We’ve all heard it, “different day, different judges, different queen.”
We know pageants are subjective. We’re constantly asked why we would parade around on stage and allow someone to judge us and give us a score. But let’s be honest, people judge us every day, just in pageants we’re giving you permission to do so. Pageant contestants put a lot of time and effort into putting their best foot forward so when the results are read, depending on where we fall, sometimes we’re left saying, “But what could I have done better?” Why do we ask this? Because, like with any competition, we want to get better and come back. The difference? In sports you have your score and stats at the end of the competition. However, depending on your pageant system, you may or may not have the opportunity to get your scores or return to compete. Each system has a different process for obtaining scores and feedback.
Below are some examples.
Miss America/Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Contestants can compete in as many locals as they qualify for and go to state as many times as they can get there. However, scores are never given. Today, many contestants have coaches familiar with MAO to provide insight and help them prepare.
Miss USA/Miss Teen USA Depending on your state may depend if you have a local pageant first. Depending on the production company running the pageant may also depend if you can request scores/feedback and how that is done, so check with them. As long as you are eligible, you may compete for the state title, unless you win and go to nationals.
The Miss World America and Miss United States Organization does not provide scores to contestants at the national level. However, it is up to each state director if they want to provide this information at the state level. Contestants may compete at the state level as long as they are eligible.
This pageant has a unique system in place. Contestants bring a self-addressed stamped envelope to registration if they want their scores mailed to them. It may take a while after the pageant to get them. You get your numbers, your highest scores and any comments from the judges. This information is useful because contestants can compete again at the national level with a regional title.
International Pageants does provide contestants with their score breakdown following the pageant. Contestants may call the national office 30 days after the pageant to request their scores. This allows the directors to get back into the national offices from two weeks at nationals and get everything organized. Contestants get their numerical scores from the judges from each phase of competition in which they competed. The highest and lowest scores are dropped during competition. The plus side? Contestants can compete at nationals as many times as they want in their quest for the crown so having the scores can help you gauge what to do for the following year.
Contestants can request their scores. The scores come in the form of comments and a ranking. Contestants can use this information to their benefit even though they can only compete at nationals once in their age division. They can apply this information to other pageant and can compete at NAM nationals again when they qualify for the next age division.
Miss Royalty International
Starting in 2011, this system is fresh on the scene and Executive Director, Cheryl Smukowski, was happy to explain how scoring works. “My contestants each receive their scores in a private message as soon as possible after the pageant. Our judges score electronically directly into laptops so they are not able to make comments. We use a scoring system that has tenths of points, to help give contestants a better breakdown and more clarity when interpreting their scores,” she explained. “We also don't just give them numbers, as they aren't very useful without knowing other numbers, to help put one's own scores into perspective. We tell them their placement in their division in each area of competition, as well as the highest score, so they have a better perspective.” This is good news for contestants who may not win. “Contestants can compete in the same division again, as long as they haven't won that division. Once they win a particular age division at nationals, they must wait until they age up to the next age division before they can compete again.”
Miss Nationwide held its first live pageant this past June. With it being new on the scene, National Director, Troy Escamilla, is taking a different approach to the typical way a pageant is conducted. There is no swimsuit or fitness, onstage questions are written for each contestant following their interview, and while contestants can only compete at Miss Nationwide Nationals once, feedback is provided after nationals for contestants to apply to future pageant endeavors.
"The Miss Nationwide Pageant system does not give contestants their scores simply because I believe a number does not provide the contestant with any meaningful information on what she did well or may need to improve,” said Escamilla, “Instead, the judges are instructed to keep notes on each contestant during the competition. After the pageant, the judges submit short, yet comprehensive feedback for each contestant. Contestants can request their feedback any time after the pageant." State directors can decide if they want to give feedback to contestants.
What if scores are not given?
If your system does not provide scores or if your numerical score is not making sense and you’re seeking more in depth feedback, purchase your pageant’s recording if available. You can then watch it and compare your performance with those who placed higher/won. Additionally, you can talk with a coach who knows the system, watch the recording with them and find out what you can do to improve. Moving Forward Sometimes it can be difficult and disheartening when we do not place and even more so if we see the same girls in a system repeatedly placing and we’re not. But don’t fret. Request your scores if possible, order a recording if available and round up a good coach who knows the system and can get you ready for your next walk across that stage. Remember, professional athletes don’t do it alone even after they make it to the big leagues and they spend hours watching film to know their competition and their own game. There is no shame in asking for help, if you want it bad enough, do everything you can to get it. But keep in mind, like age, a score is just a number and on a different day, with different judges, there could have been a different queen; so don’t frown, go get that crown.
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