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Welcome to the Stars of Pennsylvania Pageant, located in Pittsburgh, for this week’s Toddlers & Tiaras. Not only are there enough trophies, ribbons and tiaras to go around for everyone attending, there may be extras from those contestants who couldn’t make it due it to Old Man Winter. He’s such a bastard!
The Stars of Pennsylvania pageant if full glitz, and you know what that means – little girls with big-girl heads and faces. Ick! Let’s see how far the mom’s go this week to “build confidence” and “inspire future matricide.”
Over in Wyomissing, a cross between Wyoming and Mississippi (think Baptist cowboys), we meet this week’s total automaton, Meadow, age 7. She’s “a professional at pageants,” much like I’m a professional ice cream eater. There won’t be a career link for it on Monster.com, but damn are we good at it, at least locally.
Sporting a Mindy a la Mork & Mindy, she says, “I think I might of did hundreds of pageants.” Okay, you’re seven, so I’m going to let the grammar situation pass. Julie, her mother, interviews in what I would call a semi-Long Island accent that her daughter “is a firecracker on stage.” She explodes with glitter and glam! Meadow pulls out a trophy that is about 3 feet taller than she is…although, is that a bowler on the top?
Heading over to Milton, we meet the Ayala family who will have three daughters competing in this episode. They also have 2 sons and a very small house and I wonder how the parents have not gone insane. Their mom, Christina, says, “If we have to, we save for the pageants.” Or, you could put the money into school, after school programs, teaching them Mandarin so we can speak the language of the country that will soon take us over…just some thoughts.
For eight-year-old Angela, this is her third pageant. Damn, she’s OLD! Most girls have kiddie pools full of ribbons by the age of eight. Also? She’s adorable. She has a very strong Phoebe Cates vibe going on. Her mother introduces her into the living room by saying, “And contestant 400…Angela Ayala!” When have we ever seen a kid beauty pageant with more than 100 contestants? Even Miss America doesn’t have that many!
These girls are relatively thin and I wonder how their mom is keeping them from being overweight kids, but then I realize it’s because mom is eating all of their food! Seriously, what is it with really large moms at these pageants?
Aliana, age 6, is also very cute as is Addison, age 4. Way to space out the kids, lady. I guess that would be pretty cost-effective for the pageant circuit – you can pass down the dresses and still pay your mortgage. Awesome!
Christina says the girls are really happy, they have a lot of fun, and they make a lot of friends. She soooo totally doesn’t get pageants, does she? She’s doing it for good reasons, not the real ones – money and power. This family is too nice.
In New Castle, Delaware, we see a yard full of ducks. Delicious! We meet our Bratty McNasty for the week, whiner Roni. Her mother, Stephanie, calls her daughter her “little princess.” Well, there’s your problem right there! It’s Roni’s 3rd birthday and instead of blowing out her candles, she’s decided to curl up in a ball on the floor and whine. Damn, it’s not like you’re paying my taxes this year or something!
Roni has an awesome collection of crowns but wisely hands her mother one of the smaller ones. Her mom says people always told her when she’d be out at the malls what a cute baby she had, so she decided to check into pageants. Lady, people HAVE to tell you your kid is cute. Except me. I will just give your kids the hairy eyeball when they act up at the mall. They are called babysitters, check into them.
Back over at Meadow’s house (is her dad Tony Soprano? I bet she wins!), they are planning for the pageant. Meadow’s mother explains the Supreme/Grand Supreme/Mini Supreme title set-up in that way that moms always explain in excruciating detail the trials and tribulations of their kids’ lives as though you care. I know I don’t, that is why I’m as glazed over as a doughnut.
“Hey Mead,” her mother says, “I found the video of your first glitz pageant. Want to watch it?” How handy and not-completely-contrived was that scene? Julie says that Meadow has a lot of confidence and has made a lot of friends because of these pageants. “She’ll talk to anybody and everyone,” she says, “and only great things can happen because of that.” Well, great things or Amber alerts.
Over in Milton we see a sign on the Ayala’s house that reads “Welcome Home Cpl Juan Ayala. Husband, father, and hero.” Tell me you are kidding. Nope, turns out Juan Ayala has just returned from Afghanistan only 10 days prior to this show being filmed. Now how in the hell can I make fun of this family when the dad was out risking his life? HOW, PEOPLE, HOW? Dang it! Luckily, Juan does a good job helping me because he’s so, well, normal. Wait! That’s not right! Dang it again!
