2012 Miss America pageant live blog: All the talents and tiaras

miss-america-2011.jpgThe 2012 Miss America pageant is here and we are not ashamed to admit we're very excited. Most beauty pageants are boring, but we've always liked Miss America because of the talent portion. Fingers crossed for something as awesome as last year's yodeling ventriloquist.

So follow along with us as we live blog all the grace, gowns and gaffes.

9:00 p.m. - It's so wonderful that Chris Harrison hosts this. It's so fitting. We just wish the judges were all "Bachelorette" castoffs.

9:01 p.m. - Miss Colorado's intro name-drops Tim Tebow. Do the girls write these themselves, or do they have to say what they are given?

9:03 p.m. - Miss Florida cites beaches, theme parks and people as her state's assets. People? That's it? Just in general?

9:04 p.m. - Oh, that looked like the electric slide! On the Hoover Dam!

9:05 p.m. - Did they just skip from Idaho to Indiana to Kansas? Who organized this alphabet? Where are Illinois and Iowa?

9:07 p.m. - Miss Maryland actually has to say "come enjoy our crabs." Ew. Just ew.

9:09 p.m. - What is with these fugly outfits? Some girls have on lovely dark-colored dresses and then others look like hippies threw up on them after taking some bad LSD.

9:10 p.m. - Miss North Carolina says their claim to fame is the first miniature golf course. Well, we suppose it beats the hell out of just saying "people" like Florida did.

9:11 p.m. - When Miss Pennsylvania says, "Come to my state for a delicious kiss - a Hershey kiss, that is" she fails to add on the end "because I'm Amish," but I'm sure it was implied.

9:11 p.m. - Yes, they've now skipped Texas and several others. What is happening?

9:12 p.m. - Brooke Burke Charvez reminds us this is a "scholarship program." We wish Candice Bergen was here to do that.

9:13 p.m. - Now we get the missing states, in two different groups. Seriously, this is weird. I don't like it. Are these the semifinalists? I think they must be, but I wonder why they did it this way. Edited to add later: That can't be it, Alabama and California weren't missing from the alphabetical order. But many of the semifinalists were in the final two groups. Weird.

9:14 p.m. - America's choice contestant is Miss Oklahoma. And her name is Betty. How cute is that?

9:15 p.m. - We find out the 38 girls who don't advance to the semifinals get to vote later on to save one contestant. This gets more and more like a reality show every year! By 2015, we are sure to have a bug-eating contest portion.

9:16 p.m. - The judges are some real winners, including "The Bachelor" producer Mike Fleiss, and Kris effing Jenner. Ugh. (As brilliant commenter Cici points out, what does Kris Jenner know about beautiful, wholesome, smart girls? ZING!). Also, who knew Teri Polo had those tattoos? Not me.

9:19 p.m. - The girls advancing to the next round are: Miss Oklahoma (already announced), Miss South Carolina (holy crap, she lost over 115 lbs?!), Miss Florida (and people!), Miss New York, Miss Iowa (wooo, Iowa!), Miss Texas, Miss Virginia (yikes, she is excited in her video), Miss Illinois, Miss Arizona, Miss Alabama, Miss Tennessee, Miss Wisconsin - and now we take a break? Seriously, what is happening?

9:25 p.m. - We're back for the last three. Which is a strange way to do this. The final three semifinalists are Miss North Carolina (the first putt-putt course, y'all), Miss California (who thinks Miss America should know how to "manipulate the media." Apparently she wants Miss America to be a Kardashian [ ba dump ching]) and Miss Louisiana.

9:34 p.m. - Brooke is with the rejected girls. Miss Nevada looks like if Arnold's partner in "Kindergarten Cop" were a beauty pageant contestant. And then Brooke forces them to do a sing-along to that stupid "dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign" song. If I was up there, I'd be singing dirty lyrics and hoping to get on camera.

9:35 p.m.
- Swimsuit time. Oklahoma is rocking. South Carolina looks a little awkward. Florida is a bit of a butterface. Sorry if that's mean. This is a beauty pageant. They are there partially to get their looks judged, so whatever.

