I watch this every few years. Tonight I caught it somewhere near the middle. I realized several things:
o To me, the contestants always look pretty much alike. They never look their age, which is somewhere around 18 or 20. Their elaborate makeup and hair make them look almost matronly. They usually sound similar, too, except for the minor difference that some of them come from the South and have Southern accents.
o I find most of the gowns just fancy, like Barbie dresses, but there are always one or two that stand out. This year, it was I think Miss Oklahoma whose gown appealed to me the most. It was a smoky dark silver, with elements of Grecian draping.
o I always like the talent part best. I think my favorite talents are tap dancing and baton twirling, those two quintessentially American art forms. This evening, there was one wonderful baton twirler, who (except for one error) was wonderful, with three batons on the move and all sorts of interesting twirls and throws. Modern baton twirling seems to take a lot from rhythmic gymnastics, which I also love. There were three tap dancers. I think the one who appealed to me the least (rather stiff torso and very slow turns) was the winner. One of them, I think Miss Oklahoma again, was phenomenal, with a lot of work on point and with taps so fast she could have done flamenco. One other talent performer I enjoyed was Miss South Carolina, who played a great rapid piano version of a Jackson Five song. The singers seemed to be the most anxious; most of them couldn't find their pitch. One girl sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis. Alas,when it comes to this song, we have so many showstopping singers to compare her to nowadays. She's no Anne Hathaway, and she's certainly no Susan Boyle. In fact, this contestant made me realize yet again how astonishing Susan Boyle was in her first audition. It's so easy to tighten up and let nerves overpower one's voice when singing before a large audience. Susan Boyle was so loose and easy as she sang that day; she seems to have such a wonderful sense of pitch.
It's interesting watching this from time to time. Did anyone else see it?