This is the first pageant Juan will see in person – the other two the girls competed in he was away and had to call them during the night (his) to see how they did. “I just want my girls to do their best,” he says. Oh, there’s a good attitude for you. No really, it is. See? This guy is totally going to throw off my vitriolic rhythm.
Here’s a clue: When your 3 year old has a sign that reads “DIVA” in pink and glitter, you are going to be screwed as a parent. Enjoy those teen years, Stephanie! “There’s a lot of work in being a single mom to a three-year old diva,” Stephanie says. You could have stopped at the word “mom,” dumbass. “She can be a handful. I’m mommy AND daddy,” she says. Well, that would explain your BMI.
Stephanie interviews that her mom and dad help pay for the pageants and that since Roni is the first grandchild, she’s the most spoiled. Hope she’s the only grandchild or somebody’s going to get pissed by that statement. Turns out they don’t so much help pay for the pageants as much as they let her live with them so she doesn’t have to pay a mortgage, utilities bills, insurance, or for food, and can instead build equity in a daughter who, when she is 18, is going to runaway screaming, “I HATE YOU AND ALL THAT YOU STAND FOR AND I’M NEVER COMING BACK!” Only unlike me, she’ll mean it!
Back at Meadow’s house, Mick Jagger is putting roller into a hairpiece that Meadow is going to wear at the pageant. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s Meadow’s stylist, Grace. She really should reconsider her branding. “In order to win pageants, you have to have a hair and makeup person,” she says, as the hair and makeup person. I also think she may have a pack of Marlboros permanently stuck in her throat.
At the Ayala household, SIR YES SIR, Anthony, the oldest Ayala son said he did a pageant once but never again because it’s girl stuff. Wait until he gets older and realizes how being in pageants will get him next to a bunch of chicks with little to no competition! D’oh! His mom interviews there was a little peer pressure involved with his decision, mostly boys threatening to beat his girlie ass on the playground, but he did like being in it. In a reversal of what we normally see, his mother says, “If you want to do pageants, you let me know.”
OH MY GOD, in Roni’s house there is a pillow that reads “It’s not easy being a princess.” This girl is well on her way to being a first-class bizzitch when she grows up or now as we will see. Stephanie interviews that she has Roni act out a pageant with her dolls, then they act it out with her, except she now calls her “Two year old Roni.” How old is that kid? Is she lying to seem more mature in a younger age group?
Instead of practicing, Roni curls up in a ball and rolls around the floor. If she’s speaking in tongues, call the Pope, he could really use the help right about now. Whine, whine!
Meadow’s coach Toni (Grace’s daughter) stops by to do some training. Why do these coaches all look alike? Grace interviews that Toni has been doing pageants since she was five, and I’m wondering why isn’t she out wearing tiaras and ball gowns for a career if she was that good in pageants that she can now coach? Those who can, do, those who can’t, recap! And lament their lack of tiaras!
At the Ayala house, Christina is worried because this is their first glitz pageant. Although she prefers natural pageants, she has decided to allow Addison to wear a hairpiece because her brother cut off her hair and she needs the oomph. See, now that’s a REAL family, one that shaves their little sister’s head.
Juan interviews that they aren’t a typical pageant family and to that I say, good for you. He says he absolutely won’t let his kids go tanning but with a last name like Ayala, they really don’t need to, dude. No way on the fake teeth or eyelashes, too. He does admit the cost of the pageants is an issue. They just bought a new house and the pageants are pretty costly. Wow, getting a mortgage and paying for pageants?!?! Someone’s cutting coupons! They are also renting the gowns, which makes so much more sense at this age.
Meh! Back at Roni’s House of Whine and Dine, her mother tells her they need to try on her “swimwears.” Yes, swimwearS. Like geeses or mooses. Stephanie shows Roni a bunch of different swimsuits but Roni screams at each one and doesn’t really even see them since she is – say it with me now – curled up on the floor whining and yelling NO! Superfun!
PAGEANT DAY! Phew! The pageant director tells us that the kids have to look good and act good and have a great personality and be glitzy and glamorous and have “the whole package” to compete at this level. You mean to compete in a regional competition of what we will soon find out is about 35 kids? Yes, that competition is as tough as it is for Rhodes Scholars, let me tell you.
We now meet Margie, a coach who has quite a few clients competing in this pageant. As she interviews, we see her coaching a girl who is a little too old for the Betty Boop lips and it’s really sort of creepy how that girl looks. It’s sort of Catholic girl-meets Lolita-meets something I really don’t want to know about. She says, “In the last two years my girls have really done well,” but never says if any of them made it to the Grand Supreme or even Mini-Me Supreme, so I’m guessing she ain’t that good.