9:37 p.m. - New York strikes a pose as if to say, "What? Do something." and Iowa looks like she could potentially fall down. Texas is approximately 10 ft tall and may actually have a six pack.

9:39 p.m.
- Virginia has on a silvery bikini that is kinda skanky and would not be out of place on "Jersey Shore." Illinois has on too much eye make up. She is a very pretty girl, but she looks like a raccoon.

9:40 p.m.
- Arizona stomps down the runway like she's mad at it. Alabama has some actual meat on her bones, so she's my second favorite after Iowa.

9:41 p.m. - Tennessee has a weird She-Ra Princess of Power amulet at the front of her bikini. North Carolina's boobs are uneven (and probably fake). California has on the skankiest bikini yet, oh dear God in heaven. It's probably to distract from her face.

9:42 p.m. - Louisiana, like Texas, is Attack of the 50' Woman. We approve, you go, tall ladies.

9:45 p.m.
- We are paring down to 12 for the evening gown competition. I predict the ones that get cut are Wisconsin, Virginia and California.

9:46 p.m.
- The ones advancing are Louisiana, Iowa (woo), Illinois, South Carolina, New York, Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, Texas, California and Oklahoma. Wow, I'm bummed about Alabama.

9:50 p.m. - And now the crap gets real, yo. Brooke tells the 38 rejectees that they have to line up behind the three who were just cut and pick one to advance. Oh, this is awesome. Alabama! Alabama!

9:52 p.m. - You can tell some of them are kind of disgusted and some are a little confused. Their accountants from Ernst and Young do the tallying, while Brooke makes this sound like the most important choice anyone has ever made. Alabama wins, yay! You go, girl who isn't a stick!

9:53 p.m.
- Gretchen Carlson was a Miss America? Ew.

9:55 p.m.
- Time for evening wear. It's so funny to see what the ladies' tastes are. Speaking of which, Louisiana has on a gorgeous dress, though we aren't sure the cutout of skin should extend that far into the front.

9:56 p.m. - Iowa is steamin' in red, we love it. Illinois' dress is a little too prom for me, but taste is subjective.

9:57 p.m.
- South Carolina's dress does not trip my trigger. Also, it's binding around her legs, so she can't walk right. She's loping along like a dude in drag who doesn't know how to walk in heels. Thumbs down, lady. Sorry.

9:58 p.m. - New York's dress is gorgeous, though the neckline peaks are a little sharp. Wisconsin goes for black, sleek and elegant. Though let's not get carried away comparing it to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, lady. She was not showing that much boob and you know it.

9:59 p.m. - Florida's voiceover goes, "The perfect dress has to make me feel eight foot tall." Which makes us more sure she penned her own line of "beaches, theme parks and people."

10:00 p.m. - Tennessee slinks down the runway like she's going to grab a chair at the end and do a sexy dance. Arizona has a skin cutout too that we are also not fond of. Texas looks elegant, but a little blah on the color.

10:02 p.m. - California once again looks skanky to me. Oklahoma looks like she bought a pretty dress, then went bat-crap crazy with her bedazzler.

10:04 p.m. - And then there's Alabama, who actually gets an "Oh my God" out of me. That dress would've been fine without that ridiculous bow. This is not the gift-wrapping counter at Macy's, lady. What were you thinking? North Carolina and Virginia are backstage shooting daggers at that ball gown.

10:05 p.m. - Miss Nevada just declared her run for President. You have my vote, Pamela Reed.

10:07 p.m.
- Yes! Talent! This is the best. And hilariously, they are announcing the three eliminees after the girls have gotten prepared for their talent. So they just have to slink off stage.

10:08 p.m. - Arizona is first, she's a burlesque dancer, apparently. OK, fine, she has some good moves, but she's really not a "dancer." There's no polish to this. And she keeps mouthing the words, why is she doing that? Stop.

10:10 p.m. - Up next is Illinois, a pointe dancer. Her music and doll character is very weird, but she's pretty good. One of her trivia facts at the bottom is that she's "afraid of windmills." I wish we could get into that later. Then the next fact is that she's a self-proclaimed "megalophobic," which is a person who fears large objects. Why did "windmills" have to be brought out separately?

