If you were hoping for some spray-tanned, pint-sized pageant queens — and kings! — on your television this holiday season (because, really, what embodies Christmas better than fake eyelashes on toddlers and hot pants on fourth graders?), you’re in luck! Last night TLC kicked off its fifth season of Toddlers & Tiaras with a very special look at the full-glitz Southern Celebrity Glitzmas (see what they did there?) pageant in New Jersey. And if you missed all the fun, you’re still in luck because I just so happen to have the in-depth play-by-play for you:
:02 – We open with pageant mom Katie, who tells us that when she found out she was having a boy, she was “quite upset” because she “actually had the kids so we could do the pageants.” A reason as touching as having children for the tax breaks! But never fear: Katie soon discovered boys can compete in pageants, too.
Meet Bob, 6, and 5-year-old sister Riley.
:03 — “Bob went through a period where he did wear dresses. And insisted he was a girl for quite some time,” confides his mom. “Well, we just went with it.”
I’m sure the forums are going nuts over that bit of information and people can say what they want, but I’ll tell you this: that boy can pull off a white top hat, in a way nobody has since Flavor Flav in ’09:
:03 — Introducing pageant mama Lauren and three-year-old daughter, Laila, who has won “many” Supreme titles. La-di-da for Lauren and Laila.
:04 – Why, hello there, contestant Anna Maria, who informs us: “I’m a nine-year-old drama queen and I looooove pageants.” For the record, Anna Maria gets mad when she doesn’t win because it makes her feel like, “Oh wow, this pageant is a lie.”
At least Anna Maria has a healthy perspective about the pageant experience. *Ahem* And we’re about to understand why…
:04 — Anna Maria’s mom Crystal says her daughter is a star as in “S-T-A-DOUBLE R.” Yes! A star, pronounced pirate-style: starr. Also tearfully says Anna Maria is the “prettiest little girl” she has ever seen. And I must agree she is beautiful…
…So why do they make her over to look like a 40-year-old disco singer?
:12 – Brace yourself, fashion world: Bob is not only bringing white top hats back, he is also bringing rattails back.
“My tail helps me become the King of Pageants,” says Bob. (He can think that all he likes, but we all know it’s the top hat that bestows him with that power.)
:13 – Mama Katie instructs Bob to be “fierce,” explaining to us: “A lot of the language we use comes from drag. We watch a lot of drag shows. We take a lot of our inspiration from RuPaul, our favorite queen.” And with heartrending pearls of wisdom from RuPaul like, You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis & Kathie Lee; I don’t care!, it is easy to understand why.
:14 — Anna Maria’s mom Crystal reveals her daughter is biracial, declaring: “Black girls have a little sauciness to them, and white girls, they know how to do the poise and all that stuff.” Which she believes gives Anna Maria an edge — not to mention license to stereotype girls based on skin color.
Lest you judge her, consider this: Crystal doesn’t think she’s a crazy pageant mom. Rather, “I’m just a pageant mom who knows what I want and I’m gonna get it.”
See? She’s not crazy. She just thinks the pageants are all about her. Totally sane.
:16 – “Laila loves ballet,“ smiles her mom about her daughter’s pageant talent, while Laila not-at-all-embarrassingly interrupts: “No, I don’t! I hate ballet!”
At least these kids are doing what they “love.”
:17 – Anna Maria’s talent, we learn, is hula-hooping. “I think it’s important to stay active as a kid,” says her mom. Not because it keeps you healthy, mind you, but because “you’ve got stay skinny if you want to be in pageants.” And she has imparted this attitude to her 9-year-old daughter, who tells us:
“It’s important to stay active so you’re firm and you don’t, like, be… ugly.”
I think Michelle Obama just found the tagline for her anti-obesity campaign.
Now I must interrupt your regularly scheduled recap to bring you this picture of Bob and Riley’s dog in a diaper:
Take that in for a moment. And… now back to your regularly scheduled T&T recap.
:18 – We learn that Bob and Riley are home-schooled. Which has left five-year-old Riley with a spot-on understanding of school teachers: “I don’t want to go to school because the teacher might be mean and she might throw me in a locker,” says Riley. “She might put a bat and a rat and a vampire, she might put all those things in there, and I’ll be passed out.”
Wow. It’s like she’s holding a telescope into my middle school years.
Bob and Riley’s mom Katie has taken her kids to drag shows, bragging that: “I’ve had [Riley] performing Poker Face on the bar at Applebee’s.” In response to the interviewer’s surprise, Katie defends herself, saying, “It’s not like people threw dollars at her or anything. She’s not a stripper.”
All together now: Phew.
:24 – “I don’t want to compare pageants to a dog show,” says Anna Maria’s mom. “But it’s almost like, ‘mine is prettier than yours.’” This also explains why the pageant moms sniff each other’s butts.
:24 – And… we have the first Official Meltdown of the pageant!
“I need my personal space,” sniffs the THREE-YEAR-OLD. Next she’ll be asking for a ciggie and a light.
:26 – “I think I’m going to win today,” says Riley of her first glitz pageant, “because I’ve never had this kind of hair before.”
Hard to argue with that logic. Although if lots of fake hair were the only key to winning, Nicolas Cage would have a closet full of sashes right now.
:34 – “My pageant power is… full,” Bob says, caressing his tail. Unfortunately, the judging panel does not appreciate his tail’s superpowers, with one of the judges commenting that: “Um… for pageants, I probably wouldn’t have kept the rattail.”
The year 2011, and people still harbor ignorance about The Freedom to Wear Rattails. *Sigh* Sad. Just sad.
:44 – Anna Maria shines with her hula-hooping in the talent competition.
Too bad the camera also shined a light on her mom doing imaginary hula-hooping along with her in the audience. Imaginary and vigorous.
:48 – Katie agreed to her husband’s nixing of RuPaul as the music selection for Riley’s talent routine. So, as you can imagine, she is devastated when another contestant — GASP! — puts some bass in her walk with Ru’s “Cover Girl.” Poor Katie. Perhaps if they had harnessed the power of RuPaul’s music, Riley wouldn’t have ditched her routine to run back and forth across the stage “like a nut.”
:55 – Long live the power of white top hats: Bob is crowned king. “I am now officially the King of Pageants!” declares Bob.
:56 – Meanwhile, Riley ensnares Supreme Queen, Laila earns Grand Supreme — “A great day,” declares her mom — and Anna Maria gets… Talent Supreme. Her mom Crystal is shocked, just shocked at the lowly title, lamenting she was “expecting at least grand supreme.” But alas, Anna Maria’s leggy nemesis and lookalike Myah wins Ultimate Grand Supreme. Crystal attests Myah’s win to her impressive gymnastics routine. For “straight runway model… Anna Maria would have it,” Crystal smirks with her usual graciousness and humility.
Runway, schrunway. I’d give Myah the win for this move alone.