This week’s Game of Crowns brings us to the main event itself: “Legends of the Crown.” Legends is a pageant in which only previously-crowned beauty queens can compete. Since last week’s restraining order was issued (by Leha Guilmette to Lynne Diamante) the question now is who can compete against whom and…who’s gonna get arrested? Let’s see, shall we.
We begin at Lori-Ann Marchese’s house one day before the pageant where she’s prepping with the following mantra: tone it, tan it, strut it. Her husband is brushing bottled bronzer all over her in solidarity. She’s sick of the other ladies’ advice to “tone it down” in competitions, so this time Lori-Ann is bringing her true (orange) self to the stage. Woot woot!
In a boxing ring in RI, Leha is unleashing her pent up rage by working out with a coach. Picturing Lynne’s face each time she punches him helps Leha stay fit and pageant-ready. Leha reminds us that Lynne has messed with her for the last time and she’s hitting back now.
Speaking of Lynne, we’re taken to her house and – oh.my.god. – here comes the damn blood pressure cuff again. The result: 165/95. I have zero idea what that means, but Lynne says the stress of this restraining order is ruining her health and she can’t go to rehearsals for the Legends pageant as a result. I have absolutely no idea what happens next because I am now staring at the movie poster-sized glamor shot of Lynne on her den wall. In it, she has firecracker red extensions in her hair and I feel like this is one of those creepy paintings where the eyes move around the room looking at you. It is legitimately frightening.
At Foxwoods Resort & Casino, rehearsals have begun. Vanassa Sebastian charges the stage to annoy the pageant directors while Susanna sits in the audience giving Vanassa the wonky stink eye. Susanna Paliotta’s jumpsuit matches the purple casino chairs exactly. Cue the casino chairs being all, “You copied me, b*tch!” Lori-Ann and Shelley join the cast of, oh I don’t know, like 7 or 9 competitors TOTAL on stage to practice an opening dance number. Lynne and Leha are no-shows.
Susanna tells Shelley Carbone and Lori-Ann that she’s sympathetic to Lynne’s dilemma of wanting to compete, but being scared to show up because of Leha’s restraining order that dictates Lynne remain 100 feet away from Leha at all times. She literally says, “What if she doesn’t know what a hundred feet away is?” These women are deep. Also, Shelley looks like someone used a whole bottle of brush-on bronzer just on her face. Susanna then throws down the gauntlet, claiming that she doesn’t want to come if Lynne can’t come. Vanassa invites the ladies to eat some version of a loser buffet up in her hotel suite after rehearsal. Susanna says she would rather pull every single hair out of her arm individually than go play nice with Vanassa. Well, that is…specific.
Susanna heads over to Lynne’s house instead to console the woman she’s now referring to as her “best friend.” When did THAT happen? As her current bestie, Susanna decides to secretly teach Lynne the choreography to the dance she just practiced at rehearsal. They shimmy around the living room while the real victim in all of this, Giulio, looks on with a blood pressure cuff at the ready. I wonder: do these women understand that they are pushing 50 years of age? And that they are not my friend Jenny and I in 6th grade dancing with hair brush microphones in my living room to Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know?
Back in Vanassa’s suite, Leha shows up to reveal that she will not be competing in the Legends pageant after all because she doesn’t want a security guard on stage as it will “make a mockery of pageantry.” Allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllrighty then.
It’s the day of the pageant!! Morning prep! Lori-Ann is trying to remember her fitness competition roots and not get too swept up in all the hoo-ha about to go down. Shelley is rocking – ROCKING – some badass curlers and my grandma’s headscarf. Vanassa is rocking a velour jumpsuit and a pasty face. Susanna and Lynne are not rocking matching ill-fitting velour sweatpants (#whoneedsacuchininow???). And Giulio is rocking a lavender polo shirt, dad belt, and a look of bewildered defeat on his tiny little face as he piles Lynne into Susanna’s car. Lynne finds out Leha won’t be competing and interviews that it’s good riddance after what she’s put Lynne through. Lynne reports that her “doctors” have given her the all-clear to compete today, despite her “health crisis.” Please, Bravo, let her come on stage with a rhinestone-covered blood pressure cuff during the evening gown portion. She is drama. The awful kind. Throw us a bone here!
