THE PRETHOUGHTS (June 19, 2011)

Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011Alyssa Campanella reacts to winning Miss USA 2011ALYSSA WON!!!!!!!!!!!
OMG! OMG!! Tears of joy are streaming down my face. Alyssa Campanella is Miss USA 2011!! I'm so unbelievably happy right now and that 60th anniversary show was so wonderful. An absolute treat for pageant aficionados like me. As many of you know, Alyssa was my winner even long before she won a state title to get to Miss USA! Bravo to the judges for recognizing! On top of all that, this year 12 of my 16 predictions placed! 2 of my alternates (Texas and Maine) also placed. And the two ladies not on my list who made it were Utah and the winner of the Internet vote, New Mexico. The 4 ladies in my list that didn't place were Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Illinois. I will post my commentary on June 27 (bandwidth exceeded so delayed commentary until July 1). Isn't it interesting? As my friend, Hernan pointed out, Mexico won Miss Universe 19 years apart (1991 and 2010) and now California also has won Miss USA 19 years apart (1992 and 2011)! Also Venezuela had 4 1st runner ups between winning its 1996 and 2008 Miss Universe crowns (1997, 1998, 2000, 2003) just like California had 4 1st runner ups in between winning Miss USA 1992 and 2011 (1998, 2005, 2006 and 2009). Also California crowned Michigan at Miss USA 1993 and now Michigan crowned California in 2011!

I'm just so elated right now. Let's hear it for Alyssa!!!!

So happy to see so many former Miss USAs attend!!

Back row: Kim Tomes (1977), Judi Andersen (1978), Jineane Ford (1980), Terri Utley (1982), Wendy Dascomb (1969), Tanya Wilson (1972), Karen Morrison (1974), Barbara Peterson (1976), Sylvia Hitchcock (Universe 1967), Sue Downey (1965), Bobbi Johnson (1964), Marite Ozers (1963), Second Row: Brandi Sherwood (1997), Kenya Moore (1993), Third Row: Carole Gist (1990), Shanna Moakler (1995), Kimberly Pressler (1999), Kandace Krueger (2001), Julie Hayek (1983), Gretchen Polhemus (1989), Shandi Finnessey (2004), Chelsea Cooley (2005), Tara Conner (2006), Kristen Dalton (2009), Charlotte Sheffield (1957), Terry Huntingdon (1959), Miriam Stevenson (Universe 1954) and in the front is Rima Fakih (2010)



Winner=California-Alyssa Campanella

Winner=California-Alyssa Campanella*

1st Runner Up=Tennessee-Ashley Durham

1st Runner Up=Indiana-Jillian Wunderlich*

2nd Runner Up=Alabama-Madeline Mitchell

2nd Runner Up=Arizona-Brittany Brannon*

3rd Runner Up=Texas-Ana Rodriguez

3rd Runner Up=Georgia-Kaylin Reque*

FINALISTS (alpha'l)


Hawaii-Angela Byrd

Alabama-Madeline Mitchell*

Maine-Ashley Marble

Kansas-Jaymie Stokes

Maryland-Allyn Rose

Florida-Lissette Garcia*

South Carolina-Courtney Turner

South Carolina-Courtney Turner*



Arizona-Brittany Brannon

Missouri-Hope Driskill*

Florida-Lissette Garcia

Tennessee-Ashley Durham*

Georgia-Kaylin Reque

Michigan-Channing Pierce

Indiana-Jillian Wunderlich

New York-Amber Collins*

Missouri-Hope Driskill

North Carolina-Brittany York

New Mexico-Brittany Toll

Illinois-Angela Sparrow

New York-Amber Collins

Hawaii-Angela Byrd*

Utah-Jamie Crandall

Maryland-Allyn Rose*


ALTERNATES:Nevada, Texas*, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maine*


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Mississippi, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Virginia, Alaska


* = made actual top 16


UPDATE: Apparently, there is a format change. The most recent alert is that there is actually a top 16 this year who compete in swimsuit, then a cut to top 8 to compete in gown and then a top 4 to answer the final question. So as a result, Maryland will move up and become my 16th semifinalist. Maine will move up from honorable mention to alternate and Alaska will move up to become the 5th honorable mention.

Wow! What an incredibly competitive year! There are so many delegates that could make the cut for one reason or another. 1 semifinalist will be determined by the Internet vote for the first time in history. In spite of the competition, my winner remains unchanged and I'm sure many of you already know who it is. After watching the preliminaries and close-up videos, I have formulated my list for this year so here we go!


