all the 'pageant moms' out there who have taught your daughters well, the Junkies say, "Thank You" :)
And now - here are the 4 contestants vying for the title of Miss Virgin Islands, 2013!

Naydyeyah Acoy-Thomas - 2nd runner up Miss St. Croix
Ashley Massiah - competed in '12
Cahtriellah Shabazz - competed in '12
Jessica Willock - 1st runner up VI OT '11

Good Luck, Ladies!  Junkies Wish you the Best!!! :)

MAJ



Thursday, July 11, 2013

MISS IDAHO!!!

The Junkies were "Uber-Proud" of Whitney Wood, Miss Idaho 2012!  She was precisely the kind of contestant who 'grows' within the Miss America system and was willing to put in the work to showcase her strengths.  Allow me to list the awards Whitney received at Miss America:

- Quality of Life Finalist - Handbags of Hope - $2000
- Non-Finalist Talent Award - $1000
- Louanna Gamba Instrumentalist Award - $1000
- Miss America State Finalist - $3000
- Total = $7000

Of the 53 girls at Miss America, Whitney won more scholarships than 41 ladies on stage!  In fact, she won just as much scholarship money as the Top 10 finalists won!  The Junkies thoroughly appreciate how Miss America rewards ladies like Whitney for their collective efforts - and not just those who 'make the finals'.  Idaho should be proud!!!

And when it comes to Miss Idaho 2013, this a bit of a head-scratcher for us... It doesn't seem like our choices are as "obvious"... Plenty of deserving ladies could win this year!

Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch:

Kacie Bitzenburg - 2nd runner up '12
Kaitlin Anderson - 4th runner up '12
Kalie Wright - SS and interview winner at her local
Meg Rowe - 4th runner up '10, 3rd runner up '11 
Dani Beckstrom - ID OT '08
Lauren Parkhurst - Cinderella Scholarship Pageant Winner, AL USA contestant
Sierra Sandison - was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a year ago, beautiful girl

GOOD LUCK ALL!!!  JUNKIES LOVE IDAHO!!! :)

MAJ









RESULTS:
WINNER = SARAH DOWNS
1st Runner Up = Katelyn Anderson
2nd Runner Up = Laura Hampikian
3rd Runner Up = Emily Housman
4th Runner Up = Kayli Schwendamin

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Miss Sweetheart

Everyone Sing!  

"I belong with you... You belong with me... You're my Sweet - heart..."

First and foremost, The Junkies LOVE Sweetheart!!!  In case you're not familiar with Miss Sweetheart, here's a bit of background.  Near the Indiana/Illinois border, the National Sweetcorn Festival takes place every year in Hoopeston, IL.  It's a "county fair" type of atmosphere filled with tractors, amusement park rides and of course, sweetcorn!  Contestants who finish as the 1st runner up to the winner of their state pageant receive an invitation to attend Miss Sweetheart.  If the 1st runner up has a conflict, the 2nd runner up is invited and so-on down the line.  Ladies across the county, who were within a heartbeat of heading to Miss America (and might still be disappointed in their loss), now get the chance to participate in a mini-version of Miss America in the middle of Hoopeston, IL (population 5300).  LOL - You really have to see it to believe it! :)

Because these girls were oh-so-close to winning their own state title, you can bet the women competing are usually quite polished - and the talent is exquisite.  Miss Sweetheart is truly an unexpected little gem in the middle of acres and acres of crazy corn fields.

Some girls attend just for the experience.  Some girls are still fully engaged in "competition mode" and are serious about proving they could've/should've won their own state title.  Some girls take one look around and realize in order to be 'on par' for Miss America, they're going to have to take it up a notch.  Overall - we've never met anyone who attended Miss Sweetheart, say that she regretted her decision.  Of course, some girls do go back and win their own state title, making Miss Sweetheart a significant part of their journey to the Miss America stage.  But for some girls - Miss Sweetheart is as close as they will ever come to Miss America.  That's why Sweetheart is so special.

Now - Our Miss Contestants have a few "Sweethearts" among them... Here they are...

Miss Arkansas Amy Crain - AR Sweetheart '10 (4th runner up)
Miss Connecticut Kaitlyn Tarpey - CT Sweetheart '12 (prelim SS award)
Miss Georgia Carly Mathis - GA Sweetheart '12
Miss Kentucky Jenna Day - KY Sweetheart '11 (Top 10)
Miss Massachusetts Amanda Narciso - MA Sweetheart '11 (Prelim Talent 2nd runner up)
Miss Nevada Diana Sweeney - NV Sweetheart '12
Miss North Dakota Lara Harmon - ND Sweetheart '11
Miss Virginia Desiree Williams - VA Sweetheart '12 (Prelim SS Sweetheart Winner)
Miss Washington Reina Almon - WA Sweetheart '12
Miss Wyoming Rebecca Podio - WY Sweetheart '12

Since Miss Sweetheart began, there have been 9 ladies who attended Miss Sweetheart that went on to win the Miss America crown = Pam Eldred, Rebecca King, Elizabeth Ward, Debbye Turner, Carolyn Sapp, Leanza Cornett, Tara Holland, Katie Harmon and Caressa Cameron.  And while Miss Sweetheart performance is no guarantee of Miss America performance, there have been plenty of Miss Sweetheart contestants who perform quite well at Miss America (too many to name in this post!).

