With several outdated portions now distant memories, the 92nd Miss America competition crowned a new winner on Sunday in a two-hour parade of pumps, performances and (gasp!) pantsuits.
As previously mentioned, Sunday’s telecast introduced several “groundbreaking” changes into the competition: Not only were the contestants no longer judged by their appearances in swimsuits, but the traditional “evening gown” portion was also replaced with an invitation for the women to express themselves in a style of their choosing. Per a statement from the organization, these changes were implemented to help each contestant “highlight her achievements and goals in life, and how she will use her talents, passion and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”
This year’s judges included boxer Laila Ali, radio host (and frequent American Idol guest) Bobby Bones, music producer (and former American Idol judge) Randy Jackson, reality star Jessie James Decker, journalist Soledad O’Brien, podcaster Alli Webb and musician Carnie Wilson. The ceremony was co-hosted by Dancing With the Star‘s Carrie Ann Inaba and Celebrity Big Brother‘s Ross Mathews.
One of the competition’s standout moments came early in the evening when Miss Michigan Emily Sioma used her platform to remind viewers about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich. Upon taking the stage to introduce herself, Sioma said, “From a state with 84 percent of the U.S. fresh water, but none for its residents to drink, I’m Miss Michigan Emily Sioma!”
The final five contestants — Nia Franklin (New York), Holli Conway (Louisiana), Gabriela Taveras (Massachusetts), Taylor Tyson (Florida), Bridget Oei (Connecticut) — faced a variety of inquiries from the judges, ranging from softball questions (“How has being from New York prepared you for this competition?”) to much more complicated ones (“What would you say to a man who doesn’t want to father his own child?”). It wasn’t exactly fair, but hey, neither is life.
After the final commercial break, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund took the stage to pass the
torch crown to her successor: New York’s Nia Franklin! (Connecticut’s Bridget Oei nabbed the title of first runner-up.)
Your thoughts on this year’s winner? The “new “Miss America competition? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.