Let me start this by saying I am no stranger to pageants. I love them. I have won my fair share, and I have lost my fair share too, and I pride myself on losing with dignity and grace...when I actually deserve to lose.
What happened to me this weekend at the Whitehall Athletic Club's W.A.C. North American Pageant, a "national" pageant, put on by Kelly Slingerland of "Kel Promotions" and Shane Alden, was pretty much the worst experience in my pageant history to date.
There were some red flags from the start, red flags I chose to ignore. For instance, at orientation/registration, contestants were told how there would be talent scouts and other "important people" at the event, people that could see them and make things happen for them. While this *could* be true, most of us pageant people know that it takes some pretty rare circumstances for people to be discovered through pageantry; that's not why we do them, but that draw could certainly lure in some newcomers.
There was also the fact that contestants were able to meet the "celebrity judge" before the show. With most pageant systems, talking to the judges ahead of time is a big no-no and can get you disqualified, but this was allowed.
The other big problem was the shoddily thrown together stage which featured dangerous drops and divets in many places and was extremely tough to navigate, so much so that even the (bless their hearts) youngest contestants pointed out the "scary spots."
The biggest blow, however, came at crowning. There were only two of us in my group, and I won the highest score in every single category of competition. As you can see, the competitions and their weights are listed below and can be found on the pageant's website:
I won every category required for the division title, yet the title was given to the other woman in my group. She, for the record, was a wonderfully sweet woman, and this is in no way intended to cut her down. However, it was unfair that she was given the crown.
When we questioned how I could win every category (see my awards below)....there were a lot of interesting answers.
First, I was told that our final/total score was tied so the auditor just picked one of us at random. Of course, I have no idea why I would win each award if our score was tied, but even if that was the case, random auditor picking is not how it's done in pageants. It goes back to the judges who break the tie.
When I questioned that, the answer was that the decision was made off of volunteering (which I won).
In short, there were no answers that made sense and basically just a quick brush-off. The only thing that I can think might have happened is that somehow the other contestant's optional score (I did not compete in optionals) got calculated in where it shouldn't have.
It is sad and disappointing, but you live and you learn in pageantry world. However, I would strongly advise steering clear of the W.A.C. North American Pageant and hope that the Whitehall Athletic Club will seriously rethink its affiliation with this "pageant system."
While I did have a good time and met some truly sweet girls, a lot of unprofessional things went on, including an EXTREMELY intoxicated judge. That judge (pictured below on the right in his drunken glory) was pretty entertaining for the adults...maybe not so much for the impressionable kids.
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