It happened Sunday night in Las Vegas, in the dangerous swamp known as the "interview."
A question was posed to Miss Utah Marissa Powell by judge NeNe Leakes: "A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men," Leakes said. "What does this say about society?"
(Take a moment to try to figure out your spontaneous answer to that query -- we dare ya -- and then we'll move on.)
"I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to -- figure out how to create jobs right now," Powell said. "That is the biggest problem and, I think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, so we need to -- create education better so we can solve this problem."
The Ministry gives it a 10 for scrambling, a 10 for rambling, and bonus points for using the phrase "create education better." And add 10 to that for pulling it all off in an evening gown, with a huge smile and big hair. It all adds up to third runner-up.
But perhaps we should cut Miss Utah a little slack? As NPR writer Linda Holmes noted Monday, "This isn't the kind of question that actually tests what you know; it's basically a test of your ability to generate cow patties on command."
Erin Brady, the 25-year-old Miss Connecticut, took the title, followed by Miss Alabama Mary Margaret McCord as first runner-up, Miss Illinois Stacie Juris as second runner-up, Powell as third runner-up, Miss Texas Ali Nugent as fourth runner-up and Miss South Carolina Megan Pinckney as fifth runner-up. Miss USA feeds into the Miss Universe competition, which this year will be held in Moscow.
"Miss Utah" was still trending nationally on Twitter on Monday morning. Ouch. Hey, at least she won Miss Photogenic.