So - who's attending Miss Sweetheart this year?  Glad you asked!  Take a peek at these 43 girls - because you might just be getting a glimpse of a few Miss Contestants for the title of Miss America 2015! :)


AL - Hayley Barber
AK - Sarah Cvancara
AZ - Katelyn Niemiec
AR - Tracy Neal
CA - Jordan Krinke
CO - Kristin Schubert
CT - Liz Wong
DE - Alix Gardner
DC - Azah Awasum
FL - Janae Deleon
GA - Courtney Walker
HI - Lei Ui Kaholokula
ID - Katelyn Anderson
IL - Savannah Teegarden
IN - Hannah Clingan
KS - Ashley Ulmer
KY - Kiley Shuffett
LA - Julianne Tippen
ME - Marisa Butler
MD - Sam Hawkins
MA - Meagan Fuller
MN - Emily Kallis
MO - Mary Bauer
NE - Megan Dimmitt
NH - Kendall Wipff
NJ - Brenna Weick
NM - Gabby Torres
ND - Meagan McDougall
OH - Cayla Hellwarth
OR - Kayla Gordon
PR - Allison Ortiz
RI - Ivy DePew
SC - Lauren Cabaniss
SD - Morgan Black
TN - Sarah Stokely
TX - Michelle Hanson
UT - Aly Johnson
VT - Nina Merriam
VA - Victoria Maiden
WA - Hannah Faith Price
WV - Ashley McGlaughlin
WI - Madeline Anderson
WY - Mikaela Shaw


(The photograph of each contestant corresponds with the alphabetical order listing from left to right... Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, etc) :)

These ladies arrive at Miss Sweetheart this very weekend - with the final night of Miss Sweetheart on Sunday, September 1st!  ALL THE BEST TO THE MISS SWEETHEART DELEGATES!!! Good Luck Ladies!!! :)

MAJ

Monday, July 8, 2013

MISS FLORIDA!!!


Do an impromptu  "google search" on Laura McKeeman & nearly every listing has 3 things: First, she's a sports reporter (most of us knew that). Second, she's dating (now engaged) to a professional baseball player (Wow!)  Finally, she's "Miss Florida" (duh).  Add those 3 things together... and Laura McKeeman seems a little like the Kate Middleton of America!  But dig a little deeper and you'll learn how close she came to having none of it!

First - Laura's friends entered her in her first pageant as a joke (btw - she finished as the 1st runner up)!  In her 3 years at Miss Florida, she won the interview competition every year.  WOW!

Second - She wasn't actually looking to become a sports reporter when she applied for a job at her campus radio station - but that's what they had available, so she took it!  Then, a big-wig at Fox heard her voice and liked it - and offered her a job on the spot (without ever seeing her).  DANG!

Third - Laura's fiancee played shortstop for the Alabama Crimson Tide before being drafted by the Colorado Rockies, where he's now playing 2nd base (he was only supposed to be 'filling in' - but made the most of his opportunity and earned a spot on the team).  Wish we knew how they met... It's like an SEC fairy-tale waiting to be told... (lol).
 
WE CAN'T WAIT to see everything Laura McKeeman becomes over the next 10 years... She now works for Fox Sports San Diego as their primary sideline reporter and it's just a matter of time before she's a household name.  Not because she married a big-leaguer, but because SHE IS a big-leaguer! :)   

And now - who should you keep an eye on for Miss FL 2013??? Hmmmm....

Junkies Say Here's Who to Watch:

Kalen Dennis - 2nd runner up '12, 1st runner up '11, Prelim Talent
Myrrhanda Jones - 4th runner up '11, Prelim SS, FL OT '09 2nd runner up MAOT
Jillian Tapper - 3rd runner up '12
Chloe Lupo - 4th runner up '12, Prelim SS
Janae DeLeon - Top 11 in '12, beautiful voice
Katherine Pena - Miss FL USA '11
Sydney Keister - FL OT '06, Top 10 '08
Victoria Cowen - 1st runner up FL OT '10
Ashley Ramsey - Top 15 '11, Top 10 '12

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE AT MISS FLORIDA!!!

MAJ  


RESULTS:
WINNER = MYRRHANDA JONES
1st Runner Up = Kalen Dennis
2nd Runner Up = Janae Deleon
3rd Runner Up = Chloe Lupo
4th Runner Up = Sydney Keister