On Sunday evening, more than 50 of our nation’s finest and fittest — including one woman who claimed to have literally woken a man from a catatonic state using the power of her voice, and who are we to doubt her? — converged in Atlantic City for an annual salute to swimsuits, sequins and Chris Harrison.
Miss America contestants have a well-documented history of going the damn distance in these competitions, but I feel like the ladies really brought it this year. Like, I know I wasn’t the only viewer who completely lost my faculties when Katie Schreckengast (Miss Pennsylvania) whipped out a saxophone and crushed Beyoncé’s “Listen.”
Or when Jessica Procter (Miss Alabama) dared to perform the Katharine McPhee version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” bringing to mind Savvy Shields’ rendition of Smash‘s “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from last year’s competition? Or when Suzi Roberts (Miss South Carolina) claimed to know “everything about aliens”? Or when ventriloquist Laryssa Bonacquisti (Miss Louisiana) convinced us all that there’s a spirit lurking within every puppet?
I’m telling you, this was an objectively crazy night.
The lunacy spilled over into the question-and-answer portion, during which Miss Louisiana called rompers “overrated,” Kaitlyn Schoeffel (Miss New Jersey) revealed that a man’s sexiest quality is — gasp! — intelligence, and Miss Alabama admitted that she doesn’t believe you can find love on The Bachelorette. (On second thought, considering she said it directly to Harrison’s face, that last answer was actually kind of badass.)
But the evening wasn’t all about gowns and gams; multiple segments of the ceremony were dedicated to the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, with viewers being urged to donate to the Red Cross however possible.
“I’m just so worried about everyone there, but I’m so happy that some of my friends and family are here now and are safe,” Sara Zeng (Miss Florida) said during one of her interviews. She also spoke of the resilience of the people of her home state, insisting, “We can get through anything together.”
In the end, it was Cara Mund (Miss North Dakota) who went home as the new Miss America, with Jennifer Davis (Miss Missouri) serving as her runner-up.
Your thoughts on the new Miss America, or any of this year’s insane talent performances? Drop ’em in a comment below.