10:12 p.m. - Oklahoma is an Irish stepdancer. Awesome. This is so much more fun than the first two dancers. We love the little buckles on her shoes. Then the music speeds up and it gets even better. Wonderful.

10:14 p.m.
- Now we get an eliminee, Miss Florida. Must be because you're not eight foot tall.

10:17 p.m. - Next up is Texas, who looks just gorgeous and is a classical pianist. Outstanding. And she seems to be pretty good. That's not really a talent you can fake your way through.

10:19 p.m. - Wisconsin, looking beautiful in red, is our first singing act of the evening. She's an opera singer and she's got absolutely wonderful tone. Opera singers do not always have my favorite tone, but she's wonderful. Ooh, but the last note isn't quite there. Oh well. Probably nobody noticed.

10:21 p.m. - Now we have New York, who has on a really fugly dress. She sings "Disneyland" and it's .... hmmm. It's OK. But it's not that great. And then it goes completely off-the-rails. Oof. That was not good.

10:23 p.m.
- Louisiana is a pointe dancer, but more contemporary than our Illinois earlier. And she's ... hmm. She's like a stripper ballerina. This kind of makes me think she's actually not that good of a pointe dancer, so she does this to distract from it.

10:25 p.m.
- Elimination time. The girl going home is South Carolina. In her little exit interview, she says she's got TV show offers. Huh. Is it 'cause of the weight loss?

10:30 p.m.
- Tennessee is the next performer, she's singing "Memory," which is a pretty cliched choice. And she's singing it in Italian (I think that's Italian). Huh. She's OK, but not wild about the choice. But she dramatically waves her skirt around at the climax, so she'll probably advance. Her trivia bits include "honorary duck master for Peabody Hotel in Memphis" and "suffers from Bieber fever." Okey dokey.

10:33 p.m. - Iowa (phew!) is next. She sings "You Raise Me Up," which is a good choice for this type of competition. Luckily, she can also sing. Her dress is kinda weird. Eh, not my favorite.

10:35 p.m. - We're down to the last two. Advancing is California, which is a bummer because it looked like Alabama was going to tap dance. California is doing the Black Swan variation from "Swan Lake" on pointe. Of course she is. But anyway, she's very good. She's the best dancer of the entire group.

10:37 p.m.
- I predict the five advancing to the Q&A portion are Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, California and ... hmm. Illinois.

10:42 p.m. - The first question goes to Wisconsin. She is asked if Miss America should declare her political views. She gives a very diplomatic answer, but doesn't answer the question.

10:44 p.m. - Oklahoma gets an obesity question about government regulations of feeding kids. She says it's the parents' responsibility and then the government wouldn't have to step in. OK, we know you only have 20 seconds, but it is QUITE a bit more nuanced than that.

10:45 p.m. - Arizona gets Kris Jenner, who asks about Tim Tebow and religion. She gives a great answer about being convicted and strong in who you are, but not thrusting your faith onto someone else. It's a very good answer.

10:46 p.m.
- I cannot believe New York just advanced after that horrid talent performance. She gets an Occupy Wall Street question and she does ... OK. Teri Polo looks like she wants to cut her.

10:47 p.m. - California is the last finalist and she gets a "Teen Mom" question. Her answer kinda sucks, talking about supporting the entertainment industry and the "appetite for reality television." That may not be the point of view they're looking for in a Miss America.

10:49 p.m. - I'm pretty shocked I only got two finalists correct. I am a little stunned Texas didn't advance and I think New York and Arizona had no business being in the finals.

10:52 p.m.
- Miss American 2011 Teresa Scalan gets her last walk, which based on its seriouness, you'd think meant her last walk before she is taken out back and shot.

10:53 p.m. - Honestly, after those questions and answers, I think Arizona might win. Her or Oklahoma.

10:55 p.m. - The order from last to first goes California (no shock after that "Teen Mom" answer. You totally blew your awesome talent), Arizona (bit surprised there, Oklahoma must have it in the bag), New York and Oklahoma, making your Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, Miss Wisconsin. The mascara starts streaming. Thanks for playing along at home with us.
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