Choosing a song for talent is difficult. You want it to be upbeat and catchy. The judges should recognize it, and possibly have an emotional tie to it. The lyrics should be meaningful. It can’t hurt for audience participation either.
It is generally a good idea to choose a song put out within the past 5 years. Some locals even push within the past 2 years. Miss America should be relevant, modern, and a trendsetter. More often than not, she will do this with a modern song.
For the talent portion of the 2015 Miss America competition, Miss New York performed her own variation of a cup song. She sang “Happy” by Pharell, while making her own percussion by tapping along with a red cup. See the video, here. She received a lot of backlash for not only the simplicity of her talent, but arguments that it isn’t a real talent at all. In the past there has been some strange talents, such as horseback riding or how to pack a suitcase. Recently, state titleholders have had to find alternatives for their untraditional talents, such as roller skating and archery. But what about in New York? This sparked the question, “What other talents have Miss New York contestants performed?”
Miss America is the largest pageant system with a talent portion. This section is scored 35%, which actually makes it, according to the numbers at least, the most important category of the competition. It’s no wonder that many of our Miss America past winners, as well as countless state and local titleholders, have danced in ballet companies, performed on Broadway, or put out albums. The Miss America system is full of talented ladies.
Miss NY 2013
So what happens when a contestant transfers to MAO from a system without a talent portion. She has the stage presence, poise, and beauty. She’s smart, active in the community, and can depend her viewpoints in her interview. But this future Miss America wanna be has not been singing since before she ould speak or dancing since she learned to walk. Sure, she can do a little of both, but she may not have what it takes to stand out against classically trained girls.
This is similar to the case of Kira Kazantsev, Miss New York 2014. Kira has a beautiful voice. She’s fit and healthy, incredible intelligent, and has a great marketing mind. But the talent section is not what drew her to MAO.
The talent portion of Miss America is what makes this system unique. Not only talent prevalent in the judging criteria, but is the highest scored category; truly setting it apart from other beauty pageants. Typically, when we think of the talent competition we think of two talents: dancing and singing. Dancing might be split into jazz, ballet, and lyrical, and vocal may or may not include an instrument. Maybe the contestant will just play an instrument. But after we think of those two main talents, our mind drifts to theater performances: monologues. There are many different types of monologues, such dramatic monologues, musical theater monologues, and comedic monologues. Slam poetry, a form of spoken word, is also making an appearance in the local talent scent.
Although I never considered performing a monologue while I competed, I can respect those who are truly able to fall into character and take the audience into a new world through their words and actions. It is a true talent to be able to transport the audience into a scene. If I had a chance to perform a monologue, I would choose one of the following three pieces. They are all 90 second cuts of various plays and movies that carry a strong theme of female empowerment, albeit in very different ways, and give the speaker an opportunity to truly delve into the character and shine.
Last night I had the extreme pleasure of begin able to attend the Miss Fulton County pageant, located at Gloversville Middle School. It is always beneficial to watch pageants, even if you are not competing Not only only do you see first hand what it is like to be in the audience’s position, but you are able to pick up tricks and tips from the other contestants, and see who wins and will potentially be your competitor if you also move on to compete at State. Plus, above all else, it is great to support your pageant sisters as they compete for the crown. You want people supporting you, so it is always nice to return the favor!
I went with Lauren and my mom, and the Albany girls (Chelsea, Amanda, Adrienne and Anneliese) all drove out as well. We had bought tickets ahead of time, as sometimes they sell out, and were able to get a good place in line. We let the other girls cut in line with us, instead of going 5 miles out the door.
Not only did one very beautiful and talented lady gain entry to the Miss New York pageant, but nearly $8,000 was awarded in scholarship money. I think that’s one of my favorite parts about competing in pageants. The prizes go directly to the secondary education of the winners and runner ups.