Miss Wisconsin Crowned the Cheesiest

Laura Kaeppeler was crowned Miss America last night by the C-list cabal of Kris Jenner, actress Teri Polo, and Dancing With the Stars judge Mark Ballas in a ceremony stripped of whatever former elegance it once boasted for the bloodsport format that so many self-flagellating amateur performers subject themselves to on shows like American Idol and X Factor. In case you were too busy living your life to watch Miss Hawaii jump rope or Miss Texas play piano and hula hoop at the same time, Kaeppeler impressed three people who probably wouldn't know much better with her opera singing of "Il Bacio" and her total non-answer to a question about the importance of Miss America's political affiliation: "Miss America represents everyone." Wonderful, hooray for America's homogeneous acquiescence to the indomitable bipartisanship of its newest pageant queen. Kaeppeler, a native of Kenosha, WI, hopes to earn a Master's in speech pathology with the customary $50,000 scholarship plus an extra $2,000 for winning the talent competition, you know, to buy a pair of boots more suited for stomping on the dreams of infamous dieter Miss South Carolina (Bree Boyce). [Wash Post, People]

  • Speaking of panther-mom Kris Jenner, reports are emerging that she and her daughter Kim Kardashian might have (gulp) staged a heart-to-heart about Kim's future ex-husband, Kris Humphries. If this is true, it means that, just like in the wee hours before the financial collapse, our national consciousness has been built on a tenuous lie. Reality Tea has posted photos of Kim and momsie emerging from a Burbank studio on December 6, and cleverly deduces that the women are dressed in the same clothes they wore on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that was supposedly filmed in October in Dubai. Then again, the possibility of time travel hasn't been ruled completely out and we might all well be living in the altered time-space continuum in which future Kim has traveled back in time to stop past Kim from making a mistake that would force her to move to Minnesota and have a life of halting conversations with a homophobic basketball player. Crisis averted. [Radar, Reality Tea]
  • Sources say that Katy Perry will emerge from the fallout shelter she's been hiding in since her split with Russell Brand to perform at Mark Cuban's Super Bowl party in Indianapolis, which, incidentally, is the home of a pretty terrific zoo (it has red pandas!). [NDNY]
  • If you're eating breakfast right now, be forewarned: you'll probably want to spit it all over your screen when you learn that people are actually paying to hoist anchor with the Kate Gosselin mega-maternity experience. Tickets for the cruise start at $1,575 and go all the way up to $5,000, which I imagine buys you an audience with Gosselin and her brood in their cabin where they'll form a slowly constricting ring around you while chanting, "One of us, one of us." [E!]
  • According to a 94-page FBI report on the man who taught me to swear, Ol' Dirty Bastard, the Wu-Tang Clan is about as gangsta as they'd have you believe. The report details the hip-hop group's involvement with hits, carjackings, shootings, and drug deals, as well as their affiliation with the Bloods, which I'm told by the year 1994 is a violent street gang...that now knows my name and my propensity for crass timeline humor. [NDNY]
  • Apparently still unable to understand that DMX is a bad motherfucker who doesn't like physical displays of affection, the man who allegedly tried to choke the rapper onstage says he was only trying to give DMX a hug. Awww. Andy Roy was released from prison last week and insists that he'll go in for some more love as soon as he gets the chance. [TMZ]
  • In more gangster-related news, Mark Wahlberg says he's considering a jailhouse visit to James "Whitey" Bulger to discuss a movie collaboration. Says Wahlberg, "He wants me to come down and visit him. Maybe he'll give me the exclusive rights to tell his story, `cause he knows, you know, we can do it better than anybody else." [HuffPo]
  • Michele Salahi remains non-committal on whether she slept with Journey's Neal Schon because adultery is a crime in Virginia, the state where her husband lives. [TMZ]
  • Estranged couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony held hands on Saturday for the sake of their joint television venture, a Univision show called "Q'Viva! The Chosen." [CBSNews]
  • Greedy Katherine Heigl wants to adopt another kid. [Mail]
  • Michelle Obama took the stage at the BET Honors on Saturday with poet Maya Angelou, calling the African American community to civic action. [Reuters]
  • Heather Locklear has been released from the L.A. area hospital where she was treated for an unknown ailment. [AP]
  • In case you missed them, you will probably see Jason Segel's balls again in his upcoming movie The Five Year Engagement. [E!]
  • It's not all that surprising that Mel Gibson is among Hollywood's most generous celebrities because, like any good Catholic, he's really buying his way into heaven with indulgences. [Express]
  • Taylor Swift will wear a funny hat on the February cover of Vogue. [Twitter]
  • Get ready to spice up your life, again. Rumor has it that The Spice Girls are plotting a comeback tour beginning at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and that unlike 2009's lonely totter down memory lane, this time the artist formerly known as Posh Spice will join them. Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, this is either the best news you've heard since Clueless became a TV series or merely the penultimate stonecut in the Mayan doomsday clock. [AOL, Mirror]