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HOME > Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

Moya and Jenileigh Sawatzke win The CW's 'Crowned' reality pageant


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/31/2008 

Moya and Jenileigh Sawatzke were revealed to be Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants' winners during last night's finale broadcast of The CW reality competition series.

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"This is so awesome... It's so incredible that I have this moment with my mom," said Jenileigh.

Moya, a 51-year-old from Hesperia, CA with no previous pageant experience, and Jenileigh, a 25-year-old 2006 Miss Wyoming winner from Las Vegas, NV, defeated the three other mother/daughter duos competing in the finale pageant to take home Crowned's grand prize of custom-made diamond necklaces, a pair of tiaras, and $100,000.

"This has just been the most amazing journey ever," said Jenileigh.  "We've already been through so much... This is just a new beginning that I am looking very much forward to."

Melinda, a 40-year-old from Chandler, AZ, and her daughter Rachelle, a 24-year-old from Tempe, AZ, finished second.

"You're always sad if you don't win," said Rachelle.  "But you know what? I think our relationship has grown.  I think we've taken a lot from this experience and I'm very blessed to have such a fantastic mom."

Gina, a 49-year-old from Fort Worth, TX, and her daughter Hollis, a 27-year-old from New York City, finished third.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Hollis.  "We'll hopefully take the lessons that we learned about teamwork, communication and a commitment to one another into our everyday life."

"We also learned that we'll never let each other down," added Gina.  "This is a bond that cannot be broken."

Crowned's finale broadcast began with the four remaining teams arriving for the finale pageant and immediately starting to practice their routines before sitting through hair and makeup.  The finale pageant then commenced, with an opening number that reunited the 11 mother/daughter teams that began the competition. 

The pageant was hosted by soap star Jack Wagner and consisted of four categories -- swimsuit, evening wear, talent and interview -- each of which the teams would be scored on based on poise, style and teamwork.  As has been the case all season, the duos were judged by former Queer Eye fashion expert Carson Kressley; former Miss USA, Dancing with the Stars third-season celebrity participant and Meet the Barkers co-star Shanna Moakler; and television personality Cynthia Garrett. 

The swimsuit competition commenced with Patty, who is from Orlando, FL, and her daughter Laura, who resides in Nashville, TN, being the first to go.  Carson thought they showed a lot of sass and attitude -- maybe too much; while Shanna commented they "lost each other" and didn't show teamwork and Cynthia had a hard time differentiating between the two.

Moya and Jenileigh were praised for the "good energy" that was evident between them, however the same couldn't be said for Gina and Hollis.  Cynthia said she was surprised Gina and Hollis' teamwork was a little off since it had been evident all season, and Carson added they looked a "little uneasy."  Shanna praised the duo, calling them "polished perfection."  Shanna thought Mindy looked a "little nervous" and the judges wanted to see her own it more as the pageant progressed.

Jack then revealed the swimsuit scores, with Jenileigh and Moya in first with a 27; Gina and Hollis and Mindy and Rachelle tied for second with a 26; and Patty and Laura in third with a 23.  Immediately after Jack revealed the scores, Mindy -- who recently had a kidney transplant -- went down to one knee while onstage and medics were called.

"This is really embarrassing," said Mindy as she was being tended to by medics before explaining, "I don't know what happened.  I just got kind of dizzy.  The room started to spin and I thought I was going down."

"It was very, very cold onstage and her swimsuit was really, really tight around her neck, and her shoes were really tight," explained Rachelle.  "So we think kind of everything just played right into it."

But because the show must go on, the talent portion of the competition was next. 

Already in last, Patty and Laura didn't help their cause during their duet of "Climb Every Mountain," which featured Patty on piano and Laura singing.  Laura forgot the words, causing Patty to mess-up, and then Laura forgot the lyrics again.  The judges weren't very impressed and said the duo didn't handle the slip-up with any poise, adding their nerves were clearly evident.