Winner = California - Alyssa Campanella

No surprises here! I have been anticipating Alyssa's participation in Miss USA for years now since her dynamic performance at Miss Teen USA 2007 and although she had to overcome many obstacles on her road to get to Miss USA as I discussed in my first round prethoughts, she's here and she is the odds-on favorite. Alyssa already tops many lists and what more can I say other than she's it and I hope the judges recognize that. Alyssa is now the first woman to top my predictions lists for both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA.

1st Runner Up = Indiana - Jillian Wunderlich

I simply adore Jillian and with her strong resemblance to the stunning Duchess of cambridge, Kate Middleton, Jillian is just a vision and it was said during prelims that she loves sketch comedy shows and acts them out so her comedic talents may just win her points with the judges.

2nd Runner Up = Arizona - Brittany Dawn Brannon

She's a favorite and she kind of looks like one who would be favored by Trump as he seems to like the wide-set eyes. But she has a Beyonce-like aura about her and many are expecting her to do well.

3rd Runner Up = Georgia - Kaylin Reque

She's got that sex appeal that will certainly appeal to the straight male demographic and as mentioned earlier, she demonstrated that she has leadership qualities and she just can't go unnoticed. I think her look will carry her far and I thought her close-up video showed she has a fun side and good spirit.


Alabama-Madeline Mitchell

She was once higher in my list but she fell into this slot after I watched her close-up video because I wasn't terribly impressed with her answers but her body is very impressive and she just has tremendous overall beauty and I think she will do very well.

Kansas-Jaymie Stokes

She's a knockout. What can I say? Jaymie is a fun girl and she has an amazing body and her look has matured a lot since she competed at Miss Teen USA 2007 which was also a very impressive group. I always had her as a top 10 pick and there is a chance, she could go even further. I also think this gown was a great choice for her.

Florida-Lissette Garcia

I'll admit that based on earlier pictures, I would look at her face and couldn't figure out why some people liked her so much. Then I watched her in action during the preliminaries and immediately had to put her in my list. With that walk, she has such great stage presence and this gown is just sensational.

South Carolina - Courtney Hope Turner

She's so gorgeous that even a gown that some would deem rather risky shouldn't hurt her but I will admit that she's fallen a few spots because of it. However, she's so fresh faced and has that Miss Teen United States under her belt so she has consistently remained a contender.


Missouri-Hope Driskill

She's got the overall package and she certainly delivered. Her look is very appealing and she has a great body and gown so I'm expecting her to do well.

Tennessee-Ashley Durham

Lots of people are really taking notice of Ashley and with good reason as she certainly delivered in the preliminaries. Her body, gown and overall look are very good.

Michigan-Channing Pierce

Okay, so this one didn't really impress me in her earlier interviews. She stressed that she's new to pageantry but I think her interview skills need a little more refining and felt she was a tad sloppy in presentation earlier. I was debating on whether or not to include her but I decided to after preliminaries because it looks like she has improved and a lot of people really seem to like her.

New York-Amber Collins

When she was first crowned, I never would have picked her. Then, word came out that Shanna Moakler and Keith Lewis (the state pageant directors of California) became the new directors for New York and New Hampshire and they have really helped this girl along. The gown is nice and her body is looking really together and fit and there's a niceness to her that I think the judges will find appealing.

North Carolina-Brittany York

I just like her. She has a pleasant aura about her. I think Brittany has a great look, a nice body and her gown also fits her curvaceous form very well.

Illinois-Angela Sparrow

It's really hard to say no to that smile! Angela exudes such warmth and I really like her gown and was impressed with her overall performance so I'm looking for her to get a spot.

Hawaii-Angela Byrd

And the last spot goes to Hawaii. An impressive exotic beauty with a great gown but I think in terms of body that this is about as far as she'll go.

Maryland-Allyn Rose

Allyn has a gorgeous fresh face and is very fit but upon second glances, she just fell out of my top 15 but UPDATE, the latest rumor is that there is a top 16 so she has moved up into the list. I think it was the gown that I questioned with her but she could make it.


Nevada-Sarah Chapman

This was a tough one. She's the hometown girl but this will be the 4th consecutive year that Miss USA will be held in Nevada and they didn't place in the 3 previous years so I'm beginning to think there's something to that. Maybe to avoid home crowd bias perhaps influencing the judges? Also, in a year as competitive as this one, I have to pick out flaws and Sarah may have a very fit body but some have said that she looks a bit older or her face is a bit too long. She could easily be up there but since there are reasons to keep her out, I decided to make her an alternate.

