Miss USA Contest Gets Edgy: Same Sex Marriage, Domestic Abuse, Bail Outs. And Always Bikinis

In a move to dispel the image of beauty contestants as vapid bimbos, Sunday night’s Miss USA pageant final runners-up had to answer questions posed by the judges that showed a depth drawn from the headlines.

Misses North Carolina, Utah, New Mexico, California and Kentucky each drew cards with a judge’s name from a fishbowl  and answered the a question from the selected judge. And contestants did not wear swimsuits during this portion, so it wasn’t not a totally shallow ooglefest, but for you readers who do like bikinis, well, they’re at the end of the post.

Judge Kelly Moore asked Kristen Dalton Miss North Carolina if tax payers money should be used to bailout struggling companies, why or why not, to loud applause. Kristen, who would go on to win the crown, responded that she didn’t think US companies should get taxpayers’ money, which instead should be spent on:

education and school systems and welfare and health care. That’s what out taxpayers money should go to, absolutely.

Kenan Thompson asked Miss Arizona Alicia Blanco:

Do you think the United States should  have universal health care as a right for citizens? Why or Why not?

Sadly she responded with a canned answer designed to handle any political question:

You know, what this is an issue of integrity, regardless of which end of the  of political spectrum that I stand on. I’ve  been raised in a family to know right from wrong, and politics whether or not  you fall in the middle, the left or  the right, it’s an issue of integrity whatever your opinion is and I say that with the utmost conviction.

She definitely has a future in PR.

When Miss Utah Laura Chukanov was asked by Claudia Jordan is she thought we should pledge $40 million for fair elections in Afghanistan, given our country’s economic difficulties, she responded emphatically that we should.

Perez Hilton asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, a motivational speaker who once tried out to be a briefcase model on  Deal or No Deal :

Vermont recently became the 4th state  to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every  state should follow suit, why or why not?

Yes! Perez brough up gay marriage in  broadcast that went out to an estimated audience of 100 million world wide!

And then came the answer that made Perez furious! In a videoblast from his hotel after the show’s taping at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas he said that Miss California and Miss USA should inspire and unite, and he is so disappointed in Miss California because she does neither. Perez opined that Miss California lost not because she opposed gay marriage, but because she gave a stupid answer. Oh and he wrote apologized on his blog for calling her a dumb bitch in the video. I agree with him completely, except for the apology. But then again, Perez is nicer than I am.

Prejean’s response–which drew Perez’s ire, boos from some audience members and prompted arguments in the auditorium’s lobby–was so freaking ignorant. Maybe she was just blindsided by the question but saying  people can "choose same sex marriage"? Not in 46 states!  And for her to slip with "in my country"! It’s not your country, it’s "ours." Here’s her answer:

Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there.But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you.

Miss Kentucky Maria Montgomery’s answer to Brian Graden’s question was anticlimactic. The judge asked as Miss USA, if she would have spoken out about Chris Brown’s alleged abuse of Rhianna, and what would she have said. Miss  Kentucky replied that she would have spoken up, because no excuse for violence.

Miss California Carrie Prejean, who attended San Diego Christian College, leaked her theocratic views on national TV ("in my country"?) home as first runner up.  But Carrie, don’t get  your eyelashes in a damp clump from crying. After all, Sarah Palin got her start as a pageant queen.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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