Edward Lea/The Press of Atlantic City through AP
Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017|6:10 a.m.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.– The next Miss America will soon be crowned, simply as a fatal cyclone knocks into Florida and not long after another one flooded Texas.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been a background to the Miss America preliminary competition today, with candidates from storm-tossed or threatened states sending out messages of support and promises of prayers to those in damage’s way.
Contestants from Texas and Florida have each won a preliminary competition leading into Sunday’s nationally televised ending.
Miss Texas Margana Wood provided a shout-out to her flooded hometown, Houston; she won Wednesday night’s swimwear initial.
Miss Florida Sara Zeng won Friday’s swimsuit prelim, and guaranteed she’ll become part of the post-Irma clean-up and recovery effort, whether as Miss America or not.
It’s an open question how many individuals in pageant-obsessed parts of the nation will even be able to enjoy the finale on TV, with thousands displaced in Texas and close by, and a huge evacuation having actually been ordered for Florida; power blackouts already had started by Saturday night.
The 97th Miss America competition will occur at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, where it stemmed as a way to extend summer season tourist to the weekend after Labor Day.
The 51 candidates– one from each state plus the District of Columbia– will be vying to succeed the outgoing Miss America Savvy Shields, who won the title last September as Miss Arkansas.
Miss Louisiana Laryssa Bonacquisti was off to a great start heading into the home stretch: She won swimsuit and talent preliminaries on succeeding nights Thursday and Friday.
There’s one big modification to this year’s ending. Entrants nearing the finish line will face a second round of onstage questioning as judges narrow the field. Sam Haskell, executive chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization, stated the 2nd round of onstage interviews is designed to highlight more about the candidates.
The finale will be transmitted live on ABC beginning at 6 p.m. PDT.
Before that, in an event that TELEVISION audiences will not see, 12 Gold Star moms will be honored onstage as honorary Miss Americas for life, and will discuss their sons who were killed while serving in the military.