Miss America Betty Cantrell

Miss America 2016: Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell Is First Non-New York Winner In Three Years

There’s a new Miss America, and for the first time in three years, she’s not from New York. Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was crowned Miss America 2016 on Sunday night after competing against 52 women from across the nation.

The pageant was broadcast live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on ABC. Chris Harrison hosted the two-hour event that led up to the final four women who waited anxiously on stage to find out if they would be named Miss America 2016.

New Jersey On-Line live blogged the event right down to the last second when the winner was announced. Before Cantrell’s name was revealed, the runners-up smiled graciously when they found out they didn’t win the title and the crown.

The fourth runner-up was Miss Alabama, Meg McGuffin, followed by third-runner up Miss Louisiana, April Nelson. The second runner-up and winner of a $20,000 scholarship was Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson. Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, passed her crown on to Betty Cantrell as soon the former Miss Georgia was announced on Sunday night.

According to the Bustle, Betty will be awarded a $50,000 scholarship for winning the pageant. She will hold the title for one year and will go on a nationwide speaking tour to promote her platform — Healthy Children, Strong America.

It was an emotional win for Cantrell who seemed to be in shock that she won. According to the Heavy, she stopped at the end of the stage to give her parents a hug.

Cantrell, 21, was one of the top contenders for the Miss America 2016 title with a preliminary win in the talent competition. She impressed the judges when she performed “Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio” from Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.

She hails from Warner Robins, Georgia and is the daughter of two physical therapists. Aside from singing, she revealed in a Facebook post that she loves watching television, especially the Andy Griffith Show.

Betty Cantrell truly impressed the judges on Sunday night — her answers to questions were clear and concise and her voice was amazing. The only slip-up the new Miss America had was a near-fall during the ceremony. During the evening wear segment, she tripped as she was walking on stage in a gorgeous white gown — she continued on with grace and a big smile.

[Image: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images]

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