In truth, I see I really did skirt the issue with my responses, didn't I; it in fact was fairly well outlined in the OP's post. I apologize for that. However, I shall try again!
So, one of the OP's questions was,
"...But rather do you think it was fair to her to be judged on the political content of the question".
Let's suppose the answer is no, we shouldn't. The contestants should only be asked, "Which color do you like better, red or green?". So then, by what criteria do we decide anything?
This is an era where right and wrong have little meaning; there are just opinions, agendas, and assemblies of people where "might makes right". Every kid gets a ribbon for participating, and psychologists tell patients that their feelings are important and worthy of discussion, when in fact they're just manipulative, spoiled brats that somehow feel victimized by life.
My point? With any topic, there is a truth, a path to righteousness, but not every vantage point necessarily takes you there. At some point you draw a line, you create a standard.
Since I (hopefully!) stayed on topic a bit better with this particular post, let me use my previous example; let's say that the question posed to the contestant was, "Do you believe child molestation to be an illegal act?" And the contestant rambled on about how she was from a particular region where blah blah and this and that, and no, she did not feel that it should be viewed as illegal. Well, then, I'm pretty sure the next morning, the question posted to the board isn't about whether or not this sort of question should be asked, it's, "OMG, CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT SHE SAID?!?!?!". And rightfully so! No one would want this person to be emblematic of society, in any capacity. Why? because we've created a certain ethical standard regarding such behavior, and most all would find her in violation of it. Why would that be a secret she should be allowed to harbor?
It's almost ironic that the question posed to her is seen as controversial, because to many, her view is not out of the norm. I dare say it is the norm. Is it polarizing, however? Yes. Another judge, another day, and she would have been praised for her answer and declared the winner. Such is life. But at least <those in the sphere that care about pageants and such> would know who and what they were dealing with, and not just a bunch of worthless fluff.
And if the real issue is about the content of the question, then; to deem an issue too taboo to address in public discourse - whether in a pageant or wherever - does a severe disservice to those who have no choice but to deal with it every day of their lives.
Hope I stayed on topic. I tried my best, though I admit I tend to ramble and wander.