By Josh Howard
For many girls, pageants are similar to princesses in fairy tales, just a bit more grown up. The fashion, makeup and lights keep thousands of feminine viewers tuned in each year to see which woman will be crowned as the winner. For many guys, pageants mean one of two things: a night where you lose the television to the female in your life or you only tune in for the swimsuit competition.
This Sunday, June 8, guys (and girls alike) will be faced with this awkward position when the 63rd annual Miss USA Pageant airs live from the Baton Rouge River Center at 7 p.m.
Now, before every guy hides this article from his girlfriend or skips to the sports section (Geaux Tigers, by the way), here are some reasons why everyone can enjoy the pageant.
1. The thrill of competition
Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, there is a swimsuit competition. However, the 51 beauties representing every state and our nation’s capital, will do more than parade around the River Center stage in active wear. Before the live competition begins, the girls compete in preliminary events in order to impress a myriad of judges and make the top 10. These Finalists will then battle it out in swimsuit, evening gown and a final interview, on Sunday evening.
Viewers can get socially involved in the competition by selecting which of their favorites to save from elimination by tweeting the name of their selected state along with #savethequeen.
Also, if you’re like most red-blooded Americans, you enjoy a great challenge and we aren’t talking about the overplayed Real World vs. Road Rules Challenge (you’ll always be a winner to us, Cora). Some girls have been competing in the world of Honey Boo Boo for years. They make necessary sacrifices, follow a strict fitness plan and do whatever it takes to become (what seems like) America’s Next Top Survivor on the Voice.
Still not sold? Think of the beauty contest like The Hunger Games. Substitute high heels, hairspray and glitter over a set of a bow and arrows. Also, everyone volunteers and wants to go the Capitol. Each contestant had to win a pageant in her local area (or district) in order to advance to the state competition in hopes of traveling to Baton Rouge to become Miss USA 2014.
2. It’s in our backyard
For only the third time in its existence is the Miss USA pageant returning to Louisiana. It’s the first for Baton Rouge as the first two were both “up north” in Shreveport. To echo the cheers of our state officials for a second, this is a great opportunity and economic boom for our city. This is our city’s chance to put up or shut up and it appears that we have been putting up quite a beautiful effort so far. No stone that’s calling Baton Rouge will be unturned while the contestants are here. If you’re lucky, you can spot the ladies enjoying local favorites. Among their many activities, the girls have experienced the awesomeness of Tony’s Seafood, sang their hearts out at Boudreaux & Thibodaux’s, and also dined and danced Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Obvious side note, yet related: one of the qualifications of a Miss USA contestant is that she must not be married. How does that stipulation apply to this point? Guys, if you’re bold enough and see one of the 51 around town, why not say ‘hello’? While she may not be single, there’s a 50/50 chance she could be more than satisfied with you as her prize over a tiara. Ahh, a boy can dream, right? Plus, how cool will it be to see our city and awesome citizens in clips streamed throughout the show? The current Miss USA dished up our city’s favorite chicken, Raising Canes, to some unsuspecting patrons. That is what we call good television.
3. An abundance of celebrity
In case you missed the duo at the recent Bayou Country Superfest, Bryan Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, better known as Florida Georgia Line, will be back in the capital city to serenade the contestants during the pageant. Along with Nelly, we can expect them to sing their overplayed, yet catchy hit “Cruise” along with follow-up “This is How We Roll”. Louisiana local Marc Broussard will be accompanied by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns to open the pageant with a bayou explosion and Mardi Gras flair. If you didn’t get enough country music during Memorial Day weekend, and you love a good old-fashioned Louisiana party, this pageant has your name on it.
In addition to the musical guests, anchor and reality star Giuliana Rancic returns to Baton Rouge (she spoke at LSU in April 2013) to host alongside MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts. They will keep the three-hour sequined party moving along with TV personality Jeannie Mae. To round out the celebrity presence, we can expect a panel of judges who will most likely include an athlete, a reality star and former beauty queen, all vying for the spotlight. Last but certainly not least, you should be interested and on the watch for the man, the hair, the legend, Donald Trump. If for no other reason, watching the one-time presidential candidate, could be tuning in.
Whether the contest and its accompanying events are a dream of yours or an obligation, everyone can find something to enjoy about Miss USA being in town. So go ahead and set your DVR. We won’t judge. Grab your friends and tailgate like it’s a football game. This will be a solid competition with one winner at the end. We can all get behind that notion.