Miss Utah Crowned New Miss Babbling YouTube Victim USA

Last night, the Miss USA pageant took place in Vegas. I will pretend you care about the particulars for a second and then move on to the point: The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper and Mo Rocca joined Betsey Johnson on the show’s panel, with Rocca “prais[ing] the pageant as a prime example of Americana”; also important (?) is that Miss USA is not the same as Miss America, a comparatively varsity competition requiring the contestants to have a charity platform and a talent (like, you know, ventriloquism). Miss USA is all hair extensions, gowns, Jonas brothers, and smizing.

Unfortunately, there are also questions. Winner Erin Brady from Connecticut was asked if she agrees with the Supreme Court’s DNA testing decision, for instance (she does). For God knows what reason, judge no. 3, NeNe Leakes, was chosen to pose a query to Miss Utah Marissa Powell, and she opted to ask about gender income inequality. NeNe, man! Still waters run deep! Whatever invisible high-five Utah gave herself when she saw that NeNe was the judge who would be probing her intellect was immediately squished when she heard the question, and what ensued was 30 seconds of trying to knit a cohesive answer-sweater out of education, creating jobs, and puzzling out how to make men … try to create … education better.

Education better. Education better. Education better. I don’t know if Miss Utah is at home in a bathrobe right now, chain-smoking Capris and pouring Drano into her ears to drown out the wails of this ghost of dumbness she’s unleashed onto the Internet, but at least she isn’t alone in her embarrassment. It’s been six years, but the memory of Miss South Carolina Teen USA contestant Caite Upton tackling a pretty straightforward question about the geographical ignorance of our fellow Americans with words fished out of the garbage disposal is as fresh as ever: “People in our nation don’t have maps,” “The Iraq, like, everywhere such as,” something something schools in the U.S. should help South Africa and The Iraq and all of those Asian countries, such as. In a pre-interview question taped by Good Morning America, Miss California once mistook euthanasia for a vaccine — a helpful vaccine, that is, not a vaccine against staying alive. A Miss Philippines contestant was carried away by jitters in front of Vivienne Tam, and this grainy archival video forever preserves an uncomfortable moment in which a contestant’s response infantilizes presidents and spits in the eye of girl power after reading the question off an index card about a hundred times. In 1992, a pair of shoulder pads forgot that there was anything redeeming about the country outside of the sprawling vistas of Hawaii. Miss Serbia and Montenegro refused to answer whether she’d prefer to be fire or water, because “I’m a human being, I’m a girl, which has an emotion, and fire and water doesn’t have.” It happens.

There are tutorials explaining how not to eat dirt during the pageant Q&A sessions. Some tips include choosing to identify with out-there animals (“like an alligator”) and not answering “Where do you live?” with a color. You can’t even rehearse your way to safety, because no matter how much mileage you think you can get out of knowing the date of Pearl Harbor, you’re pretty screwed if you think it ended the Great Depression. Maybe the trouble isn’t that competitively hot people are disproportionately dumb, but that manufacturing non-political, optimistic, un-boring responses on the fly is difficult because you have to acknowledge your own opinion and then doctor it so it’s appetizing enough for the Miss USA audience to gobble up. It would be much easier to trot out your thoughts undressed and bare-faced, take it or leave it, but that’s not the pageant game. Either way, we should probably start trying to create education better, and try to find our inner alligators. Nobody wants to be stumped by NeNe. Nobody.

Filed Under: Viral Video of the Day

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Tess Lynch is a contributing writer to Grantland.

Archive @ PhloxLombardi

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