Miss America goes to the boonies
After half a century on network television and a decade of declining ratings, the Miss America pageant is going to the boonies. It's moving to country music cable channel CMT starting in January.
A CMT programming head said "the Miss America pageant and country music actually are similar in their appeal to the people of the Ã¢â‚¬ËœAmerican heartlandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and their embodiment of the American dream and small-town values." Quixotically, he added that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hoping to lure a younger audience to the pageant.
But country music isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t what kids are listening to these days. Take a look at AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Top 10 current songs and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see pop and hip-hop. No country there. The truth is poor ratings meant that no network wanted to touch the pageant with a ten-foot pole. And Donald TrumpÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Miss USA isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fairing well either; its April airing on NBC attracted a dismal 8.1 million viewers.
Truth is, people are bored with the fake, good-girl image of these pageants. Back when we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know much about our public figures Ã¢â‚¬â€ remember when they were virtuous and mysterious? Ã¢â‚¬â€ the pageant was popular. I remember spending a few evenings as a kid watching those shellacked beauties parade onscreen. It was mesmerizing. But now, the contestants seem overly manufactured and perfect. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no real drama, no spontaneity, which weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to expect in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reality-show era. The show-starting big number seems like a holdover from those bad Vegas b-shows. The hostsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ gags are too scripted. And hot women in bikinis? Yawn. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even warrant a protest, because nobody takes these shows seriously anymore. It would be more interesting focus on the women who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t win, and what they really thought about it.
CMT can have its pageant. But its Ã¢â‚¬Å“embodiment of small-town valuesÃ¢â‚¬Â? I bet the majority of small-town Americans canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even name the current Miss America.