Finally, the night of the 2015 Miss America Competition is here and the world will get to find out who will be named Miss America 2015! The show was broadcast live from Boardwalk Hall in beautiful Atlantic City, New Jersey, on ABC. We will learn who the top 15 finalists are, then the top 10 and finally the world will get to know who the top five are. The preliminary rounds, earlier in the week, counted 30 percent in determining who the final 15 would be, so it is likely that those winners will be among the top 15 who will get to move on. But, which one of the 15 will get to be named Miss America 2015? Read on, to find out!
The co-hosts of Sunday’s 2015 Miss America Competition were Lara Spencer, of Good Morning America and Chris Harrison, who hosts The Bachelor. Miss Congeniality was named during the Countdown to Miss America show and it went to Miss North Dakota. The judges making up the panel were former Miss America, Lee Meriwether; televison writer and producer Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives; Olympic Gold Medal winner Shawn Johnson;General Anne McDonald; designer and model Kathy Ireland; writer Gary Vaynerchuk; and NFL Super Bowl Champion Donald Driver.
The preliminary rounds were held Tuesday, September 9 through Thursday, September 11. The winners on Tuesday were Miss Florida Victoria Cowen, who was the winner of the Fitness and Lifestyle portion of the competition. Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart won the Talent portion for her ventriloquism act with her dummy singing the song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
The following night, Wednesday, September 10, Miss Oklahoma Alex Keppler was the winner of the Fitness and Lifestyle part of the evening. The Talent part was won by Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter, who gave a virtuoso performance on the fiddle.
On Thursday, Miss Maryland Jade Kenney was named the winner of the Fitness and Lifestyle portion of the evening. Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Fallon Smith was the winner of the Talent portion of the competition singing the Phantom of the Opera song, Wish You Were Somehow Here Again.
The 2015 Miss America Competition opened with Chris Harrison saying “Atlantic City is really jumping!” Then, we were shown the first group of contestants introducing themselves from the Atlantic City beach. They were all beautiful and it will be difficult for the judges to select the top 15. The next 15 were at the Blackfish Pier, while the Atlantic City Lifeguard station was where the group after that contestants introduced themselves. Then, the next 15 introduced themselves from the Atlantic City Steel Pier. They were on a merry-go-round ride. The contestants that introduced themselves following that were all beautiful, too, representing the winners of each states’ competitions.
All of the contestants then paraded and danced on the stage of Boardwalk Hall. Chris said “In moments we will introduce the fifteen finalists!” Miss America 1014 Nina Davuluri took the stage and she said she was “excited and it’s just incredible!”
America’s choice for a semi-finalist was Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison. She was chosen because of voting on a video she made. The voting was very close, but she was the first semi-finalist of the 15 in all. Pat Pruit handed Chris the names of the other 14 finalists.
The final 15 consisted of Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuen; Miss Tennessee, Hayley Lewis; Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray; Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter; Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev; Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garret; Miss Texas, Monique Evans; Miss Ohio Mackenzie Victoria Bart; Miss Iowa, Aly Olsen; Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell; Miss Arkansas, Ashton Campell; Miss Oklahoma, Alex Keppler; Miss Connecticut, Acacia Courtney; and Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen.
“I have a little surprise for the judges. We are giving you, the judges, the chance to add one more contestant! Put your heads together and see if you can decide on one more before the commercial break is over! The clock is ticking!” Chris said.
The odds are 1 in 38 that one of the rest of the contestants will get to move on. Chris said that there was a heated conversation during the commercial break, but the judges had arrived at a decision. The 16th contestant moving on was Miss North Dakota, Jacky Arness. The remaining contestants got to watch the rest of the show from the stage. Three of them were Instagramers, posting photos and updates on Instagram. The swimsuit competition will be next of the 2015 Miss America Competition.
Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison was up first, in a two-piece pink swimsuit. Then Miss Massachusetts in pink, and Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray! Miss Texas, Monique Evans, was also wearing a pink swimsuit. Miss Tennessee, Hayley Lewis, was in a black two-piece swimsuit, while Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter was wearing a pink one. Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell, was in a lime green two-piece swimsuit. Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart, Miss Virginia, and Courtney Paige Garrett were wearing two-piece pink swimsuits and Miss Florida Victoria Cowen also wore a pink one. Miss New York Kira Kazantsev and Miss Connecticut, Acacia Courtney were also wearing pink swimsuits.
Miss Iowa, Aly Olsen, and Miss Arkansas, Ashton Campbell, had on a two-piece pink swimsuit, as did Miss North Dakota, Jacky Arness, and Miss Oklahoma Alex Eppler. also wore a pink two-pink swimsuit. As the winners of the preliminary swimsuit rounds all wore pink two-piece swimsuits, it was no surprise that most of the 15 semifinalists also wore this same color of swimsuit.
