Miss South Carolina

And so the pageantry begins

otaylor@thestate.comJuly 11, 2012 

The opening night of the Miss South Carolina Pageant preliminaries ran smoothly until a slight stumble at the very end. Actually, it was a fall that made the audience gasp Tuesday at the Township Auditorium.

After winning the talent event, Miss Capital City Anna Mills Polatty, who was walking down the steps with the evening’s other winners, fell and landed with an emphatic thump. When she stood, she raised her arm as if to say, “My bad.” She handled the fall gracefully. Polatty, possibly the shortest Miss S.C. contestant, is easily one of the most charismatic in the competition.

Miss Grand Strand Summer Rayl won for swimsuit. In the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant, Heart of Greenville Teen Rebecca Robinson won for evening wear and River City Teen Maya Lynch for talent.

Here’s a recap of the first night of the weeklong pageant.

Opening number: The contestants danced – some better than others – in shimmering black and silver dresses that looked blue if the lights hit in a certain way. The movement to Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” and the abundance of sequins created a strobe light effect. Very Vegas. And that was on point if that’s what the producers were going for.

Rain delay: Before the show began, a thunderclap rattled the folks in the lobby. Then people began streaking into the auditorium’s lobby, some drenched from the heavy downpour. Those who carried umbrellas had a strut in their steps. The start was delayed 10 minutes.

Work it: As part of the Teen sportswear choreography, contestants, when their names were called, walked to center stage and mimed jumping rope. Jumping is awkward, especially if one isn’t athletic or coordinated, even with a rope. More than one girl looked like they were doing The Carlton Dance.

Is this thing on?: A note of warning to the contestants yet to compete in talent: the mics are very, very sensitive. Be careful because surely you don’t want to sound like you’re screaming into the wind when you hit the upper register.

Gotcha!: Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce, who lost more than 100 pounds on her way to the crown, shared a memorable moment from her reign. Two days after winning, she was in a Florence grocery store when she ran into the guy who stood her up for junior prom. Since she didn’t have her crown, she had the pleasure of telling him she won. “It was great revenge,” she said.

Rare talent: Miss Walterboro Suzelle Santos’ talent was belly dancing. And she was very creative, weaving light fabric into her routine. She should be recruited by Alternacirque.

Rally signs: The contingent in the seats to cheer Miss Simpsonville Mary-Langston Willis took up an entire section. (It was section B of the lower bowl.) And they had signs with Willis’ face printed on them that they held aloft with sticks.

Good job: One thing the Miss S.C. audiences are good for is clapping for bad performances.

The ultimate paperweight: The Miss S.C. program book, which costs $25, is more than 700 pages. Try picking it up quickly five times and your hand might cramp.

Numbers games: There are 100 contestants this year compared to 88 last year.

Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362

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