Critics say the Miss America pageant is dead.
So few people watch it, the pageant can't even find a channel to broadcast it on TV anymore.
But it's not over; it lives on, as America's Next Top Model.
The show has moved from "modeling competition" to become the new Miss America.
Consider the following:
* Contestants must not only be pretty, but also display random talents. Note: acting workshops, dancing in Tyra's video, etc. I am waiting for the competition where they twirl flaming batons.
* The winners are awarded a contract as the "titleholder" of the competition, which includes money in exchange for working for the organization. This title lasts a certain amount of time; when the time expires and a new competition begins, that reigning titleholder makes one final appearance on the following season to say what a great time they've had, they've been so busy, etc. And you wonder what they've actually been doing, because you really haven't seen them doing anything except this competition itself.
* Contestants are given the opportunity to use the competition to speak out about issues they feel are important, i.e. single motherhood, drug abuse, the trials and tribulations of being a twin, etc.--even though this has absolutely nothing to do with winning the actual competition. To win, you just need to look good in a bikini and have a pleasant personality.
* Winners are much more likely to move on to careers as spokespersons instead of modeling, since they are too identifiable as being from the show. I.e., Yoanna: stint as host of some makeover show on E!, although is that still on?
* Some non-winning finalists, once on an infrequent occasion, will pull a Vanessa Williams and become very successful, all the while chuckling about that silly contest she was in years ago. I.e., Elyse Sewell. And just like Miss America contestants since Vannessa--other ANTM contestants besides Elyse...well?...
* The competition itself is laced with ridiculous singing/dancing productions that serve no real purpose other than to act as filler.
* The contestants cry a lot.
* The contestants want to use their reign as America's Next Top Model to demonstrate how they are strong, independent women who are capable of making the world a better place.
* In the Season 9 premiere, Tyra clearly states the Top Models are seen as "role models." Presumably Tyra is indicating they are role models for someone other than gay men, although nobody is certain who exactly that would be.