Texas-Ana Rodriguez

Texas out two years in a row? It could happen. In fact, it did happen in 1999 and 2000. I waited to see her performance in preliminaries and found myself underwhelmed as the representative of Texas normally should be a little more dynamic. She does have a great body and this gown reminds me a lot of that worn by Miss Colombia 1998, Silvia Fernanda Ortiz.

Massachusetts-Alida D'Angona

Other people seem to like her a lot but I'm not terribly impressed with body or gown. I also think her hair color is wrong for her.

New Jersey-Julianna White

Again, this is one that other people seem to like that I just don't get. I question the gown and in swimsuit, she certainly is not nearly as strong as many of the other delegates.

Maine-Ashley Marble

I was actually quite impressed with Ashley and think she could pull it off in spite of her height. Her body is great and the gown works well with her and looks unique. She is also that history making delegate who is competing at Miss USA 11 years after competing at Miss Teen USA which is the longest wait in history and she only got the right to represent Maine when the actual winner resigned the crown allowing Ashley to step in.


Mississippi-Keeley Patterson

She could make it. She hasn't really done anything wrong but has she made enough of an impact?

Connecticut-Regina Turner

I look at this gown and I think it might be unique enough that they may want it to make the telecast and her body is decent. However, I was not at all impressed with her close-up video as she didn't elaborate on her answers so she's a question mark.

District of Columbia-Heather Swann

I don't think this gown was the best choice for her but she has a look that a lot of people really seem to appreciate so maybe she can do it.

Virginia-Nikki Poteet

A vast improvement from her earlier pictures. I think she has potential because the gown looks great and body looks okay.

Alaska - Jessica Chuckran

Update: Since there are 16 semifinalists this year. Alaska is moving up to honorable mention status in my list. She was among my semifinalist picks earlier because I loved her video "Why Miss Alaska wants to be Miss USA" which showed her rolling around in paint and painting the Miss Universe logo. I thought it was very creative. But unfortunately, after preliminaries, she fell to this position.

And of course, there are a number of other delegates that could place and there are normally surprises that nobody saw coming.

Minnesota - She has a bit of a Katy Perry look and she is a talker so she could interview her way up there so this one could be a surprise.

Louisiana - Something about her reminds me of Drew Barrymore. Her gown looks like it was inspired by that of Samantha Casey's last year.

Colorado was in the news earlier this year due to losing her home so this story could possibly win her the Internet vote or maybe a Congeniality award.

Kentucky is considered legally blind as was mentioned during the preliminaries and has to wear special contacts and people have drawn attention to her close-up video and how she seems to have a lot of personality.

Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia are also some delegates that seem to garner some interest.

So there it is. I absolutely LOVE this year's swimsuits by the way. The big night is June 19 on NBC when Miss USA 2011 is crowned and the 60th anniversary is celebrated. It's going to be exciting!!!


The delegates are making their rounds in the media tour and people are starting to pick their favorites and some are making a strong first impression. And it's the 60th anniversary of Miss USA this year! And I'm getting all nostalgic. Rumor has it that Justin Grant photography will be doing a special photo shoot for the last 35 Miss USAs!!!!! I'm so excited to see the pictures and hopefully there will be a much better tribute this year as opposed to 2001 (the 50th anniversary) when the formers who attended that pageant were just briefly shown sitting in the audience during the telecast. Also for the first time, one of the semifinalists will be decided by a public vote so who will that lucky lady be?

Here come the first round prethoughts to give you an idea of who I've got my eye on for this year's Miss USA crown!

