Thursday September 23rd, 2021 7:10AM

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell wins Miss America pageant

By Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell is the new Miss America, but her crowning moment was nearly overshadowed by a three-decade old pageant scandal, and a still-raw debate over whether the NFL's reigning champions cheated on their way to a Super Bowl victory.

Cantrell rode an opera performance of ``Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio'' from ``Madame Butterfly'' to the title in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sunday night, besting 51 other competitors in the nationally televised pageant. She won a preliminary competition earlier in the week, also with an opera performance.

``I'm still so overwhelmed, I don't know what to say other than thank you! `` Cantrell told reporters moments after being crowned Miss America.

She won a $50,000 scholarship along with her title.

Cantrell is due to make the traditional pageant-winner's frolic in the Atlantic City surf on Monday morning.

The pageant also marked the return of Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams, who was back for the first time after resigning the crown in 1984 following a nude photo scandal. Pageant executive chairman Sam Haskell apologized to Williams, who served as head judge, on behalf of the pageant.

``I want to apologize for anything that was said or done,'' Haskell told Williams as they stood on the stage and the audience bathed her in applause. ``Vanessa: Welcome back!''

Cantrell was asked during the question and answer portion of the pageant whether New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady cheated en route to his team's run to a Super Bowl title last season by using footballs that were improperly deflated. A league-imposed four-game suspension of Brady was recently overturned by a federal judge.

During the pageant, Cantrell said, ``I'm not sure'' when asked if Brady cheated. ``I'd have to see the ball and feel it'' she said, before adding, ``If there's any question, then yes, he cheated.''

Asked by The Associated Press to clarify her remarks afterward, Cantrell said, ``It was kind of a funky question to ask me if Tom Brady cheated. I'm not a football player and I really wasn't there to feel that ball. If there was any question as to whether or not he cheated and somebody else felt the ball and decided that it was deflated, then yes, I guess he did cheat.''

The 1st runner-up was Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts, who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was classical violin. The 2nd runner up was Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, who performed an original monologue and won a $20,000. Scholarship.

Miss Georgia's win ended New York's dominance at the Miss America pageant. Last year's Miss America, Kira Kazantsev, was the third consecutive Miss New York to win the title.

``I can't believe it's been a year since I was backstage getting ready to compete, just as the contestants are right now,'' Kazantsev said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Boardwalk Hall. ``

Preliminary competition in talent, interviews, evening wear and swimsuit competition ran through Thursday.

On Saturday, the Miss America contestants hit the Atlantic City Boardwalk for the annual ``Show Us Your Shoes'' parade.

Most of the shoes had designs specific to the contestant's home states. New Jersey, for instance, had dice and Monopoly money on her shoes in a nod to the pageant's Atlantic City history. Miss Idaho had a potato.

Contestants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were vying for the crown. The U.S. Virgin islands, which competed last year, could not field the required minimum number of entrants this year, pageant officials said. It is eligible for future competitions.


  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Entertainment
  • Associated Tags: Miss America 2016, Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Delivery driver alerts of Lawrenceville house fire
Gwinnett County fire crews responded to a house fire in Lawrenceville Thursday afternoon after being alerted by a pizza delivery driver.
7:38PM ( 4 years ago )
Gilmer County announces arrests in Monday murder
Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson has announced the arrest of three men in connection with the shooting death of Andrew Abernathy on Monday night.
7:15PM ( 4 years ago )
Elderly man struck by vehicle on 441 at Banks Crossing
The Georgia State Patrol reports an elderly man suffered minor injuries while attempting to cross Georgia Highway 15 (U.S. 441) at Banks Crossing about 5 p.m. Thursday.
6:50PM ( 4 years ago )
Local/State News
THE LATEST: Bama playing for 10th championship, after beating Michigan St 38-0 in semifinal
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The latest developments from the College Football Playoff national semifinal game between Alabama and Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl (all times local):10:40 p.m.Alabama is g...
11:53PM ( 4 years ago )
Sooners, Mayfield shut out in 2nd half and lose to Clemson 37-17 in Orange Bowl semifinal game
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Sooners were fooled by a fake punt and stuffed on fourth down when they tried some trickery of their own.And in the second half, Clemson was simply the stronger...
11:42PM ( 4 years ago )
No more Clemsoning: Watson, stout defense lead Tigers past Oklahoma 37-17 in Orange Bowl
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Dabo Swinney was in no mood to talk about Clemsoning."Next question," the coach snapped.No problem.It's time to put that term to rest.Clemson, a team once known for such ine...
11:42PM ( 4 years ago )
Associated Press (AP)
State Department says hundreds of Hillary Clinton emails have been newly classified
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Thursday that portions of 275 emails released on New Year's Eve from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state have been newly classified, bringing 2015...
9:31PM ( 4 years ago )
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday.1. WHERE'S THE PARTY?Crowds pack New York's Times Square before the midnight New Year's ball dro...
9:26PM ( 4 years ago )
Star TCU QB Trevone Boykin charged with felony assault of officer, suspended for Alamo Bowl
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Trevone Boykin's brilliant college career has come to an abrupt and inglorious end even though TCU has one game left to play this season.Boykin was arrested early Thursday and charg...
9:12PM ( 4 years ago )
AP National News
Aide to 98-year-old renowned architect I.M. Pei charged with assaulting him inside his home
NEW YORK (AP) — A home health aide to 98-year-old renowned architect I.M. Pei has been charged with assaulting him inside his New York City home.Pei told police that 28-year-old Eter Nikolaishvili gra...
8:51PM ( 4 years ago )
George Lucas apologizes for saying he sold 'Star Wars' characters to 'white slavers' at Disney
LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Lucas has apologized for criticizing Disney's handling of "Star Wars" and saying he had sold his characters to "white slavers" in a recent interview with Charlie Rose.In a st...
6:06PM ( 4 years ago )
'Jurassic World,' 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' lead top 10 movies of 2015
Dinosaurs, Jedi and superheroes dominated the 2015 box office year, now the highest ever recorded, with over $11 billion in ticket sales. The top 10 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters through Dec....
3:22PM ( 4 years ago )
AP Entertainment
Four Georgia U.S. House races, including North Georgia's 9th, already getting expensive
Candidates in Georgia's four most competitive congressional races are raising and spending millions as they look toward June 9 primaries or November general elections.
By Associated Press
8:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
Hall County government officials to meet remotely next week, citizens can still participate
When Georgia's shelter-in-place order began earlier this month, Hall County Government meetings were canceled, but next week county officials plan to hold public meetings remotely.
By AccessWDUN Staff
7:30AM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump consults faith leaders on phased-in reopening
President Donald Trump is bringing faith leaders into a discussion about a phased-in return to broader in-person worship after weeks of religious services largely shifting online in response to the coronavirus pandemic
8:34PM ( 14 hours ago )
U.S. Ag. Secretary lays out new agriculture assistance program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Friday a new program designed to assist the country's farmers, ranchers and consumers.
7:40PM ( 15 hours ago )
Demorest mayor speaks out on city manager’s firing of police chief
Demorest City Clerk/Manager Kim Simonds terminated the employment of Police Chief Robin Krockum Thursday afternoon, and that has Mayor Rick Austin angry.
1:45PM ( 21 hours ago )