The last time someone from the state of New York won the title of Miss America was Vanessa Williams in 1984. Nearly 30 years later Brooklynite Mallory Hytes Hagan captured the crown Saturday night for the Empire State . Hagan wowed the audience and judges during the “make it or break it” question and answer session. Her question was the most controversial relating to the recent Sandy Hook shooting. Residents in Tampa Bay witnessed one of their own in the pageant hailing from St. Petersburg. Miss Florida’s Laura McKeeman was a semifinalist in the swimsuit competition.
Tampa Bay subscribers of Bright House Networks watched the 92nd Miss America pageant on ABC’s WFTS, channel 11. Hailing from Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino the live telecast featured the swimsuit or lifestyle and fitness. Miss Montana, Alex Wineman, has been featured prominently in the media as the first contestant to be diagnosed with autism. Her inspirational story was showcased frequently prior to the broadcast. Wineman was selected as the first semifinalist in a special online voting of “America’s Choice.” She was later joined by Miss Florida and 13 other contestants:
Miss Texas Danae Couch
Miss Utah Kara Arnold
Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton
Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden
Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers
Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson
Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan
Miss Maryland Joanna Guy
Miss Illinois Megan Ervin
Miss Indiana Merriebeth Cox
Miss New York Mallory Hytes Hagan
Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt
Miss Iowa Mariah Cary
For the first time in the pageant’s history a special judge’s choice was added. Miss Washington Mandy Schendel was their favorite. Now 16 remained out of the initial 53 contestants, which included Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. In the evening gown competition, 12 were then selected. Later on they would compete in the ever popular talent segment. However, only 10 ended up performing.
Highlights of the talent included Miss Oklahoma’s non-stop spinning and high-stepping tap dance to Michael Buble’s version of the Beatles hit “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Miss New York and Miss Iowa were also tapping their way to the finals. Miss Wyoming performed a lovely original composition on the piano. Miss South Carolina also played the piano of a Jackson 5 song. Needless to say some of the vocal performances were less than stellar.
The dreaded questions from the judges saw the five finalists handle themselves well under immense pressure. It was the judge Sam Champion of “Good Morning America” who asked Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, the following question about gun control, and a proposal to have an armed guard in every school. "Do you think that would make our schools safer?" Her response was "I actually don't, I don't think the proper way to fight violence is with violence." However, she urged education about guns. In the end it was a very shocked Miss New York who heard her name being called out. Here are the results of the final five:
Fourth runner-up: Miss Iowa Mariah Cary
Third runner-up: Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden
Second runner-up: Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton
Runner-up: Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers
Miss America: Miss New York Mallory Hytes Hagan t