Monday, June 09, 2014
 New Queen: Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez--Miss USA 2014 Finals, Baton Rouge River Center, Baton Rouge Louisiana

Last night were the Finals of Miss USA 2014. Fifty one contestants were vying for the top crown and of course, there could only be one winner. The 63rd Miss USA is Nia Sanchez "Miss Nevada USA". She stands 1.73 m (5' 8") and is 24 years old. Sanchez was born in Sacramento, California and is no stranger to pageants, in fact she was Miss Citrus Valley, Miss Hollywood USA 2011 and Second Runner-Up to Miss California USA 2011...

She is the FIRST Miss Nevada to ever be crowned Miss USA and the fourth Hispanic to win the title in it's pageant history. And if you watched the Finals last night, you also found out that Nia holds a 4th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Taekwando. Incidentally, Shanna Moakler, who became Miss USA 1995 after Chelsi Smith won Miss Universe is currently the Miss Nevada USA Pageant Director. So congrats to her as well. It is somewhat poetic that for the last six years, the Miss USA Pageant had been held in Las Vegas Nevada and this year changed venues to Louisiana and it is now that Miss Nevada took the Top Crown! 

The Show: As I said above, the Miss USA 2014 Finals were held in the Baton Rouge River Center in Baton Rouge Louisiana. They were televised live on NBC as a three-hour show (It seemed a bit too long if you ask me, and I LOVE me some pageants!).

The intro featured a Mardi Gras Extravaganza of an opening number with the 51 contestants "riding" onto the stage on colorful, bedazzled and feathered floats. It was quite fabulous and worthy of a "Miss Universe" opening number as opposed to well, just Miss USA. For the Intro, the contestants wore mini sequined and appliqued cocktail dresses and ensembles. While I understood that they went with the whole festive/party Mardi Gras/over-the-top staging, some of the styles were two minutes from being a little Tacky-licious.

The Hosts: Thomas Roberts--who replaced Bravo's Andy Cohen after Cohen refused to host the Miss Universe Pageant last year in Russia for obvious reasons--and Giuliana Rancic did a great job hosting the Miss USA 2014 Pageant along with Jeannie Mai who did "Color Commentary". And ever the Fashionista, Giuliana made us fashion-watchers proud as she did three gown changes. #AtAGurl . Which Giuliana Rancic gown was YOUR fave?

Universal Judge: It was wonderful seeing the elegant and timeless beauty of Barbara Palacios Teyde Miss Universe 1986, the third Miss Venezuela to capture the Miss Universe crown. And yes kids, that's her back in 1986, TWENTY-EIGHT years ago when she won (right photo)...

La Diva: Barbara was recently named one of the Judges of the new Miss Latina Universo Pageant and Reality TV Show on Telemundo (part of the NBC/Universal family which co-owns Miss Universe/Miss USA), which for the first time in Miss Universe history, will choose one Latina beauty from the US to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant (date and location later to be determined).

Now, lets get to the important part: Recap/Review of the Final Telecast Evening Gowns:
Gown Parade: During last night's Live Telecast, there were the Intros of the 51 contestants and then a LOOOOONG drawn-out announcing of the Top 20. These Top 20 then competed in Swimsuit in front of the "celebrity" Live Telecast judges and then the Top 20 were whittled down to Top 10. These Semi-Finalists then competed in my favorite part of the pageant: the Evening Gown Competition...

For the Final Telecast, most of the contestants wore the same gown they had worn a couple of nights before at the Preliminaries (which chose who the Top 20 would be) yet some--including the winner--changed. Let's get to the Gowns:

Miss Nevada USA--and eventual Miss USA 2014--Nia Sanchez: Nia changed her gown for the Live Telecast. For the Prelims, she wore the lemon yellow Mermaid-style gown with sequined torso applique seen in photo below. I thought that this was a bit over-the-top and Gay Pride Float-like so I'm kind of happy she changed...

Obviously, Nia likes that mermaid silhouette because for the Finals, she wore that shape again, with decidedly less "Parade Float" poufs and no sequined applique. The red strapless gown featured a center slit opening, side stiffened flounces and side waist cascades. It was a nice gown but if there was any critique, it was too tight and it could have done without those side waist cascades. The bottom detail and bodice drape should have been enough and the center front slit was odd on such a structured gown.
Gown Score: 8.7

Miss North Dakota USA Audra Mari: First Runner-Up Audra wore an emerald satin gown with "one-shoulder" draped bodice detail sewn over nude illusion. The dress also had a sequined waistband. She also wore this same gown for the Preliminaries. I was a bit perplexed by this gown and not a fan to be honest. It seemed a little sloppy and lacked the sophistication and amazing execution one would see from a high level pageant gown. I also didn't understand why the designers--or whoever made this gown--would put a big ol' WHITE zipper on the side, for all to see.
Gown score: 8.5

Miss Georgia USA Tiana Griggs: Second Runner-Up Tiana wore the same gown she had worn for the Preliminary Competition. The strapless gown was in the ever so-popular Mermaid shape and featured a golden crystal bustier and white satin skirt section. The gown worked for Tiana, in both its shape and gold/ivory coloring. She also has the elegance and deportment to pull it off. I just wished it didn't have that illusion center front panel; I'm NOT a fan of the illusion center chest panels that have now become almost de rigueur for these "Prom-&-Pageant" gowns. But I get it, these women want PLUNGING but not really, since their "sisters" would literally be spilling out if that panel wasn't there.
Gown Score: 8.9

Miss Louisiana USA Brittany Guidry: Brittany was arguable one of the most beautiful contestants of this year's Miss USA. She was the "local girl" and the fave to take the crown. And when it came to the Evening Gown competition, she did not disappoint: this was my favorite evening gown of the Preliminaries and also during last night's telecast.