“Everybody should really have a coach,” Coach Margie says, although notice she didn’t say GOOD coach. Yes, thank you for your unbiased position. I think everyone should have a well-staffed marketing department, but here we are. “Hopefully your coach will not hold back,” she says. From what, beating you?
Stephanie interviews it was a long drive for them because of the bad weather and we will find out this is why the pageant has such few contestants, because people in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas turn into Florida drivers when it snows, just like they do in my state. Because, you know, it only snows EVERY DAMN YEAR.
Roni is set up to train with Coach Margie and I have no doubt this is going to be money well spent if you believe flushing it down the toilet is a good idea. Margie interviews that Roni is adorable and she’s at the age where she has to be the boss. To me, that totally negates the adorability and in fact leaves you with quite a deficit.
Stephanie interviews that Margie costs $50 an hour (what a racket! How can I turn that into a Ponzi scheme?) and sometimes it’s hard when Roni doesn’t cooperate, a.k.a. “Always.” We see Margie telling Roni to do “pretty feet” and to put her hand on her hips, but instead Roni plays dead on the floor. Good dog!
Margie does some armchair psychology that I have to admit totally worked. She said instead of arguing and beating the child into submission (like I would), she will usually bring an older child into the session for practice and the younger child will begin to mimic the older child. “The peer pressure alone will make her want to perform,” she says. And smoke and drink and have unprotected sex in her later years, yay peer pressure!
Time for makeup and the glamming-up of the youth of today. Mick Jagger interviews that they arrived a little late and it was going to be hard to get Meadow ready in such a short amount of time. Julie interviews that the natural pageants didn’t involve hair pieces, makeup and tanning (I think that’s why they are called NATURAL, Julie), but once they started doing glitz pageants, Meadow “looked awesome.” So when she was natural she looked non-awesome?
The Ayala family shows up and Margie is going to coach them a little prior to the pageant. Margie is doing one of the girl’s makeup and she tells Christina that since it’s the first time she’s doing glitz, she “won’t push it, but normally, the bushy eyebrows have gotta go.” Tell that to Madonna’s daughter! Christina looks horrified at the idea of the Sham-Brow blinding her girls and because she’s normal she doesn’t think Joan Crawford is a good look for 4, 6, and 8 year olds.
Stephanie interviews that they do tan and hairpiece Roni, and sometimes they muzzle her. No – that was me wishful-thinking. Geez she’s got a big hairpiece on, how is her head staying up? Then she tries to steal her mother’s lips. I guess she’s just practicing for when she grows up and steals people’s souls.
Margie interviews that the Ayala girls really needed more coaching for this pageant. She’s probably right, especially for a glitz pageant. I’m guessing the Ayala kids are probably going to be okay long-term without the coaching because they have pretty cool parents. Good parents usually win over outside forces. Usually.
Bleach Blondie is back for this pageant, damn, she sure makes the rounds, doesn’t she? She announces that due to Mother Nature, a few people were not able to make the pageant. You know what that means…less competition! Now each girl can go home with two pity crowns instead of just one!
Up first – Formalwear Competition. They have a few boys competing and one young man named Damien shows up in a tuxedo with tails in all white and damn, he really looks cute! Blondie announces that he enjoys “singing, dancing,” and getting beat up? ” and football…” Oh, I guess not. Good for you, enjoy your successful modeling/motivational speaking careers.
Now it’s time for the girls. Heading up to the stage is our favorite brat, Roni. She tells her mother to stay behind, but because of her age, Stephanie is required to go onstage with her. Roni throws a fit and I’m hoping the judges are watching. “NO!” Roni keeps saying.
Aliana is up first and is adorable. She really works the stage and looks so pretty, mostly because everything on her is HERS. Juan says he was a little shocked with her hair and makeup done, but she looked cute. Stephanie interviews that Roni did a great job and did let her stay onstage, just in the back. How nice of her! Now she wants to go swimming. GO!
Addison is up next and clearly would rather be dead. She’s the middle child, very shy, and she would like to be anywhere but here. She hides in her mother’s stomach which she should really be careful of as she may never be found. She does a quick kiss at the end but I think she’d rather be playing Travel Scrabble. Call it a hunch.
