With 52 young women joining the 2017 Miss America Competition, only one of these ladies will take home the crown on Sunday.
During the Thursday pageant night in Atlantic City, Miss Michigan Arianna Quan and Miss Ohio Alice Magoto drew attention from the audience as they bagged honors from the preliminary events. This was the third and final night of the Miss America preliminary competitions.
The contest held at the Boardwalk Hall involved contenders from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Quan made sure she made a loud buzz by playing ‘The Lark,’ a piano composition from Glinka-Balakirev. She ended her performance with a theatrical flair and a confident smile, soliciting a loud cheer from the crowd and raking in the talent award that comes with $2,000 worth of scholarship.
"I was so relieved," she said. "My rehearsal was a little rough; I didn't have time to warm up. I was just praying, 'Dear Lord,' just that what I had to present was enough."
Magoto also went on to win the award for best swimsuit with her campaign on natural physical appearances, hence “unedited beauty.” She encourages women to be happy with themselves, share photos without makeup on social media sites, not have to succumb to photo editing and say no to preconceived ideas of beauty.
"It just shows you can be completely authentic, 100 percent unedited and still rock a swimsuit," she said.
Other contenders came up with amusing introductions of themselves, such as Miss Maine Marybeth Noonan who cheerfully said: “"There might be 52 of us, but I'm your Maine chick!"
"From the state that gave you four U.S. presidents, from Lincoln to Obama, I'm running to be your first lady," Miss Illinois Jaryn Franklin quipped.
Miss Texas Caroline Carothers also stood out during the introduction portion by saying: “From the state where the two biggest sports are football and teasing your hair, I'm Miss Texas!"
When it comes to saying their opinions loud and clear, several contestants opened up about appreciating the arts and supporting healthy living during the interviews.
Miss Minnesota Van Ert shared her support for arts education because it helps develop young minds.
"It's about creating and expressing and believing in yourself and embracing your imperfections and using it to help improve the world around you," she said.
Stephanie Chavez, Miss New Mexico, encouraged parents to take an active role in helping children develop their love for reading.
"Practice and learn to associate reading with love," she said
Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields believes people should be aware of what they eat before buying and consuming food.
"Read your labels," she said. "If you can't read it, don't eat it. See if the food you're eating is made by the sun or made in a lab.
The 2017 Miss America Competition will air live from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sept. 11, Sunday, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Chris Harrison and Sage Steele will be hosting the 96th annual pageant. Celebrity judges include singer/songwriter Ciara, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, tycoon Mark Cuban, actress/former model Sara Foster, actress/singer Laura Marano, country music singer Cole Swindell and former Miss America Sharlene Wells.