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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for us pageant affectionados it sure is!
We are on the brink of another Miss America year coming to a close and a new one beginning. 52 hopefuls are en route to begin one of the greatest journeys of their lives – and I am so excited!
I have ALWAYS loved predicting pageants. Whether it was sitting in my family room as a child, ferociously scribbling state names on a paper during intros (no TiVo or rewinding live TV back then!! And no social media to get to know contestants ahead of time!!), or meticulously scrutinizing each state contestant, able to recognize each face and name representing each state that year.
But this year? I land somewhere in the middle of those scenarios.
I am certain my thoughts will change as we see images and hear whispers coming of out Atlantic City the next two weeks. But I love to record my initial thoughts prior to the two weeks leading up to finals.
MY TOP 15 STANDOUTS FROM HEADSHOTS: AK, AZ, IA, KS, LA, MD, MN, MS, NJ, NY, PA, SC, TN, TX, WV.
Without further adeu, here’s my contestant breakdown PRE-AC ARRIVAL of who is standing out and Making her Mark so far!
ALASKA, Kendall Bautista: So beautiful.
CALIFORNIA, Jessa Carmack: Love her. I don’t know what it is, but she has the look to me.
DC, Cierra Jackson: I just love her hair. Just love it!
FLORIDA, Courtney Sexton: Another one who just stands out to me. She has a confident vibe about her.
GEORGIA, Patricia Ford: Back-to-back wins? We know it can be done! If it happened in NY, I would bet double that it could happen here. This gal has the IT factor – a double preliminary winner in a big state, she has a Monica Pang vibe going for sure. I would not doubt we see her make it very, very far, or take the whole thing!
IDAHO, Kylee Sodberg: A former Sweetheart winner, we can expect that she is well-rounded. We also know that isn’t a free ticket to the finals, but if she wins out at a national pageant once…there could be no stopping her.
ILLINOIS, Jaryn Franklin: Really cute girl, and with new leadership, I think Illinois had a tougher competition this year. Could we be seeing the start of a comeback with this state?
IOWA, Kelly Koch: Being from Iowa and having worked with Kelly, I can’t be objective, I just can’t! She’s an amazing dancer and a ball of energy, and I know she’s been working really hard and will have a show-stopping wardrobe. Plus, for a smaller and “non-sash” state, I think Iowa has one of the strongest top fifteen/top ten/top five records over the past nine years. If I count correctly: SIX in nine years made the cut, and TWO of them were top five gals. Plus a whole host of preliminary and non-finalist awards. Just sayin’…. 😉
LOUISIANA, Justine Ker: I have a feeling about her. Can’t put my finger on it yet!
MARYLAND, Hannah Brewer: She looked stunning in her crowning photos, there is definitely a presence with her.
MICHIGAN, Arianna Quan: She just looks smart and talented – that’s good enough for me!
MISSISSIPPI, Laura Lee Lewis: A memorable name and gorgeous features.
MISSOURI, Erin O’Flagherty: She has a story, and everybody loves a good story! I expect she will have a strong support system, and draw in atypical pageant supporters, which makes her a stand out in that respect alone!
NEW JERSEY, Brenna Wick: Can I just have her bangs? Please? Cuz mine didn’t turn out like that…
NEW YORK, Camille Sims: I picked her to win NY from head shots alone – and she kept the same one for Miss America.
OHIO, Alice Magoto: So young and so CUTE! A very fresh face for the organization.
OKLAHOMA, Sarah Klein: Ok. Tenacity for the win. Sarah deserves to be here more than anyone I know! She marched one step closer year after year in one of the toughest states. She consistently won swimsuit AND talent, has a killer interview – the elusive crown just stayed out of her reach until now! She is more ready than anyone, having worked toward this for something like SIX YEARS. She’s gonna bring it, you better believe! I think she will get flack for how thin she is – but the girl is RIPPED. I also don’t think photos do her justice. She is a lock for finals in my book.
PENNSYLVANIA, Samantha Lambert: Confident and beautiful.
SOUTH CAROLINA, Rachel Wyatt: I kind of feel like this is hers to lose. Ok, I really feel that way. A former MAOT winner, she’s well-rounded. She’s done the national titleholder job before (on a lesser scale of course). She’s an incredible dancer and extremely gorgeous. So yeah…not sure what else to say there 🙂 She’s the easy pick, but she’s the top pick for good reason.
TENNESSEE, Grace Burgess: Stunning girl.
TEXAS, Caroline Carothers: Texas ALWAYS places. Like, always. But beyond that, she just looks incredible.
WASHINGTON, Alicia Cooper: Very mature and polished.
WEST VIRGINIA, Morgan Breeden: Does she look like Caitlin Brunell? I sure think so!
I guess that’s like my top HALF for now, haha!
I plan to update on what I’m noticing and seeing out of the A.C., will pass along any “insider info” I might have (I don’t really have any, lol, but it’s fun to say!), identify “who to watch” for each preliminary night, and post my updated predictions the Saturday before final competition on Sunday, September 11.
DON’T FORGET! Follow us on Twitter @MYMPageant for live tweets and updates as the show unfolds Sunday, September 11 on ABC.