The color was stunning; the fit was perfect; the jeweled drop-shoulder bodice and empire-waisted multi-layered georgette skirt was sublime. Brittany looked regal and almost on a whole other level than the rest of the contestants. And maybe too regal and too unapproachable and therefore, she ended up with the Third Runner-Up position in the end. But for her Gown, she gets FIRST...
Gown Score: 9.8

Miss Florida USA Brittany Oldehoff: 4th Runner-Up Brittany Oldehoff wore this same gown to the Prelims and I liked it then. The "dripping" bugle beaded sequined fringe was stage perfect. Oh and yes, there's that nude/illusion center breast panel (WHY???). Speaking of breasts, if there was any critique, it's the fact that the gown was too tight up top and made her cha-cha's look smooshed.
Gown Score: 9.0

Miss Iowa Carlyn Bradarich: Carlyn was another absolute stunner in terms of her beauty as well as her gown. This was another favorite of mine from the Prelims and I'm glad she wore it for the Finals. The black velvet column gown is regal, emphasizes her statuesque frame and the neckline sequin detail is beautiful. She looks CLASSY and sexy all at the same time in this gown. It's a perfect example that there's no need to show Tacky-licious Cleavage and have a SLIT to your nether regions to get attention (read below on that).
Gown Score: 9.5

Miss California USA Cassandra Kunze: First off, Cassandra is VA VA Voom Gorgeous: look at that body! This is a Straight Man's Arm-Candy Dream! (or at least I would assume so!). I love her hair and Starlet-like makeup. Now, onto the gown: it's a pretty gown and fits her to a "T". Unfortunately, I just think she is doing her beauty a major disservice by showing SO MUCH SKIN; I'm distracted by her "sisters" and the too-high slit--it's so not necessary. This gown would have been more elegant--yet still sexy--an inch and half higher on the neckline and with no slit. It was "Too Mucheey". Oh and then there are those shoes! Sadly it seems that every contestant had to wear these Chinese Laundry platform heels and I'm not a fan.
Gown Score: 8.5

Miss Maryland Taylor Burton: Taylor wore this gown for the Preliminary Competition. The dusty rose completely beaded halter-style gown featured a keyhole neckline and jeweled neck-piece, and...
...a very high side front slit. I was a little scared for her when she was lifting it because it was getting DANGEROUSLY close to seeing something you wouldn't want to see on Primetime National TV. I like the gown, it just didn't need that slit. And yes, once again those AWFUL putty colored Stripper Heels.
Gown Score: 8.5

Miss South Carolina USA Christina Zapolski: Six foot tall stunner Christina Zapolski wore a Mermaid-style strapless ivory colored gown featuring a sequined torso and multi-layered organza bottom half. This gown fit Christina perfectly and was one of my favorites of the Prelims (she wore the same gown). She looks like the "Dream Child" of models Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson.
Gown Score: 9.4

Miss Wisconsin USA Bishara Dorre: The final contestant who made the Top Ten and therefore got the chance to be in the Final Evening Gown Competition was Miss Wisconsin. Bishara looked fabulous in this strapless canary yellow gown with beaded bustier and multi-layered georgette skirt. From head to toe, she looked great! I know that this style also had that illusion center front panel but who cares when you look like Bishara. And boy, did she WORK that skirt OVERTIME! #AtAGurl
Gown Score: 9.5

Congratulations to the new Miss USA, Nevada's Nia Sanchez!! And Best of Luck at Miss Universe. Miss USA has a Latina representative and soon the Miss Universe Pageant will have another one, with it's Miss Latina Universo pick.


Brett Mann said...

correction: she was miss citrus valley 2010 and 2nd runner-up @ california usa 2010, NOT 2011.

she was miss riverside county 2011, NOT miss hollywood usa, and only made the top 20 @ california usa 2011, NOT 2nd runner-up.

she was miss hollywood 2012, NOT 2011, and only made the top 20 @ california usa 2012.

like nana, who moved to maryland (and won) after not being able to win in california, nia moved back to nevada where she had lived very briefly when she was 7-8.

MelanieLayden said...

I like reading your posts, but I think you should do some research before you blog about Miss USA. Your opinions are giving a wrong impression to your readers.

1. Miss ND's dress had a white zipper because her stylist ripped the dress! They had to get it altered last minute.

2. The girls HAD to wear those (as you quote) "awful putty stripper shoes" because they were made by Chinese Laundry... the official shoe sponsor of the Miss USA pageant.

3. Your facts about Nia and her past titles in the Miss California USA pageant are ALL WRONG! Check the guy who posted before me.

That being said, I know these are just your opinions... but just trying to help!

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