Little Inez Had A Different 'Hairspray Live!' End

Hang on a minute. NBC's latest live musical may have a different ending from what you remember, if you weren't too busy dancing in your seat. Why didn't Inez win Miss Teenage Hairspray in Hairspray Live! ? They stuck to the original Broadway show's ending and Tracy won, which has a slightly different impact.

In the 2007 movie, Seaweed's sister Little Inez wins the pageant when she makes a surprise appearance and callers flood the line with last minute votes for the adorable sensation. Her win is what ensures that Corny's show will stay integrated, because Miss Teenage Hairspray is a featured dancer on the show as part of the deal. In the original movie, Tracy wins but is disqualified because she's in reform school, and Amber gets the crown. However, in the stage production and in Hairspray Live! it's Tracy that gets the last minute votes, though in the stage production she is a little more adamant about rejecting the title — Hairspray Live! threw in a line about what she wanted to do with her scholarship.

In all three versions, Tracy Turnblad wins her personal and social battles. She ends up with her crush and effectively integrates the Corny Collins Show. That matters more to her than a pageant. It's cool that winning the title on Hairspray Live! meant that she got a scholarship — but Inez and Shahadi Wright Joseph, who played her, deserved more! A hero can succeed without winning a contest. Spread the love!

I really enjoyed that unexpected twist at the end of the movie. It's a more profound victory for diversity than Tracy just declaring integration, and it gives Inez a full story arc. You forget that she tried to audition and got rejected too. I was disappointed that Hairspray Live! decided not to keep this change — but they did stay true to the stage production, which I guess was the goal this time around.

Image: Justin Lubin/NBC