From Jersey Shore to California Gurl

Alyssa Campanella, Miss California USA 2011"Turn it up 'cause it's gettin' heavy!" As I'm sure many of you who have been following my prethoughts over the years already know, Alyssa Campanella is easily my pick to win this year's Miss USA crown for 2011. The world first laid eyes on this astonishing dynamo when she competed for the 2007 Miss Teen USA crown. Many pageant watchers were amazed at her incredible beauty and poise resulting in her topping many predictions lists that year. Then, on performance night, Alyssa wowed us with her introduction and she did an awesome perfect landing after doing a spin elegantly placing her hands on her hips and this only cemented our beliefs that Alyssa had the x-factor. She was an 'it' girl and she impressed all the way to the final 2 placing as 1st runner up to Colorado's Hilary Cruz who would reign as Miss Teen USA 2007. Ever since her exciting performance at Miss Teen USA, many people hoped that she make an attempt for a Miss USA state title. But her path to get to Miss USA was not as easy as many people thought it should have been. At Miss New Jersey USA 2009, Alyssa had to settle for the 1st runner up position to Kaity Rodriguez, who didn't place at Miss USA, then Alyssa competed for the 2010 New Jersey crown only to have to settle for a semifinalist spot during that pageant. I was not happy and a lot of pageant fans who recognized Alyssa's star quality were also not happy. By chance, Alyssa decided to relocate to California and further her modelling career and she was encouraged to compete in the Miss California USA pageant. Alyssa had to compete under extremely competitive conditions. California had 213 delegates competing for the coveted Miss California USA 2011 crown which is the most that pageant has ever had and Alyssa's first runner up at Miss California USA was none other than Miss Teen USA 2006 herself, Katie Blair. Katie Blair now follows Christie Woods, Ashley Coleman and Tami Farrell as the 4th former Miss Teen USA who was unable to capture a Miss USA state crown and earn the right to compete at Miss USA. Former Miss Teen USAs Kelly Hu, Brandi Sherwood, Jamie Solinger and Shauna Gambill all managed to win their respective Miss USA state titles on their first tries. Christie Woods competed in Texas thrice before ageing out and her best placement was her first try when she was 3rd runner up to Miss Texas USA 2002 but many people did expect her to take the crown that year especially after she won the swimsuit and photogenic awards at Miss Texas USA. Ashley Coleman was 3rd runner up at Miss California USA 2006, Tami Farrell was first runner up to Carrie Prejean at Miss California USA 2009 but Carrie was dethroned and Tami took over the title but she did not compete again to get a chance to compete at Miss USA as Tami opted to get married. No word yet on whether Katie Blair will make another attempt at a Miss USA state crown. Alyssa's win at Miss California USA was just a dream come true. I was elated when it happened and am hoping that she will go all the way because many people know that she would be an amazing Miss USA. In fact, I dare say that Alyssa is really the only one I WANT to see win it all.
Julianna White, Miss New Jersey USA 2011 History will also be made as Alyssa will be competing against Julianna White, the reigning Miss New Jersey USA and she was also Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2006. Since Alyssa was Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2007, this will be the first time that two former teens who represented the same state will be competing against each other. Julianna placed in the top 10 at Miss Teen USA 2006 but can she repeat that success? I'm sure many of you remember my 2003 Miss USA predictions when I drew attention to the fact that two ladies in my predictions list (California's Candice Sanders and Idaho's Lana Wright) didn't place among the actual semifinalists and both of them were considered statehoppers because Candice had previously competed and was a runner up at Miss Tennessee USA and Lana had previously competed and was a semifinalist at Miss Texas USA. I drew attention to the fact that Tennessee and Texas both placed but California and Idaho didn't possibly due to a supposed statehopper curse. BUT!!!! Lest we forget that some Miss USA winners are also from other states. 1992's winner Shannon Marketic was previously a runner-up at Miss Arizona Teen USA 1989, 1995's winner by inheritance, Shanna Moakler of New York represented Rhode Island only a few years prior at Miss Teen USA 1992 and Shawnae Jebbia lived in California and attended university in Florida prior to winning the 1998 crown for Massachusetts. Shauntay Hinton from Mississippi won the 2002 Miss USA crown representing the District of Columbia so in actuality, there is no statehopper curse, just a bunch of mere coincidences. Alyssa is too powerful to be subjected to such nonsense and many people are anxiously anticipating that she go all the way. It's interesting to note also that Miss Nevada USA, Sarah Chapman did compete in previous years at Miss California USA and she is also the sister of Miss California USA 2004, Ellen Chapman. This will also be the first time that someone I predicted to win Miss Teen USA will also top my list of my predictions for Miss USA. Previous women such as Tori Hall and Lacey Wilson managed to top my predictions' list for Miss Teen USA but did not when they competed for Miss USA.

