Sunday, January 27, 2008

Miss America 2008

Forget South Carolina and the Democrat primary. For my money, the big contest last night was out in Las Vegas, where a much better looking assemblage of talent was on display.

The lovely and talented Miss Michigan, 19-year-old Kirsten Haglund, has been crowned Miss America for 2008.
Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund, a 19-year-old aspiring Broadway star, was crowned Miss America 2008 on Saturday in a live show billed as the unveiling of the 87-year-old pageant's new, hipper look.

Haglund, of Farmington Hills, Mich., sang "Over the Rainbow" and walked a crowd-pleasing strut in a black and gold bikini to clinch the title. She beat Miss Indiana Nicole Elizabeth Rash, the first runner up, and Miss Washington Elyse Umemoto, the second runner up for the $50,000 scholarship and year of travel that comes with the crown.

Haglund, who studies music at the University of Cincinnati, grew up in a pageant family. Her mother is an active volunteer, and her grandmother Iora Hunt, competed for the crown as Miss Michigan 1944. Hunt joined Haglund at a news conference.

"The only words that come to my mind is that this is a dream come true, not just for me but for my family as well," Haglund said. "I'm not just standing up here alone."

Haglund, a cheery, classic blond, wore a revealing silver sequined dress and black bikini during the evening gown and swimsuit portions of the pageant. As her platform issue, she promised to advocate for awareness of eating disorders, an illness from which she has recovered.
Here she is with more clothing on.

While I won't quibble with the ultimate selection, I'd been hoping Miss Utah won, but it was not to be.
Usually tame by modern TV standards, the swimwear competition kicked it up a notch. Most contestants wore black bikinis, and some struck provocative poses and twirled as the audience howled. Contestants also wore blue jeans and added a bit of humor to the traditional opening number, the parade of states.

Haglund's moves won howls from the audience. "I think for the audience, the swimwear and evening wear was much more entertaining, am I right?" Haglund said when asked about the show's new look.

The changes included a chance for "Reality Check" viewers to text message votes for their favorite contestant. Miss Utah, Jill Stevens, an Army medic who served in Afghanistan, was named "America's Choice."

Stevens did not make to the final 10, but she took the disappointment with pluck. She dropped and gave the audience push ups before joining the other losers on a riser on the side.
Miss Wisconsin Christina Thompson, left, and Miss Utah Jill Stevens do push-ups after Stevens was eliminated from the finalists during the Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Finally, one last look at Miss Haglund.

UPDATE: Instapundit
links. Thanks!

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