Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields was crowned Miss America 2017 at an event held Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Shields succeeds Betty Cantrell, the outgoing Miss America 2016, after beating 51 other contestants to the title at the event held at the Boardwalk Hall Arena in Atlantic City.
Chris Harrison of the “Bachelor” fame and Sage Steele were the hosts for the evening that saw 15 semifinalists being chosen to move on to the swimsuit round, after which the top 12 competed in the evening gown segment. Following the talent competition, seven moved up to the Q&A portion.
For the talent round, Shields performed a jazz dance to “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from the TV series “Smash.” She impressed the judges with her thoughts on the Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, in the Q&A round.
“If you’re trying to be leader of the free world, everything you say and do matters. And all of your actions are held to a higher standard. And unfortunately, the media does love to sensationalize everything,” she explained. “It’s hard to decide what is truth and what is truly scandal. Both of the contestants have done a great job.”
Rachel Wyatt, Miss South Carolina, was the first runner-up, while Miss New York Camille Sims came in as the second runner-up. Miss Washington Alicia Cooper and Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis were the third and the fourth runners-up respectively.
The pageant also featured the first openly gay contestant — Miss Missouri Erin O'Flaherty — who made the news repeatedly in the days leading up to the final event. O'Flaherty, however, did not make it to the top 15.