Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell wins Miss America pageant

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell wins Miss America pageant

Newly crowned Miss America Betty Cantrell, left, stands with musician and actor Vanessa Williams at the 2016 Miss America pageant, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell is the brand new Miss America, but her crowning moment was nearly overshadowed by means of a three-decade old pageant scandal, and also a still-raw debate over whether the reigning champions of the NFL cheated on their method to a Super Bowl victory.

A preliminary competition was won by her earlier in the week, additionally with an opera performance.

“I am still so overwhelmed, I actually 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 really make the standard pageant-winner’s frolic in the Atlantic City surf on Monday.

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 photograph scandal. Pageant executive chairman Sam Haskell apologized to Williams, who served as head judge, on behalf of the pageant.

“I need to apologize for anything that has been said or done,” Haskell told Williams as they stood on the stage and also the crowd bathed her in applause. “Vanessa: Welcome back!”

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

Through the pageant, Cantrell said, “I’m not sure” when asked if Brady cheated. “I’d need to see the ball and feel it” she said, before adding, “If there is any question, then yes, he cheated.”

Asked by The Associated Press to clarify her remarks later, Cantrell said, “It was kind of a funky question to ask me if Tom Brady cheated. I am not a football player and that I really was not there to feel that ball. If there is any question regarding whether he cheated and somebody else felt the ball and determined that it had been deflated, then yes, I suppose he did cheat.”

The 1st runner-up was Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts, who brought in a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was classical violin. Scholarship.

Miss Georgia’s win ended New York’s dominance in the Miss America pageant. Kira Kazantsev, this past year’s Miss America, was the third consecutive Miss New York.

“I can not 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 contest in interviews gift, evening wear and swimsuit contest ran through Thursday.

Most of the shoes had designs specific to the contestant’s home states. New Jersey, for example, had dice and Monopoly money on her shoes to the pageant’s Atlantic City history.

The U.S. Virgin islands, which competed last year, couldn’t field the required minimum amount of entrants this year, pageant officials said. It’s not ineligible for future competitions.