The new season of INSTANT BEAUTY PAGEANT premiered last week! This for me is like a new season of THE SOPRANOS or MAD MEN. In case you're not familiar with the reason to own a TV, here is my account of last year's IBP.
In my relentless and noble quest to discover absurd television shows for you, I have found INSTANT BEAUTY PAGEANT on the Style Network. It’s a reality show where the hosts invade big indoor malls, corral hot looking women, and in three hours they have to compete in a beauty contest for the grand prize of a trip to Mexico. There are three competitions – bathing suits, talent, and evening wear. The contestants are given $300 and three hours to buy everything, including hair and make up. So they become the first five women ever to buy glamorous evening gowns at J. C. Penney’s.
The hosts are Debbie Matenopoulos (pictured, who ten years ago was a 20-something host fired from THE VIEW and today is a 30-something size zero blonde Jillian Barberie wannabe) and Cameron Mathison (best known for performing heartthrob heavy lifting on ALL MY CHILDREN). They’re very high energy and bubbly and should be hosting kids’ birthday parties.
The show begins with them accosting young shoppers at the mall and asking if they’d like to participate. At one point Cameron went up to two equally cute girls and invited one to take part while just dismissing the other. Nice.
One woman’s boyfriend said, “Mexico? I want the damn cash money!”
The five contestants are selected and they each have a “coach” to assist them. It can be a buddy, a boyfriend, mom. The five groups for the Houston competition were:
Sarah (a squat rocker chick with a nose the size of her off-kilter pony tail) and her coach, Jovaney (a flamboyant gay boy sporting an Elvis pompadour and a self proclaimed expert on fashion). Good thing there was no charm competition because Sarah might’ve lost points had the judges overheard: “All I can say to the other girls is get the fuck out of my way!” A real debutante.
Caitlin (a 37 year old mom) and her impossible to remember friend.
Diamond (African-American, pretty) and her coach, an Anthony Anderson lookalike in a bright red shirt you could see from Houston to Galveston.
Shanna (cute Texas girl) and her non-selected friend Rebekka, who was even more attractive than Shanna.
Tiffany (sassy) and her hot looking young mom (who must’ve had Tiff when she was eleven).
For the next three hours these groups race around the mall like idiots. Sarah modeled a bathing suit for Jovaney who said, “I told you to go on that Hollywood Diet.”
Tiffany said, “I’d buy what my mom wanted but I don’t want to look like no whore.”
Diamond was seen shopping for jewelry next to the flip flops display.
Shanna revealed to host Cameron that she was getting over a tragic death in her family. Obviously flustered, he comforted her by saying, “Well, you look beautiful.” Looking for the perfect exit line, he chose: “Thanks for being so honest. That was obviously touching.”
Tears for Diamond as well as she told hostess Debbie that she was named by her grandma who has since passed away. She finally composed herself and said, “I’m crying because grandma is dead… and I only get $300.”
Jovaney (who obviously can’t spell Giovanni) to a store clerk: “Do we get a discount for being beautiful?”
Shanna’s coach thought she should buy some stick on boobs.
Nerves were frayed. Tiffany refused to wear the “booty shorts” her sainted mom suggested. Jovaney said to Sarah, “Did you just get accepted to the hottest fashion school in New York? No. That’s what I thought. I did. So listen to me and win.” Charm girl Sarah retorted with: “Bitch!”
Finally it was showtime. For a crowd of bewildered mall shoppers the five women showed off their bathing suits, gliding down the catwalk with the grace of the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Then it was the talent competition. Diamond did a rap number and was quite good. Shanna performed improv comedy, asking the audience for items to use as props. She put a purse over her head and said, “Hey, where did everybody go?” That was her funniest moment. Sarah belly danced. The highlight was not chewing gum. Tiffany sang “If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands” (horribly off key), but the best was Caitlin who gave a German lesson (I kid you not).
Then came the evening gown competition, more clomp-clomp-clomping.
37 year old mom, Caitlin (who was absolutely gorgeous, by the way) was worried. Earlier in the show she said, “I’ve always been insecure about my outer beauty. I’m hoping that today will help with some of my confidence. And I’ll be able to accept myself for who I am.”
Caitlin was the first one voted off.
Diamond, the only one with talent was eliminated shortly thereafter.
The winner: Sarah, the stumpy punk girl with the bump on her very ethnic nose.
Tiffany came in second and won a prize too. Two nights in Las Vegas and tickets to see MAMA MIA. Tiffany also learned a Big Life Lesson. In a really heartfelt way she said, “I should listen to my mother more.” (I guess mama knows best when it comes to the whore look.)
INSTANT BEAUTY PAGEANT airs… God knows when on the Style Channel. Just set your tivo. It’s Americana and kitsch at its best. And you’ll learn German.