Unlike previous incarnations, the 2008 Miss America Pageant, taking place this Saturday night, is going to be more "modern" (read: less middle-aged lady makeup, more spunk), or so says Ugly Betty's Michael Urie of TLC's Miss America: Reality Check. But holy shit: Judging from the photos of the young women "performing" (and yes, thank you Lord, there is baton-twirling!) in the preliminary competitions in Vegas today, it doesn't look like much progress has been made. A gallery of the pageant contestants (and did I mention the baton-twirling?!), accompanied by the musings of both myself and Dodai, begins after the jump.

(Click on any image to begin viewing gallery)

[Las Vegas, January 23. Images via Splash]