Live-blogging Miss America 2012!

10:06 p.m.: And the winner is…. MISS WISCONSIN!!! It came down to her and Miss Oklahoma. I thought it would be Miss Oklahoma, since she was the audience favorite from the get-go. But Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaepeller brought it home to the cheese state. (Her talent was opera, by the way. That’s her on the right in the red gown she wore for the talent portion of the night.) During the crowning, she was wearing a really pretty black evening gown, which she said was patterned, in part, after Kate Middleton’s wedding gown.

She cried, of course, the second her name was announced, and unfortunately, her mascara was not so water-proof. She had to wipe away some black smudges before she took her victory walk down the runway. But she still looked amazing, and she really did have an all-around stellar night on the stage.

So to recap, Miss Wisconsin wears the crown; Miss Oklahoma is first runner up; Miss Arizona is 2nd runner up; Miss New York is third runner up; and Miss California is fourth runner up.

And the recap here on the Rockwood sofa is that we’ve all had way too much to eat, and — for the past two hours — 5-year-old Kate has been asking “When are we going to see the pretty crown?” Well, there it is sweetie! The crown has finally landed. Congrats to Miss Wisconsin and all the lovely women who competed. 🙂

9:52 p.m.: The top 5 were announced and asked an on-stage question from the judges. I thought Miss Wisconsin avoided the question entirely. Miss Oklahoma did fine. Her question was about childhood obesity. Miss New York had to answer one on the Occupy Wall Street movement. And Miss California answered a question about whether or not teen moms should be turned into celebrities by reality shows. I’d say Miss Arizona handled her question better than the rest. She answered one about whether or not people should use their celebrity fame to spread their faith.

This Top 5 has surprised us. We thought Miss Ohio’s talent (singing) would get her a spot in the Top 5. Based on what we see right now, we’re thinking it’s a close race between New York, Oklahoma and California. It’s so tough to call!

9:34 p.m.: Two more girls were just eliminated — Miss Florida and Miss South Carolina. Both of those decisions surprised me. So far, the talent competition hasn’t blown me away. Lots of dancers, and a few singers. One piano player. I’d say my favorite talent act so far is a tie between Arizona and Louisiana. Lots more to come, though. Be back soon. (Remember to hit the “refresh” button if you’re reading this between 9 and 10 p.m.)

9:05 p.m.: Just finished the evening wear competition, and there’s a lot going on. The Top 15 were named, including one that was voted in from the pageant’s website and Facebook page — Miss Oklahoma. Sadly, Miss Arkansas didn’t make the semi-finals. (Mom and I think she was ROBBED.)

Found out that Miss South Carolina has lost 115 POUNDS in the last 3 years. WOW. She looks amazing. I hate to make a prediction this early, but I’m going to say that we’ll see her in at least the final 5.

I like Miss Arizona’s freckles! And Miss Illinois reminds me of Cindy Crawford. Miss Wisconsin’s eyes are so pretty. And hurray for Miss North Carolina. She is only 5 foot 2 and made it into a semi-final round full of tall girls! Woo-hoo!

Okay, I know the swimsuit competition is a traditional part of the pageant, but do we have to start it with a close-up shot of each contestant’s butt? Really?

A couple of the girls are what I’d call scary skinny. But most look great. (And now I’m regretting the bowl full of pasta I just ate.)

Miss Arizona is high-stepping a little too much for my taste during her swimsuit walk. Just sayin’.

My mom just said, “Why do they always make these poor girls walk down stairs in high heels?” Couldn’t agree more. They ALWAYS have stairs. We’re all just waiting to see if somebody trips and falls.

At the end of the swimsuit portion, they elimated 3 girls — Virgina, Alabama and North Carolina.

But WAIT! The 38 contestants who didn’t make the semi-finals are told to line up behind one of the three girls just eliminated, thereby voting for who they think should be “saved” and continue on in the contest. Miss Alabama wins it!!

In the evening gown portion, lots of girls wore white gowns. Gorgeous gowns. Miss Texas, Miss California, and Miss Florida are stand-outs for us. But Miss Alabama wore a black sparkly gown with the BIGGEST bow on her shoulder I’ve ever seen. It was bigger than her head. I’m just not a “bow girl” so it’s not my favorite.

Stay tuned!!! Be back again with another update. Hit your “refresh” button to see it.

8:13 p.m.: Just finished watching the Parade of Contestants… SO many pretty girls this year. Of course, we’re rooting for Miss Arkansas. She introduced herself during the Parade by saying “I consider it a compliment to be called a Hog. I’m Miss Arkansas Kristin Glover.” (She was born in Stuttgart, Arkansas, which is also my hometown! Woo-hoo!)

We also think Miss Colorado is a contender, Miss Tennessee, Miss Florida and 5-year-old Kate says she LOVES the red dress that Miss Maryland is wearing. More to come…!

7:55 p.m.: When I was growing up, my Mom and I had a tradition of always watching the Miss America Pageant together. After I graduated and moved away, we had to just call each other and talk about it during commercial breaks. But three months ago my parents moved to Northwest Arkansas, so the mother-daughter Miss America watch-party is back on! It’s a three generation event now because my 5-year-old daughter Kate is watching with us this year. And we’re live-blogging it from my living room sofa!

We’re all set — in comfy pajamas, with a big bowl of pasta and plenty of opinions — which means we’re uniquely qualified to critique smart, beautiful women who are far younger than us, as they perform on national television. So watch along with us, and we’ll update this post when something interesting happens or when we have predictions for a winner.

Just be sure to hit the “refresh” button at the top of your browser window so you can see the latest update. Ready! Here she is…. Miss America….. Stay tuned!! We’ll update again soon.