A Likeness to Her Royal Highness

Indiana, Kate Middleton, AlabamaSo there was a royal wedding this year if you haven't heard... Prince William married Kate Middleton on April 29 and the two then became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William is of course the son of the late Princess Diana who was married to Prince Charles in 1981. 1981's Miss USA, Kim Seelbrede does have a bit of a resemblance to Diana depending on the angle (maybe some of you consider that a stretch. I dont know but anyway...), I figure, given how stunning Kate Middleton is, that there should be some delegates that would get noticed because they bear a resemblance to Kate. I think two stunning brunettes fit the bill nicely and they would be two of my favorites, Indiana's Jillian Wunderlich and Alabama's Madeline Mitchell. Jillian was also a semifinalist at Miss Teen USA 2008 representing Florida. Do expect these two to have a strong showing on my predictions list this year. Given that Miss USA is technically royalty herself, it's generally expected that the titleholder have some sort of regal aura, demeanor and carriage. Alabama was my prediction to win last year so it looks like this state is coming on strong and wants to capture another crown. Alabama's only Miss USA was Sylvia Hitchcock in 1967 who went on to win the Miss Universe crown later that year. Indiana has never won the crown but they were first runner up in that year I pointed out (1981) and Gary, Indiana hosted the Miss USA pageant in 2001 and 2002.

You... Make... Me... Feel Like I'm Livin' a... Teenage Dream

Courtney Turner, Miss South Carolina USA 2011Brittany Brannon, Miss Arizona USA 2011Two of this year's other stronger contenders are also former national teen titleholders (But not Miss Teen USA). The stunning Courtney Hope Turner of South Carolina, already deemed by many as one of the best faces of the pageant, also previously held the title of Miss Teen United States in 2009. South Carolina hasn't won the Miss USA crown since 1994 when Lu Parker captured the title. South Carolina has consistently proven itself as a force to be reckoned with because in addition to winning 3 Miss USA crowns, they are the only state to have two Miss USAs become Miss Universe titleholders (Miriam Stevenson in 1954 and Shawn Weatherly in 1980). Adding to South Carolina's strength, Gina Tolleson who was Miss South Carolina USA 1990 and 1st runner up at Miss USA 1990 went on to win the 1990 Miss World title and in 1998, Vanessa Minnillo captured the Miss Teen USA crown for the Palmetto state. Another heavy favorite for Miss USA 2011 is Arizona's Brittany Dawn Brannon who previously held the title of Miss Teen America 2007. Arizona last held the Miss USA title in 1980 when Jineane Ford inherited the crown after Shawn Weatherly won Miss Universe. I was expecting Arizona to place last year but unfortunately they didn't. In 2009, Arizona's Alicia-Monique Blanco placed as second runner-up at Miss USA so Arizona is another state that is making waves at Miss USA in recent years.

Kaylin Reque, Miss Georgia USA 2011Georgia's Kaylin Reque also seems to be one blonde bombshell that many people took notice of and she asserted herself as a dominant force among this year's contestants. During the recent media tour that most of the delegates went on, the delegates made an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly and Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, all being former or present cheerleaders demonstrated some dance moves but I immediately noticed how Georgia took charge and was essentially leading the pack. Kaylin is a leader, not a follower and that is a good quality for a potential Miss USA to have so will it work in her favor? She seems to be somewhat of a polarizing figure though as some consider her maybe a little too sexy and that her type wouldn't win Miss USA but perhaps would do well in other pageants but I still think she may have a very strong showing at Miss USA.

Ana Rodriguez, Miss Texas USA 2011 Texas' Ana Rodriguez like many previous Texas titleholders finally won her title after several tries. Surprisingly, Texas did not place at Miss USA last year with Kelsey Moore, who won Miss Texas USA on her first try which is extremely rare. Since Ana was a runner-up several times in recent years, this seems to be an indication that she has the experience and competed with other Miss USA semifinalists including former Miss USA 2008, Crystle Stewart so Ana would be one to watch at Miss USA.

In the months leading up to the pageant, we learned about Colorado's Blair Griffith losing her home. Blair's story made international headlines and she said the main cause was having to pay for medical expenses after her mother suffered a heart attack. We also learned about two state winners who resigned their titles. First Maine's Emily Johnson opted to give up the title of Miss Maine USA because she wanted to attend her sister's wedding being held around the same time as Miss USA. First runner-up at Miss Maine USA, Ashley Marble took over the title and made a little history while she was at it! Ashley was also Miss Maine Teen USA 2000 which means that she had the longest wait in history (11 years) from competing at Miss Teen USA to Miss USA! That distinction previously belonged to Hawaii's Aureana Tseu who was Miss Hawaii Teen USA 1999 and Miss Hawaii USA 2009. The other state winner to surrender her title was Wisconsin's Shaletta Porterfield who voluntarily resigned giving her runner-up Jordan Morkin the chance to compete at Miss USA 2011.

So those are my first round prethoughts for now. After preliminaries, I will fine-tune and then post my final predictions for Miss USA 2011 and then we'll see it all on June 19 on NBC in Las Vegas when the truth unfolds before our eyes. It's going to be exciting!




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP