Thursday, January 12, 2012

Irish Dancing their way to the Crown: Miss America 2012

More than a handful of Irish Dancers have graced the Miss America stage over the years.  Not only are these young women beautiful, talented, and college educated, they clearly have the best talent ever. What audience doesn't LOVE when an Irish dancer walks out on stage? As a former pageant contestant and life-long Irish dancer, I always root for the few Irish dancers that are vying for the crown. In recent years, Miss Virigina 2010 and my state's own Miss Florida 2009 performed Irish dance as their Miss America talents. 
Miss Virginia 2010: Caitlin Uze
Miss Florida 2009: Rachael Todd
While I love the all Irish dancers and really enjoy seeing them compete for the prestigious Miss America crown, the 2012 Miss America Pageant marks an exciting milestone for Irish dancers. Instead of the occasional Irish dancer competing for the crown, three state titleholders will be performing an Irish dance as their talent! This year Miss Alaska, Miss Delaware, and Miss Oklahoma will be bringing the luck of the Irish all the way to Las Vegas for this year's pageant. I hope to see all three ladies when Miss America airs on ABC this Saturday, January 14th at 9pm! 

Miss Alaska 2011: Katy Lovegreen
Age: 21
Platform: Speak Out: Promoting Public Speaking and Debate Programs for Youth
Miss America Talent: Irish dance to "Stereo Love"
Dance Stats: Katy dances for Northern Lights Celtic Dancers, instructed by Pat Hall TCRG-ADCRG.
My Thoughts: Katy is a lovely dancer. I watched her perform at the 2010 National Sweetheart pageant in Hoopeston Illinois, where she was Miss Alaska's Sweetheart. Good luck Katy!  
Katy dancing at Miss America 2012

Miss Delaware 2011: Maria Cahill
Age: 20
Platform: Project 16-26: Drive Safe, Drive Smart
Miss America Talent: Irish dance to "Riverdance"
Dance Stats: Maria danced for the Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance (Pittsburgh, PA) and currently dances for the Ryan-Kilcoyne School of Irish Dance in Delaware, where she is also a teacher. Maria is not only a world qualifier, but also placed 16th and 22nd at the World Championships! You can read more about Maria's experience in Irish dance at her Miss Delaware Blog. She also posted a great video of she and her 6 brothers and sisters performing together!
My Thoughts: Maria looks like the real deal to me. She's gorgeous, and placed at Worlds twice. What more could the judges want? I love the costume she wore at Miss America as well! The open back makes the dress contemporary. Love it! I really hope a video of her talent routine turns up on YouTube soon.  
Maria Dancing at Miss America 2012
I love the open back of her costume! 

Miss Oklahoma 2011: Betty Thompson 
***Preliminary Talent Winner, Miss America 2012***
Age: 23
Platform: Milk: It really does a body good
Miss America Talent: Irish dance to "Warriors" from Lord of the Dance
Dance Stats: Betty dances for the McTeggart Irish Dancers. She has competed in at the World Championships 5 times, as well as 4 times at the All-Irelands. Betty was also the first Oklahoman to come home with a medal from the All-Irelands! She has also performed with the Cheiftans, Eileen Ivers, and Natalie McMaster. Betty currently teaches private lessons, and plans to earn her TCRG in the future! 
My Thoughts: Betty has a legitimate chance of being crowned Miss America 2012. As a World's competitor and All-Ireland medal holder, she's clearly got technique to spare. On top of that, she looks to be the type of dancer that commands the stage. She is simultaneously cute as a button and stunning, in an All-American girl way. The judges have already shown they love her by awarding her a Preliminary Talent Award. She won a beautiful Miss America trophy and a $2,000 scholarship. I really hope to see Betty on TV Saturday night! Even better if the night ends with a crown atop her brunette locks. Below is a video of Betty and Preliminary swimsuit winner, Miss Texas, Kendall Morris, after winning their prelim awards at Miss America Wednesday night. You can watch Betty dancing a short portion of her routine and accepting her award. You can see her flawless technique even in those few moments! 

Betty was also interviewed by her local news after winning Miss Oklahoma, and can be seen dancing a bit here.

Betty dancing her WINNING
talent routine at Miss America 2012
Betty dancing at Miss Oklahoma...
Seriously, how lovely is she?
I love the creativity and stage presence that Miss America contestants bring to Irish dance, not to mention the fabulous costumes they all wear! Betty Thompson has already won a preliminary talent award, so her chances of being in the finals is off to a great start! Best of luck to all three Irish dancers competing for the crown this year! 

Don't forget to tune into the 2012 Miss America Pageant, this Saturday, January 14th at 9pm on ABC! 

- Moira

PS: I can't finish this post without wishing Miss Florida, Kristina Janola, best of luck as well! She might not be an Irish dancer, but boy is this girl talented! I've had the pleasure of meeting her through pageants in Florida. Not only is she beautiful, but also sweet and intelligent. Below is her winning performance at Miss Florida 2011. 


  1. Wow - this is an awesome post. I had no idea Irish dancing was making such a presence at pageants recently! This is great! I hope I can watch it on TV :)

  2. Thanks!! I'm sure the swimwear competition could inspire a post or two for your blog!! :)

  3. Had no idea there'd be 3 dancers in the pageant! I'd only heard of one until now. Can't wait to watch and cheer on the IDers.

  4. There was also a Celtic fiddler, Miss Washington. She did great too.

  5. Awesome! I wish I could find a video of her playing :)


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