The Answer That Made a Difference: Why I Believe Miss Oklahoma Didn't Win Miss America

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Miss Oklahoma, Kelsey Griswold, was expected to win the Miss America 2014 contest. The odds, after all, were 13/2. But Miss New York, who was way down the list of odds at 45/1 pulled out the win. So what happened?

By the end of the pageant, Miss Oklahoma had already won a health and fitness scholarship, and had been called first during the talent competition and first during the questioning segment. But sometimes, jokes fall flat.

Sometimes, the perfect answer doesn't come, or an imperfect question is asked.

Sometimes, a lifetime of work in a high stakes competition can turn on a dime...or turn on a question about twerking. And I believe that's what happened last night. Here's Miss Oklahoma, first up, to draw her question and give her response:


It could have been adrenaline, or just a really bad clash of protons and neutrons in Griswold's brain as she was met with a question about a huge pop culture controversy that had happened just days before pageant night. Whatever the reason, Miss Oklahoma's response didn't click.

When you have to look around and ask if someone gets a joke, then you lose your power.

When you aren't sure right from the opening word what your answer will be, when you hesitate in any way, you lose your power.

And when you give an answer that takes both sides, the power you had left at that point disappears altogether.

I love Oklahoma. I'm proud of people who represent our state. And I had hoped Miss Oklahoma would take the crown this year. But if I were a judge, I couldn't have in good faith given her the crown after that answer.



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