An Expert Opinion of the Miss USA Final Answers

by Kadeen Griffiths

The Miss USA competition has come to a close and Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez, emerged victorious. However, prior to her crowning, the competition was steep — especially when it came to the final round of questions and answers. Some of the questions were predictable. Some of the questions came completely out of left field. And one question made us incredibly glad that we never had to stand up and give an opinion on it. Is there such a thing as a "right" answer when it comes to the Miss USA 2014 Final Questions? Maybe, maybe not.

Now that the top six are done sweating it out and the dust has had time to settle, it's time to evaluate who gave the best answers and who gave the worst. However, it's not enough for us to give our evaluations on where the contestants excelled and where they could have done better. We've also had some experts, from school teachers to nurses, weigh in with their own evaluations of the final answers. Based on the responses below, did Miss Nevada really deserve to win?

By our estimation, Miss Nevada definitely gave one of the best responses while Miss North Dakota gave one of the worst. However, each response had positive and negative aspects of their own that are worth discussing.

Miss Iowa: Carlyn Bradarich

The Question: Do you agree that, as a recent New York Times story suggested, narcissism is an epidemic and America's youth today are turning into hyper-entitled, self-absorbed generation?

The Answer: "I actually do agree with that. I think social media and technology has allowed the youth to post pictures of themselves and videos of themselves. That kinda, to me, seems narcissistic."

Our Evaluation: Miss Iowa's response is pretty vague. While we get the general spirit of what she's saying, using words like "kinda" make it seem like she's not sure of her own point and there were better things to use as an example than just photos and videos. She could have even have narrowed her focus to simply Facebook or Instagram for a full-website study of narcissism.

The Expert Says: "Considering there are people out there who live tweet childbirth, it's not totally unfair to say social media fosters narcissism. That said, not all American youth are self-absorbed, and if anything, social media has given teens a better understanding of global issues. Instagram has allowed teens to share plenty of selfies, but it has also opened up their eyes to a larger world beyond their school, friends, and hometown." —Hayley Saltzman, Bustle's own Social Media Editor

Miss North Dakota: Audra Mari

The Question: Do you still think college is relevant in this day and age, considering how hard it is to get a job after graduation combined with the soaring costs of education?

The Answer: "I do think going to college is relevant at this point. I know my parents' generation, there was are a lot of people who are extremely successful who never did get a college degree, but in this day and age I know it's extremely hard to find a job, even after four years of college. So I do think it's extremely important to go and get your education and, I guess, further your education after high school."

Our Evaluation: Miss North Dakota's logic doesn't support her answer. She says that going to college is relevant and then says that people make it without going and that they can't find a job even after going, which would support the opposite answer. She might start out saying that college is important, but she defeats her own argument right after, which makes the whole thing weak.

The Expert Says: "She didn't answer the question. She didn't say why she needs to go to college to get a job... If you don't have a good educational background, you may never end up getting a job. You have to get a good degree, because even if you [want a job cleaning] a bathroom, these days they're looking for a quality education." —Arlene Saunders, Elementary School Teacher

Miss Florida: Brittany Oldehoff

The Question: What sets you apart from other finalists and why should you be crowned Miss USA?

The Answer: "Well, I have to tell you that being up here is an honor to be with these women. They are absolutely phenomenal and I've really gotten to know them over the past couple weeks. However, I think that I'm bringing something new to the table. My father passed away with complications of Crohn's and colitis, and I'd really love to bring that forward, and raise money and awareness, and bring it home for my dad."

Our Evaluation: Miss Florida did a good job of remaining humble by complimenting the other contestants and bringing up an issue that's close to her heart to base her platform on. This would have been a great chance for her to fall into the trap of talking herself up, but she didn't and she risked sounding pretty cheesy in the process. I think she made it work in the end.

The Expert Says: "It's a good idea to bring awareness to these two diseases because they're very common, debilitating diseases. They can be controlled with relaxation, exercises, and diet. Given the fact that her father died from the disease, [it feels like] she's sharing her experience with people like a support group." —Daisy Hemmings, Registered Nurse

Miss Nevada: Nia Sanchez

The Question: Why do you think such crimes [sexual assaults among college students] have been swept under the rug for so long and what can colleges do to combat that?

The Answer: "I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don't want that to come out into the public. But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that's something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women."

Our Evaluation: While Miss Nevada makes a good point that women need to be confident and be able to defend themselves, she fails to mention that more education should be devoted to preventing men from raping women to begin with. Her answer carries a hint of victim blaming and doesn't address rape culture quite enough.

The Expert Says: "I think she's right about the reputation. A lot of universities and colleges... do you think they would want it on the news? Those schools are Ivy League schools; they don't want anyone knowing that that type of stuff. They want students and parents and future students that want to go there to feel safe. I think it's all about that." —Catherine Severino, Graduate Student

Miss Louisiana: Brittany Guidry

The Question: Do you think the government was right to release five Guantanamo Bay prisoners in exchange for American POW Bowe Bergdahl?

The Answer: "I am glad that we got our guy back. However, I do not feel it is right that we subject ourself to these acts of terrorism. I do agree with our guy being back but, however, I do not think that we should subject ourselves."

Our Evaluation: Miss Louisiana's response is conflicted and bewildered, repeating both sides of the question without contributing anything new. Then again, who can blame her? That question came so far out of left field that it feels almost unfair.

The Expert Says: "She's having both sides of the cake. You can't get your guy back until you agree to deal with these folks. You can't have it both ways. She tried to give a politically correct answer." —Devereaux Cannick, Former Chair of the Mount Vernon Democratic Committee

Miss Georgia: Tiana Griggs

The Question: In 30 seconds, say anything you want to our political leaders.

The Answer: "I say that we should lead our country by faith. For me, I know that when I go to bed at night I pray for my family as well as the leaders of the country. I think if we pull together and work together, we are able to make more of a difference than setting ourselves apart. That's what I would say."

Our Evaluation: Miss Georgia did an excellent job of revealing her personal values, but hmm, is she suggesting our government take a turn for the religious? Uh oh.

The Expert Says: "Her answer was too general. If she's going to say the government is going to lead by faith, she needs to explain what she means... If I was to answer a question like that, I would rather tell them that... we need to put all our resources and our thoughts together for the betterment of the people." —Beverly Allen, City of New York Social Services Department

Image: MissUniverse.com