Manchester resident wins swimsuit competition at Miss America pageant
By Associated Press
Sep 08, 2016 | 1:00 PM
|ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.
Miss Maryland and Miss Arkansas won preliminary contests Wednesday in the second night of the Miss America pageant.
Miss Maryland Hannah Brewer, of Manchester, won the swimsuit competition, while Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields won the talent portion by jazz dancing to "They Just Keep Moving the Line," a song from the former TV show "Smash."
It was the second of three nights of preliminary competition at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. The new Miss America will be crowned during Sunday night's nationally televised finale.
Here are some highlights from Wednesday night:
"We were just whispering to each other that it's so unreal," Shields told reporters afterward. "Every girl here is so talented."
Shields said she thinks she made a connection with the judges during her dance performance to the "Smash" song — a television show about a Broadway production that was canceled after two seasons, leaving many fans, including her, in mourning.
"One of my favorite things about dance is connecting with the audience," she said. "Hopefully we got to tell our story a bit."
As far as "Smash," Shields still has the soundtrack in her car.
With 52 women vying for the crown, finding a way to stand out from the crowd is imperative, and contestants traditionally incorporate their home state into a humorous introduction of themselves.
Miss New Jersey Brenna Weick sang "Someone Like You" from" Jekyll & Hyde, Miss Minnesota Madeline Van Ert sang and played the piano on "What a Wonderful World," and Miss New Mexico Stephanie Chavez went all-Jersey with a version of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life."
Supporting the military, helping children and seniors figured prominently in the onstage interviews some of the contestants gave.
Miss Nebraska Aleah Peters spoke of combating cyberbullying by thinking twice before reposting something potentially hurtful to someone.
"We need to become aware of what's happening to that person behind the screen who's hurting every time we share that cruel content," she said.
Miss Iowa Kelly Koch spoke of her group Pinky Swear that raises money for the families of kids with cancer.