Juan interviews that he feels a little out of place just coming back from Afghanistan. Ya think? You go from trying to protect people and attempting to get little girls to school without being burned, shot at, or killed, and now this fluff. I can’t even say I know how you feel because the bravest thing I do is get the morning paper in my robe without makeup on.
Finally, Angela is up and she is totally Phoebe Cates junior. She’s adorable and for an 8 year old is very graceful. Blondie says, “She has black hair and black eyes.” She’s not Jaws, Blondie, her eyes are probably dark brown. She is so pretty and totally gets my vote for Cutie Patootie.
Here comes Meadow and although I would totally wear her dress on the Lido deck of the Love Boat, this kid looks like she’s just a robot. She smiles without real feeling behind it, her eyes are kind of dead-ish (like Jaws!), and she tilts her head like a trained poodle. I’m not saying she isn’t cute or pretty, she just doesn’t seem to have a lot of personality, and we haven’t seen it in her interviews either. It’s very unnerving. She also looks familiar and I can’t put my finger on it.
Next is the Casual Wear competition and guess who’s throwing a fit? Not me this time, it’s Roni! Man, she is one charming little kid, isn’t she? I know I am so totally going to be stuck on an international flight sitting next to this kid. They are trying to get her to put on her outfit and she holds her legs up in little kid fashion so they can’t put the outfit on her. Her mother says, “When you’re ready you let me know.” Chirp chirp, chirp chirp.
We cut over to Meadow in a cheerleader-type outfit showing her belly, while she does her routine of dancing around like it’s a Hooter “interview.” It’s totally inappropriate for a little girl to be shakin’ it like she means it. Don’t make me ask if fries come with that shake, I’ll just assume they do!
Chirp chirp. Chirp chirp. No, no! Take all the time you need to come to your sense, little 2 or 3 year old Roni. “I ready,” Roni finally says. Her mother tells her to stand up and she says no. Please tell me there is a paddle close by.
Aliana walks onstage with a cute pink jumper and this kid totally has personality and knows it. Her smile is real and adorable and she dances around like she’s a happy child. Take note, Roni! Juan says he likes the casual outfits because they look more natural – meaning, they look more like his little girls! So. Damn. Cute.
Up next, Bitch-a-Roni. Her grandmother says, “I can’t believe she’s only two” and personally, I can’t believe it’s not butter. “She did her sassy walk, she shook it,” she continues. Let me stop you RIGHT THERE. Never, ever, should you be proud of your two year old shakin’ it. Also? Never dress her like Charo on Laugh In.
Addison is up next and once again, would rather be playing chess. She has a cute outfit and kicky newsboy cap to match, and wishes she were at home in bed with the covers over her head and a flashlight shining on Wuthering Heights. She looks at her mother, grabs her hand, and runs offstage. Better luck next year and/or never, you shy little kid!
Hear comes Meadow Soprano ready for the Ba-Da-Bing! Holy crap, that kid is dancing a little too sexually and her sassy walk is a little too sassy. Yeesh. Coach Toni says she really did well in her category. Thanks for that tremendous insight, RoboCoach.
Angela is up next and is seriously channeling Phoebe Cates circa 1985 in a menswear vest and tie and skirt. She is really cute and her personality really shines through. She’s confident but not overconfident. Her family is totally proud of her while Addison is clinging to her dad.
Next up? Icky, icky swimwear. Some woman helping Roni get ready says, “The butt glue’s in the container over there…” That would be a great name for a band, Butt Glue. Apparently butt glue makes the suit stick to your cheeks so it doesn’t ride up like a thong. People, people, people, you must be kidding. Roni starts punching away at this lady and nails her right in the boob. I totally would have smacked that kid even though I’m still in a training bra.
Julie is asking Meadow if she needs any butt paste. Is that different from glue? Can you eat that like regular paste? Meadow’s cheeks have risen to the occasion and therefore she does not need any butt paste, glue, or wax. Shine on, Meadow!
Roni heads up onstage in a teeny-weeny bikini and runs around like a brut. She’s going to be awesome on the WWF or whatever that wrestling thing with manly women is called now. Her mother says she knows some people don’t like the kids in swimsuits competing (Yo!) but if they are age-appropriate, she doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Age-appropriate is baggy swimsuits that don’t require butt paste, Stephanie. Also, you might consider some concealer for those dark circles. Or butt paste.
Addison has a meltdown and the video of her makes her look like a teenage runaway hooker. Poor kid just had a breakdown and they are filming it – this isn’t Intervention although you all know that is (one of) my guilty pleasures. Her mom thinks the stress of the glitz got to her. But she gets onstage and blows kisses.
