On Sunday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Kira Kazantsev from New York scored the title and crown of Miss America by playing a red cup to Pharrell’s “Happy.” Wait, she did what?
You read that correctly. Miss New York (at the time of her performance) squatted cross-legged on the beauty queen competition’s biggest stage wearing a Princess Jasmine-inspired jumpsuit and played a red plastic cup while she sang Pharrell’s “Happy.”
Wait, hold everything. Before you launch into a rant about how this type of “talent” demonstrates why we are losing the achievement war in this country where people are awarded for just showing up, Miss America has an explanation for you.
“The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life. I literally in that minute and 30 seconds had the most fun I’ve ever had, and that’s because I stayed true to myself, and I did what I wanted to do for my talent, no matter what everybody else told me, and it paid off. I’m very happy about it,” Kazantsev said in defense of her, er, talent. She continued to defend her performance by saying she was inspired by the cup-playing scene in Pitch Perfect as if that makes it OK.
As one would imagine, a social media backlash ensued. Here are just a few of our favorite tweets.…
Best talent on #missamerica was opera singer! This red cup chick who won is a joke & is indicative of how our country praises the talentless
— djbrandigarcia (@djbrandigarcia) September 15, 2014
Canceling the ventriloquist, ballet and piano lessons for Esther's scholarship future. Buying red cup tomorrow. #missamerica
— Brian Copeland (@NashvilleBrian) September 15, 2014
Ladies, I say we compete in #missamerica next year. All we need is a red cup, no voice, & no rhythm!
— Kristie Lowe (@kristieLowe_) September 15, 2014
The judges were obviously drugged with whatever was in her cup. #missamerica
— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) September 15, 2014
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED A CUP WHILE SINGING "HAPPY" WON. It's so awkward to explain how this counts as "talent" to my UK friend. #missamerica
— Tam Vo (@tamiam) September 15, 2014
Well at least now I know my 6 year old can be #MissAmerica
— Dana Weiss (@Possessionista) September 15, 2014
You get the gist. While many Americans are scratching their heads trying to figure out why we still have beauty competitions at all, now we have to digest a celebration of mediocrity comprised of an exceptionally tired and annoying song accompanied by a red plastic cup that could be performed by a preschooler.
Let’s say you missed this performance. (In the immortal words of Peter Gibbons from Office Space, we wouldn’t say you “missed it.”) You’re in luck. We found a low-quality recording (our apologies, for some reason — perhaps because it is a national embarrassment? — ABC is not sharing this performance in its entirety at the time this was written) of a talent that our country now rewards with a crown. What do you think?