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Sunday May 19th, 2019 8:57AM

Final night of prelims Friday in swimsuit-less Miss America

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A contestant in the Miss America pageant says President Trump "has caused a lot of division" in the nation.

Madeline Collins, Miss West Virginia, was asked an onstage question Friday night about what she feels is the most serious issue facing the nation.

She replied "Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces. Unfortunately he has caused a lot of division in our country."

The interview responses were limited to 20 seconds and Collins did not go into additional detail.

The onstage interview has replaced the swimsuit competition in this year's pageant, a change that has created controversy among those who feel the pageant needed to be modernized, and those who feel an integral part of the pageant is being sacrificed.

Her comment came on the third and final night of preliminary competition in the Miss America competition.

The next Miss America will be crowned Sunday night in the nationally televised finale from Atlantic City.

During the first two nights of competition, some of the onstage interview questions have touched on hot button issues, including NFL national anthem protests.

A question on the propriety of those protests helped propel Miss Virginia Emili McPhail to a preliminary win Thursday night.

She told judges players have the right to protest by kneeling, noting that the real issue is police brutality.

In the talent competition, Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway won for a vocal performance, singing "I Believe."

On Wednesday , Miss Florida Taylor Tyson won the talent competition for a piano performance, and Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei won the interview competition for her comments on education.

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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