After a commercial break, the first of 12 semifinalists was Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray; she will move on to the Evening Gown competition. Then, Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell was named, and Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen. Then, Miss Iowa, Aly Olson, was named, and Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev. Semifinalist Number six was Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett. One of the rest is Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter. The 8th was Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart. Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler was named next. Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis and Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn. The woman named last was Miss Arkansas, Ashton Campbell!
Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray was the first contestant, wearing a white gown. Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell, had a peach one. Miss Florida Victoria Cowen, had a gold one. Miss Iowa, Aly Olsen, wore a green gown. Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, had on a white gown. Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garret, also had a white gown on. Miss Kentucky Rmsey Carpenter, had on the same color, a popular choice this year, a lovely white gown. Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart also wore a white gown with a plunging neckline. Miss Oklahoma had on a white gown that accentuated her legs. Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis, also had on a white gown. Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn, was, as well, dressed in a white gown. Ditto with Lauren Kuhn, who had a white gown on. Miss Arkansas, Ashton Campbell, wore a chic black evening gown, the only one of the top 10 to wear black as a choice.
Next was the Talent part of the competition. The Talent part counted for 30 percent of the overall score. The first of the final ten was Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray, who will sing Christina Aguilera’s song Something’s Got a Hold on Me. She gave a very soulful presentation of the song, knocking it out of the park! She was quite impressive.
Miss Arkansas was the second contestant to perform. She sang Via Delrosa. It was a soaring song with a Christian religious theme, about Jesus coming down “for you and me.” She got thunderous applause from the audience.
Miss Oklahoma Alex Eppler danced to Titanium. It was a very graceful dance, combining elements of ballet and modern dance. Alex wore a shimmering short golden dress. She owned the stage and also did a fantastic job dancing.
Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn was next, playing on the piano. The audience was so still one could hear a pin drop. Lauren gave an amazing performance, playing a white grand piano.
The next performer was Miss Ohio, who did a ventriloquist act, repeating the performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that won her the preliminary round. She added a lot of humor to the act, and sang it faster and faster. It was pretty astounding, getting the audience to cheer and applaud.
Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen, was the next to perform. She danced to the song Note to God. She also looked like she combined elements of ballet and modern dance. She was awesome and had the audience in the palms of her hands as she danced.
The seventh contestant to perform was Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis, singing I (Who Have Nothing). She began with her back to the audience. She sang very dramatically, her voice soaring to the rafters of Boardwalk Hall. She has a tremendous, very powerful voice. Two contestants will be eliminated and will not move on.
Next to perform was Miss Virginia Courtney Garrett singing an opera song. It was Parla Piu Piano, the Theme to the Godfather movie. She did a great job, also.
Miss New York Kira Kazantsev sang Pharrell’s Happy with cups. She had the audience clapping along with her as she sang. She gave a fantastic rendition of the song.
The final Talent performance was by Miss Alabama. She will be dancing ballet to Let It Go from Frozen. She wore a lime green costume as she performed. It was a pretty incredible and acrobatic performance, including leaps in the air and spinning twirls. The audience cheered and applauded for her. The next part of the competition will be the Interview part and even more contestants will be eliminated.
The judges narrowed the field to five. Each contestant will draw a name of a judge who will ask five a question. The first question went to Miss Arkansas, and Shawn Johnson asked her a question about should there be any limits to children using guns. Miss Arkansas said “absolutely” there should be limits, though she supported the Second Amendment.
Miss Florida Victoria Cowen went next. The question was what did she think about NFL football player Ray Rice’s wife standing by him. She said she did not think he deserved a second chance.
Miss New York Kira Kazantsev’s question was from Lee Meriwether. She mentioned what question should the women in the Congress take and run with in Congress. Kira said sexism and sexual abuse in the military.
The next question went to Miss Virginia, Courtney Garrett. It was about the beheading of the journalists by ISIS and the question was what should America do. She said America should not work alone, but get the help of other countries of the world to end the “horrid” things that were happening. Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn was last. Marc Cherry asked her a question about what must change on college campuses to prevent rape from occurring. She answered it should be talked about more on college campuses, and the issue of drinking too much should be addresses, as well.
Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri walked the red carpet for the last time. She will be handing over her crown to this year’s winner. The five finalists joined the co-hosts on center stage and shared their final thoughts.
Pat Pruit handed Chris the final results. Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn was the fourth runner-up. Miss Florida Victoria Cowen was the third runner-up. Miss Arkansas Ashton Campbell was the second runner-up. With two left, Miss Virgina Courtney Garrett was the first runner-up and the winner, the new Miss America 2015, for the third year in a row, was Miss New York Kira Kazantsev!
Written By Douglas Cobb
Photo Credit: Miss America Organization
Miss America Pressroom