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Anyone who’s seen “Miss Congeniality” knows that Miss America is more than just a beauty pageant. In the words of Agent Gracie Hart, “These women are smart, terrific people who are just trying to make a difference in the world.”
(Also, the perfect date is April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket!)
Fifty-two contestants competed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to win the title of Miss America 2017. The competition aired on Sunday night, and while there can only be one Miss America, there were more than a few memorable moments. Here were some of our favorites from this year’s pageant.
Gabby Douglas wins best dressed, according to us. Hi, Gabby! We missed you! The Olympic gymnast, hot off her return from Rio, is no stranger to representing America — so it was only fitting that she help decide who should wear the crown. Douglas stunned in a metallic pink gown, and she served up some perfect reaction faces from behind the judges' table. And when Miss California performed a gymnastics routine for her talent, Gabbs was totally gracious.
Chris Harrison mansplains the swimsuit round. Oh, Chris Harrison. Host of hosts. We appreciate you and your preternaturally suave … suaveness. Thank you for schooling us on the fact that the swimsuit competition is a celebration of “lifestyle and fitness” and therefore thoroughly non-objectifying and, in fact, utterly modern. We are nodding the same way we nod when you tell us every “Bachelorette” finale will be “the most dramatic finale ever.” Stay suave, Chris.
Miss Arkansas will wear black at her wedding. Savvy Shields, the dimple-cheeked Miss Arkansas who would later be crowned Miss America, stunned in a floor-length black gown during the evening wear round. She loved her look so much that she announced that she wanted to get married in it. Unorthodox? Perhaps. But we love a gal who's not afraid to bend the status quo (and so do the judges, apparently).
Baton twirling is actually mesmerizing. We see you, Miss Texas.
And so is Miss South Carolina’s hair. We didn't know that was possible above the Mason-Dixon line.
Miss Arkansas shares surprising career aspirations. She’s been crowned Miss America, but Miss Arkansas confessed a secret dream during the talent round: She wants to be a backup dancer for Beyoncé. This reporter finds this concerning. Girlfriend, you are no backup. Dream big. Be Beyoncé.
P.S. It’s September 11th. And things were accordingly solemn when appropriate. Outgoing Miss America Betty Cantrell performed a heartfelt rendition of Katy Perry’s “Rise.” Former contestants reminisced on the decision to hold the pageant just days after the 2001 tragedy, the first national event in its wake. The pride was palpable. God bless (Miss) America.
Election years mean loaded interview questions. Miss America interviews are known for being generic and PC — but this year’s heavily political Q&A, which asked several contestants their views on specific candidates, brought the heat! The contestants never broke their gleaming smiles, but if you dream of one day competing in Miss America, maybe do it on an odd year.
But the hardest part will always be the walk. Miss Kentucky wore 7-inch heels during the evening wear round. Talk about grace — and we bet her feet were on fire!
Congratulations to all the contestants — and please send us your hair-teasing tips!