For the first time in Miss America's nearly 100-year history, contestants didn't have to worry about using glue to keep their swimsuit bottoms from exposing too much of their rear ends. No need to stuff swimsuit cups, either, or worry about having a full-body spray tan.
The contestants – um, we're supposed to call them competitors now – all got to keep their clothes on the whole time and the competition wasn't ruined.
This shouldn't be a big deal, but for an annual tradition that got its start in 1921 as a bathing-beauty contest designed to extend the summer season past Labor Day weekend, it was.
Earlier this year, the new Miss America chairwoman, Gretchen Carlson, declared that in the spirit of #MeToo the competition would eliminate the most controversial aspect. Traditionalists upset about the change predicted that the newly revamped Miss America 2.0 would die like a beached jellyfish without the usual nearly naked walk down the runway.
But you know what? It didn't hurt the program itself. I watched along with some of my social-media buddies and the competition was almost over before some of us even remembered that there even used to be a swimsuit competition.
"I didn't miss the swimsuit competition at all," one of them wrote on Facebook. "Frankly, it always made me feel less than 'ideal.' "
Looking back, it was never my favorite part of the competition either. It made no sense because you can't judge fitness merely by looking at a bunch of lovelies parading around in skimpy swimsuits and high heels.
It was all so anachronistic and unnecessary. I remember once sitting next to the stage in Atlantic City and feeling a little sorry for all the young women parading past, smiling really hard when I know that inside a lot of them were really self-conscious.
I competed in a few local pageants myself as a young woman and let me tell you, you need nerves of steel for knees not to shake as you stand before a row of eagle-eyed judges like that.
If officials really had been serious about wanting to judge contestants on their fitness, they should have staged a mini-triathlon or some other athletic event. But Miss America was never truly about that. Judging "fitness" – wink, wink — was just cover for when critics yelled sexism and exploitation.
I know times are hard, but no woman should feel she has to disrobe to win scholarship money.
Sunday's winner, Nia Franklin, was relieved to have avoided all of that.
"I'm happy that I didn't have to do so to win this title tonight because I'm more than just that," she told the Associated Press. "And all these women onstage are more than just that."
Elwood P. Watson, coauthor of There She Is, Miss America: The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America's Most Famous Pageant, said the competition seriously considered scrapping the swimsuits in the mid-1990s.
"They were talking about that even then," said Watson, who's also a professor at East Tennessee State University. "The swimsuit competition has always been the most controversial part of the pageant. There've always been debates about whether to keep it or get rid of it. This was not the first time that it came up."
But it looks for now as if Carlson's bold decision has settled the issue.
And you know what?