Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 | 5:29 p.m.
See all of the Sun's 2010 Miss America Pageant coverage.
Introduction of Judges
Controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh admitted this afternoon in Las Vegas that when he was hospitalized during Christmas in Honolulu, he thought he was buying “the big one.” Rush was speaking as one of the celebrity judges at the 2010 Miss America Pageant press conference in Planet Hollywood.
I had asked him a question about the incident, and he talked about it for the first time, telling us: “The doctors said there was no disease, there was no blockage. There was an arterial spasm that was so bad and intense, I thought this was the big one.
“However, it was just an infection, and after two days of tests and monitoring, I was cleared to go. The doctors even said I had a low cholesterol level. I started Lipitor, though, as a precaution.”
The judges panel also includes jazz instrumentalist Dave Koz, actress Vivica A. Fox, Olympic gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson, 2002 Miss America Katie Harman and American Idol Season 7 finalist Brooke White. Our Senior Editor John Katsilometes also covered the press conference for his The Kats Report.
Rush commented about the judges and the judging: “We are taking this very seriously because the contestants are, too. They think we have the expertise, but in fact, we are the amateurs. Why trust us? They are strong in their confidence so much so I was intimidated at first, but I’m more comfortable now.”
Vivica confirmed: “Without question, these girls are highly intelligent. I had it easy looking at how they wear a dress and asking if they leave a positive impression. The girl has to wear the dress and not the dress wear the girl.”
Brooke added: “The perfect girl to me will be the one who will be well-rounded, natural and authentic and knowing she’ll remain that way for most of their life. Somebody honest, fresh and with something unique to add to the Miss America experience.”
Shawn chimed in: “I’m looking to ensure their bodies are fit and toned.”
Dave said that in his wildest dreams, he never thought he would one day be judging Miss America. “I didn’t even realize these girls would be this talented. I was honestly knocked out by several of them. You know very quickly -- even in the 90 seconds -- if they have true talent. I’m confident we will pick the right Miss America. I think many of them have valid creative ideas to modernize Miss America, too.”
Dave revealed that the judges are not permitted to talk to one another about the contestants. “We are even escorted individually to the bathroom in the company of security to ensure we don’t talk to each other about the contestants.”
Brooke commented: “The interview portion is where you find the heart of the girl. Talent is tougher because you are trying to put a finger on what is really entertaining.”
Rush added: “They want the best girl, so they told us not to baby them. They didn’t want us to be polite. They wanted us to ask tough questions, but that was hard even for me at the beginning. These girls are wholesome, solid, dependable and pursuing excellence. They’re not sinking to the depths like so many others in this pop culture. They are the best of what the USA is. This has been an incredible experience for me. I’m now a lifetime supporter, and I’ll be a real rabble-rouser for Miss America.”
He agreed that America is in good hands for the future with ladies like the Miss America contestants. One executive at the conference told me not to be surprised when we see a Miss America one day in The White House. Our loyal Vegas DeLuxe reader Richard Corey posted his videos of the press conference on YouTube.
Brooke summed it up best: “A light needs to be shined on girls like this. The media should be ignoring the tales of troubled youth. They should turn away from glorifying those who aren’t good. They should promote the values with which these girls run their lives.”
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.