• Tuesday , 21 November 2017

Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, is Crowned Miss America 2016

Story, photos by Lou Perri
Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, was crowned Miss America 2016 at the birthplace of the legendary competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for its 95th Anniversary broadcast on the ABC Television Network. Vanessa Williams returned to the Miss America stage after 32 years since her crowning as Miss America 1984 and served as Head Judge. Williams opened the show with a performance of “Oh How the Years Go By.” Williams joined host Chris Harrison, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, music curator Nick Jonas and celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya.

Cantrell is a student of Mercer University. During her year as Miss America, she will serve as spokesperson for Healthy Children, Strong America. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2016, Cantrell won a $50,000 scholarship provided in part by Joseph Ribkoff Inc. and the Miss America Organization to continue her education. For the talent portion of the competition, Cantrell performed the operatic vocal performance of “Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio.” She wowed the pageant audience.
According to the Miss America pageant, Cantrell’s acceptance of the highly-prized crown is just the beginning of a journey that will take her to every corner of the nation during her year of service as Miss America 2016. She will embark on her national speaking tour about her platform, Healthy Children, Strong America, and act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals, is the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization.

First runner-up in the competition was Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts, who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was classical violin, and her personal platform is Pages of Love. Second runner-up honors and a $20,000 scholarship was awarded to Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson. Her talent was original monologue dealing with Alzheimer;s disease. , and her personal platform is The Health Initiative PLUS.

The 52 contestants, who represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, participated in preliminary competitions earlier in the week. Miss Tennessee, Hannah Robison, was the winner of “America’s Choice,” an online competition where viewers were given the first time opportunity to vote for their favorite Miss America contestant entirely on social media. The winner of “America’s Choice” advanced to the Top 15 in the competition.

The fifteen finalists in the Miss America pageant and included Miss Virginia, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Florida, Miss South Carolina, Miss West Viginia, Miss Iowa, Miss Tennessee, Miss Alabama, Miss Colorado, Miss Louisiana, Miss Texas, Miss Nebraska, Miss Georgia, the ultimate winner, Miss Mississippi, and Miss Arkansas.

The 15 finalists in the Miss America pageant and included Miss Virginia, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Florida, Miss South Carolina, Miss West Virginia, Miss Iowa, Miss Tennessee, Miss Alabama, Miss Colorado, Miss Louisiana, Miss Texas, Miss Nebraska, Miss Georgia, the ultimate winner, Miss Mississippi, and Miss Arkansas.

Miss George, Betty Cantrell, gets ready to be introduced to her audience.

Miss George, Betty Cantrell, gets ready to be introduced to her audience.

Runners-up smile on stage.

Runners-up smile on stage.

Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, is crowned by outgoing Miss America.

Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, is crowned by outgoing Miss America with her roses waiting.

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Miss America 2015, Kira Kasantsey, prepares to take her final walk along the runway.

Miss America 2015, Kira Kasantsey, prepares to take her final walk along the runway.

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Betty Cantrell anwsers a question about deflated footballs, and she noted that she'd have to feel the balls to determine if the quarterback did cheat.

Betty Cantrell answers a question about deflated footballs, and she noted that she’d have to feel the balls to determine if the quarterback did cheat.

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The judges table where Miss Williams was Hed Judge

The judges table where Miss Williams was Head Judge.

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Behind the scenes and during commercials.

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Miss Williams joined Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell, who apologized to her on behalf of today's organization for the 1984 event.

Miss Williams joined Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell, who apologized to her on behalf of today’s organization for the 1984 event.

Miss William's mother alo was in the audience and Haskell apologized to her also.

Miss William’s mother was also in the audience and Haskell apologized to her as well.

Miss Williams returned to the Miss America stage after 32 years since her crowning as Miss America 1984 and served as Head Judge.

Miss Williams returned to the Miss America stage after 32 years since her crowning as Miss America 1984 and served as Head Judge.

Back-up singers joined Miss Williams in her rendition.

Back-up singers joined Miss Williams in her rendition.

Vanessa . Williams opened the show with a performance of "Oh How the Years Go By."

Vanessa Williams opened the show with a performance of “Oh How the Years Go By.”

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