It went much smoother for Moya and Jenileigh, who performed an aerial fabric routine that won over the judges during a previous de-sashing challenge.  It moved Cynthia to tears, and all of the judges were happy Moya was incorporated in the routine more than the first time around.  Shanna added it was "very impressive."

Gina and Hollis did a singing duet, and Carson characterized it as "very daring" since they did it a cappella. Shanna thought their mother/daughter relationship showed during the song and Cynthia added the two looked fabulous.

Despite needing medical attention, Mindy nailed her and Rachelle's nautical-themed dance routine.  Shanna thought they showed great energy and was glad Mindy came out of her shell; Carson commented the duo was poised; and Cynthia said they showed good teamwork.

Jack revealed the scores, with Mindy and Rachelle receiving the first perfect 30 out of 30 for the night, followed by Moya and Jenileigh with a 28; Gina and Hollis with a 25; and Patty and Laura with a 20.  After two rounds, Mindy and Rachelle had a one point lead over Moya and Jenileigh.

The girls then slipped into their evening gowns.  Carson thought Patty's gown was a little dated and Shanna agreed, adding there was a "lack of charisma" between the duo.  Cynthia thought Patty and Laura were poised, but added it seemed like they forgot about each other while onstage.

While the judges loved Jenileigh's dress, Moya was also criticized for wearing something a little outdated.  However all the judges agreed their teamwork and poise was right on the money.  Cynthia thought Gina and Hollis were "warm and inviting," while Carson wanted Gina to be glammed up a little bit.  Shanna gushed Gina and Hollis were "polished and flawless."  Carson thought both Mindy and Rachelle were "really elegant," and Shanna noticed Mindy had completely stepped out of her shell.

As Jack was preparing to reveal the evening gown scores, he instead alerted the teams there would be an "ambush de-sashing," with the duo who had the lowest score through the first three rounds receiving the boot.  Mindy and Rachelle remained in first with a 28 for a combined score of 84; Moya and Jenileigh followed closely with a 28 for a combined score of 83; and Gina and Hollis were a distant third with a 26 and a combined score of 77. 

Patty and Laura were then de-sashed, and Laura said it was a "big disappointment" because she's "never messed up that bad" in her life.

"We got to spend a lot of time together, we worked on a lot of challenges together and we felt every emotion possible here -- a lot of good ones and a lot of frustrating ones," said Patty.  "But all in all, it's been a good experience."

The all-important interview portion of the pageant then commenced, with all of the duos having 30 second to discuss a platform they support and give reasons why.  Both the mother and daughter were required to contribute to the answer.  The twist was that Jack threw each duo a follow-up, wondering how much of the $100,000 prize they'd be willing to spend on their cause.

Rachelle stole the spotlight during her duo's interview, talking about how they support the importance of organ donation.  Mindy couldn't get a word in edgewise, even when Jack asked the follow-up.  However Rachelle did have a good answer for the follow-up, explaining the foundation she started that supports funding for organ donation.

Gina and Hollis -- two of the more well-spoken women throughout the competition -- completely flubbed the interview.  Hollis dominated when she explained their platform of the importance of mother/daughter communication but then stumbled for an answer to Jack's follow-up.  Unsure how to answer the question, she said they'd donate 10% of their winnings because that's what they were "taught in church."

Moya and Jenileigh were clearly the stars of the interview portion of the pageant, with both taking time to explain their platform of "if you dream it, you can achieve it."  After previously explaining in the competition that they have "no home" and would use the $100,000 to get their lives back on track, Moya and Jenileigh sealed their victory with their answer to the follow-up.

"When we first started this competition, we've had so much heartbreak in our life and we were in it for the money," explained Jenileigh.  "But now that I think we've realized it's for the title, I think we'd be willing to donate it all to help others."

"I could give it all away," added Moya.  "Because I know there's people that -- as dire as our needs are..."

"... other people need it more than us," finished Jenileigh.

Moya and Jenileigh received a perfect 30 for the interview, giving them a total of 113 points.  Mindy and Rachelle finished second with 107 points, while Gina and Hollis finished third with 106.

(Photo credit The CW)


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