Crowning of Miss America

Emily McGinty

On September 15, a new Miss America was crowned. Nina Davuluri’s journey to the title, however, started almost a year ago.

Photo Provided by AP
Photo Provided by AP

To better understand pageants, there are two televised beauty pageants: Miss USA and Miss America. There are other pageant systems that are international such as International Junior Miss, Miss Collegiate and National American Miss. Each system has its own areas of competition such as interview, talent, personal introduction and swimsuit. In any pageant system, one thing is true to all: it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.The Miss America Organization has three levels of competition. The first is a local title, which are given throughout the state. For this competition, girls vying for a title must fill out an application, which includes answers to a few questions as well as a detailed description of their platform. A platform is a contestant’s personal charity or organization that they will support throughout her year.

Before competing, all contestants must raise at least one hundred dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network. Before the pageant starts, all of the contestants go through a panel style interview in which the questions could range from platform, personal opinions or current events. When the pageant starts, the contestants perform a dance number and then answer an on stage question relating to their platform. Next, there is a talent competition in which each girl has a minute and a half to show their talent. Talents can range from tap dancing to opera. Then there is the swimsuit portion, which is also known as the lifestyle and fitness competition. Girls are judged on how well they stay healthy and fit. The last portion is the formal wear competition, in which the contestants can wear whatever style of dress they desire. These local title-holders then go on to compete in the statewide pageant. The state pageant has the same competition areas. The winner of the state pageant then goes on to compete for Miss America.

This year was especially exciting because Miss America went back to its birthplace, Atlantic City, New Jersey. This level of competition can be very rigorous. Girls arrive two weeks before the final pageant to start competing. During these weeks videos are filmed to be aired during the final pageant, appearances are made and preliminary competitions occur. Then on the day before the final pageant the Show Us Your Shoes parade takes place. During this event, each contestant gets to wear an outfit and pair of shoes that shows off their state or story. Some of the standouts this year were Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas clad in her military uniform and boots. Miss Missouri who brought Kate Middleton to Cardinal Nation, a bright red Cardinals cape and a feathered hat, and Miss Idaho, who wore a potato sack to represent her home state. After this event the current queens were around the boardwalk to take pictures and sign tons of autographs.

The final pageant was held on Sunday night, everyone was dressed to the nines and there was no shortage of crowns and banners. Titleholders from all over the country, from all different systems, came to cheer on their favorites. The show started with a tribute to families of fallen service men. Then the top 18 girls are called, 17 of these girls are chosen by their performance in the preliminary competitions and one was chosen by America. This years America’s choice was Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas, who is a current member of the U.S. Army. Another unbelievable event was when Miss Florida was called to top 18; she tore her ACL earlier in the week, and would have to compete again in all the events. The top 18 then competed in swimwear, which was all from the Miss America line by Catalina. After the swimsuit competition Miss Arkansas, Miss Kentucky and Miss Mississippi were eliminated.

Then the girls competed in formal wear; Miss Missouri and Miss Wisconsin were eliminated. The next round was talent. This year there was a Bollywood dance, an opera, baton twirling, pointe ballet and Miss Connecticut’s Irish step dance that got a standing ovation. However, Miss Connecticut’s collective score was not high enough and she was eliminated along with Miss Texas, Miss Maryland, Miss Kansas and Miss Georgia.

The final portion of the competition was on stage questioning. The questions started with the first relating to Miley Cyrus’ twerking video and another discussing Syria. Miss Florida was cut off because of the time limit, causing the entire audience to react by booing the hosts, and yelling very angry comments. However, once the audience calmed down, the crowning started.

The top five girls included three of the five Asian-Americans competing, Miss Florida, who had competed the entire evening barefoot with a sparkly knee brace, and Miss Oklahoma who was a huge crowd favorite. However, the night ended with Nina Davuluri being crowned Miss America. She started out as Miss Syracuse, Miss New York, and made it to Miss America.

Davuluri’s platform is Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competence, which many believe is much needed after the reaction to her winning. This is the second year in a row New York has held the title of Miss America.

If you are interested in competing for a local title, Miss New Haven and Miss University of New Haven is being held Dec. 8, 2013. Contact [email protected] for more details.