Two hours until the pageant!! The ladies flop down in makeup chairs. I suspect some of these ladies require more than 2 hours prep time on their faces, but what’ryagonnado? Shelley does her own makeup while Vanassa applies the twelfth bleaching strips of the day to her fangs. Leha is in a hotel room getting makeup sprayed on her face as well because even though she’s not competing, she is competing…if you know what I mean. She also thanks her husband Nick for being her own “personal security guard.” (Girl, save your thanks for the actual security guard who pulls him off of Vanassa’s husband’s ear in about 3 months.)
Backstage, the pageant directors are speaking very slowly to Lori-Ann, instructing her to wear her Mrs. Connecticut sash on stage, not her fitness competition sash (that she’d planned to wear). They claim Lori-Ann needs to represent a “Legend of the Crown” and only a state sash shows that pure, farm-fresh Legendy goodness. Lori-Ann looks like she wants to punch someone, then punch herself.
Time for personal interviews! Vanassa’s up first. She discusses her home decorating tips, which are pedestrian and boring stories about closets and drapes. Lynne spends her time with the judges saying things like “Oh my gawd!” and talking about her wish to stay at the Ice Hotel in Greenland. Susanna launches into her prowess as a flight pilot. Shelley discusses her dreams of driving a Nascar racecar (is that redundant?) and climbing Mt. Everest. Lori-Ann tells a tremendously long-winded story about her grandpa’s ghost haunting her in Italy. The judges look exhausted. 2 snaps in a circle to Lori-Ann for originality, though. The judges clearly favor Shelley – well, according to Bravo editing and anyone who has eyes in their heads to see that she is the prettiest, most natural beauty of them all no matter what her answers are.
Now for the main event! The opening dance number, which Shelley is nervous about, is sung by a 7-foot drag queen while a small handful of lady-competitors jerk around the stage trying to match their choreography like…not at all. And the overall effect is embarrassing with a dash of train wreck. Leha is in the audience draped in full gown, sash, crown, and Nick. She interviews that she’s glad she’s not up there basically humiliating herself (this time). Oh snap! That wasn’t a drag queen after all. Scratch that. All other facts remain totally accurate. Lori-Ann decides to wear 2 sashes and flubs her opening remarks when she can’t remember her titles. Poor thing! Swimsuits are next. Shelley goes for a classic (like 1940s) skirted look while Lori-Ann goes skimpy and scrunch-butted. The other ladies all fall somewhere along that weird swimsuit spectrum.
Moving on to evening gowns, the ladies are now required to march their hapless husbands on stage with them for an awkward moment before striking a pose. Damn it! Giulio arrives sans BP cuff, but a girl can dream. The gowns are very sparkly and Lori-Ann is especially working it in hers, but it’s again Shelley who steals the show by having her mom, who’s birthday is that very day, escort her on stage because her husband is “too shy.” Yeah, shy like a fox. Nice move, Shelley. This gal is no one’s fool. Shelley’s dress is also gorgeous and looks like it may be the only garment not purchased at that hideous shop Susanna’s stylist, Anthony, runs.
The semi-finalists are: Lori-Ann, Susanna, Shelley, Vanassa, Lynne and four other missuses. Each of the ladies answers a question, then it’s whittled down to the Top 5: Lori-Ann, Shelley (of course), 2 other women, and…THEY LEAVE US HANGING THERE!! Among Lynne, Vanassa, and Susanna, only one of them can make the final Top 5. Who’s it gonna be?
I humbly suggest that whoever is chosen should go in Highlander style, brandishing a sword while screaming “There can only be ONE!!!” But I’d hate to make a mockery out of pageants.
TELL US – WHO DO YOU THINK WILL TAKE THE CROWN?
Recap Author: Erin M.
Photo Credit: Bravo