Kira Kazantsev's talent-segment singing performance with a red cup means more for the future of the Miss America pageant than critics on social media realize ["Hofstra's surprise star," News, Sept. 16]. The backlash is unfortunate for its shortsightedness and flippant disregard of the greater societal issues at play.
Pageant competitors and the public, as demonstrated by the recent Twitter uproar, apparently believe talent must involve flamboyant showmanship. How could something other than piano, violin, ballet or juggling lessons result in real talent? Evidently, one is only talented when taught by a pricey professional.
But Kazantsev's down-to-earth percussive rendition demonstrates that true skill does not depend on one's wallet. Even a first-generation Russian-American can be Miss America.
As a recent Hofstra Honors College graduate, I hope to meet Kazantsev and thank her for her unconventional approach.
Ian Poulos, Roslyn Heights