Here comes Stepford kid Meadow, prancing and dancing. That blue does look good on her but again, her head looks like a Barbie I would totally love to have. They all keep saying what a great personality she has but she looks so…trained. Is she having fun? She just seems like she’s doing it because. And who does she remind me of?
Crowning time! Everyone is back in their ball gowns. The pageant director interviews that little kids don’t understand why they didn’t win the big crown or the trophy, “So me and my state directors make sure everyone gets a crown.” This is why so many young kids today think they are owed something – because reality never kicked in for them. Let them learn that they will survive without a treat so that when the big challenges hit them, they are prepared.
Blondie gives everyone an overview of how if you lose you may have won somewhere else. So confusing! First the little ones are up and Roni is sleeping. Well, acting like a terror will take it out of you.
Best Personality? Aliana! Beauty Wear? Roni! (boo!). Casual Wear? Roni! Swimwear? Roni! Who will be up for Supreme? Roni! Double-boo! Too bad it’s not like one of those contests where you must be present to win – you have to be awake to win. But then I guess Stephanie would have shaken her awake and in this case, I would encourage her to shake, shake, shake a baby.
That means Aliana wins Little Miss Celebrity Queen, which…wasn’t this pageant the Stars of Pennsylvania? Odd. Her mom thinks she did great for her first time in a glitz pageant. I’ll drink to that!
In Petite Miss, Addison ties with another girl for Princess of the Stars pageant. Oh my God will you people PLEASE make up your mind on what you are calling this? That’s pretty good for a kid who clearly was scared to her inner core. “We’ll have to do better next time,” her mother says. I would consider leaving her at home to avoid further trauma.
Young Miss…will Meadow kick ass? I like the other girl better, her personality came through much stronger, mostly because she had one. Best Personality? Essence! (see?). Beauty Wear? Meadow! Casual Wear and Swimwear winner? Meadow! Who will be going on to Supreme with anchovies? Meadow! Essence was robbed!
Junior Miss…Best Personality? Not Angela. Beauty Wear? Angela! Casual Wear? Not Angela. Who will be moving on to Supreme???? Not Angela. I call bullshit on that one. However, she does win Junior Miss Queen which comes with a sweet, sweet crown. But you know if you win, you lose!
In her deadest voice ever, she says, “I won a crown. And a gold medal. And a plaque.” Or the plague, maybe that’s why she’s talking like she’s on death’s door. Poor kid, she should really cheer up. “I like natural pageants more than glitz pageants.” Oh, come on now, don’t be sour grapes, you did a great job! Don’t go all diva on us now, leave that to Roni!
Blondie calls most of the people back onstage, and Julie interviews that you do want your child’s name called but you really don’t because if you are called that means they are giving you another title other than the Supreme. The logic of these pageants confuses me much like theorems. They seem straightforward, then you try to do one and you’re like WTF?
Young Miss Mini-Supreme goes to Meadow! She won which means she lost! Her mother is so proud and says, “She did an amazing job…I thought she could have brought home the Grand Supreme but instead we’ll just have pasta for dinner. Cold pasta.” Who does she remind me of?
Roni is called up onstage with our good buddy and aspiring Oscar host, Damien. He wins the Pennsylvania Star Boys’ Grand Supreme! Excellent! Hope the crust is filled with cheese and lots of it! Which mean that little monster Roni wins the Girls’ Grand Supreme. OH THAT IS TOTAL BULLSHIT! She is such a monster! Her grandmother says, “She had so much fun!” No she didn’t! “She fell asleep, but that’s what three year olds do.” HOW OLD IS THIS KID? I’m petitioning for a disqualification based on lies told about her age. LIAR!
Blondie thanks all the contestants today…hope they get a crown or two for “participating.” Stephanie says she thinks Roni won because, “She had the overall package.” Well, that’s why people like Sweet & Sour Pork, too, but it still gunks up your aorta. Then they show her blowing out candles on another cake that has a number three candle on it. What the…? This family confuses me.
Christina interviews that they had fun and she was very proud of her girls. Margie says they really need more coaching, especially that gypsy middle child. Meadow does an interview that bores me to tears. She has to look through all her medals to see what she won. Fascinating. “I though she would have done better,” says Mick Jagger. “I thought she would have taken Grand.”
The last shot is of Stephanie kissing Roni’s scepter and crown. They give away scepter’s too? Damn! And Stephanie’s just a wee bit nuts.