Seventeen-year-old Teresa Scanlan, representing the entire state of Nebraska, wowed the likes of judges Joy Behar, Marilu Henner, and orthopedic surgeon and shoe designer Dr. Taryn Rose to capture the coveted tiara at the ninetieth annual Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. Scanlan overcame a formidable group of fifty-two other attractive girls wearing sashes draped diagonally across their bodies to win the first prize of a $50,000 scholarship. Scanlan, who plans to study American politics at Patrick Henry College in Virginia at the end of her reign, is the youngest winner in the history of the competition. I mean, if you can skip the Miss Teen USA pageant and go right for the big enchilada, why not?
The fifteen semi-finalists all wore identical black swimsuits in the Grade A meat-judging portion of the event, to a techno version of (I've Had) The Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing. The evening-gown segment classed up the proceedings as pre-recorded statements from the contestants played while they modeled expensive couture. Scanlan led off the talent demonstrations by pounding the ivories in a masterful rendition of Calvin Jones' "Whitewater Chopsticks." She needed to bring her "A" game on that, because eventual runner-up Miss Arkansas performed ventriloquism with puppets Rocky and Rosie while singing "I Want to Be a Cowboy Sweetheart." And Rocky and Rosie yodelled.
And that's when we came to the critical, often deal-breaking crucible of the interview question, where a poised Scanlan acquitted herself nicely in responding to a query about balancing the Wikileaks revelations against the public's right to be informed. She referred to the dissemination of classified documents as "espionage," and said "we have to focus on security first and then people's right to know." Scanlan announced that she will use her title to help women prevent and conquer eating disorders, which an estimated eight million Americans suffer from. Let's face it, that's a much more realistic goal than world peace.