Swimsuit-less Miss America pageant is under way

Danny Woods
September 10, 2018

The lyrics were very simple, according to her bio on the Miss America website.

On Thursday night, Miss America contestant Emili McPhail, representing Virginia, was asked what she would say to NFL players about whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem as part of the preliminary round for the 2019 Miss America Competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei, came in as runner-up for the event, and she received $25,000 in college scholarships.

When asked on Friday, the final night of the preliminary competition, what she believed was the most serious issue facing the nation, Madeline Collins, Miss West Virginia, name-checked the leader of the free world. While receiving her crown, she said, "It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I want to thank my family, my mom and dad, who is a survivor of cancer".

Franklin, 24, wowed judges when she performed an opera song during the talent portion of the competition. She moved to NY after being accepted at the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan. She then crowned Franklin, who took the traditional first walk in a white gown.

Following the competition, McPhail added: "I said standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you can do, and that's what I did". It went "Love, love, love, love, is the only thing that matters to me, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey".

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She said she plans to advocate for the arts during her tenure as Miss America. Hosts Ross Matthews and Carrie Ann Inaba injected the evening with sass and humor. The pageant's judges included Laila Ali, Bobby Jones, Jessie James Decker, Randy Jackson, Soledad O'Brien, Alli Webb, and Carnie Wilson.

The Miss America organization, which was recently renamed Miss America 2.0, has faced considerable controversy in the past year.

In December, former CEO Sam Haskell resigned after emails in which he insulted the appearance, intellect and personal lives of former pageant winners were leaked.

23 former Miss Americas are now calling for Carlson and the Miss America organization board of trustees and CEO to step down.

Mund made a special appearance during this year's pageant and shared a special message, though she did not acknowledge her previous allegations of silencing and bullying.

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