After two weeks of primping, practice and preliminaries, 52 women are ready to compete in a sexed-up, slimmed-down Miss America &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/fun/2002/10/16/38240.html' target=_blank>contest designed to appeal to viewers bored with pageantry but hungry for reality TV.
"The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison emcees the annual telecast from Boardwalk Hall at 9 p.m. EDT Saturday on ABC, culminating in the crowning of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/11/13/39464.html' target=_blank>Miss America 2005, who will be serenaded with "There She Is" by Clay Aiken during her runway walk.
The show, a ratings dud in recent years, has been trimmed from three hours to two, all but eliminating the hokey talent routines that defined Miss America for decades but drove many viewers away, ABC News reported.
According to the Times of India, instead of 10 or five contestants singing, dancing or twirling batons, only the last two women remaining on stage will perform talent bits. Other new wrinkles include a swimsuit portion that will show more skin than Miss America viewers have ever seen, thanks to skimpy, stringy, sponsor-provided Speedo swimsuits.
The elimination of the telecast-opening "parade of states" will be replaced by a video montage introducing the contestants. This year marks the 50th &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/87/343/10025_petersburg.html' target=_blank>anniversary of the first Miss America pageant to be televised.