Monday, August 19, 2013


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???



Monday, August 12, 2013


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!!! :)


Thursday, August 8, 2013


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 :)



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 :)

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!!!" :)