The Miss America contest is already underway for the first time without its iconic swimsuit competition.
Contestants took the stage on Wednesday for the first of three nights of preliminary competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The contestants from Florida and Wisconsin got the first preliminary victories in the era after the swimsuit and proclaimed that a new day had arrived for an American piece trying to restart in a rapidly changing world.
In recent years, a talent and a swimsuit winner were named on each of the three preliminary nights. This year, the winner of an interview on stage will be named instead of a swimsuit winner.
The Miss America pageant began Wednesday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the first time without its iconic swimsuit competition.
Miss Florida Taylor Tyson won the talent show for a piano performance of & # 39; Mephisto & # 39; s Waltz & # 39; from Lizst.
Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei won the on-stage interview competition for her comments on how higher education should be more affordable and more accessible.
Both said they were excited to be the first winners in the renewed Miss America competition, sparking controversy over their decision to remove swimsuits, a staple of the contest since it began 98 years ago in Atlantic City.
"The swimsuit is behind us," Vanderhei said after the competition ended Wednesday night.
"It's sad that he's gone, but I understand the reasons why he disappeared."
"People will be able to see what Miss America is about with these changes," Tyson added.
Contestants took the stage on Wednesday for the first of three nights of preliminary competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey
The contestants from Florida and Wisconsin got the first preliminary victories in the post-bathing era. Taylor Tyson from Florida won the talent competition and Tianna Vanderhei from Wisconsin won the interview competition on stage
The preliminaries began in the midst of a revolt by officials of the state parade unhappy with the way in which the decision was made to leave the bathing suits, and which demand that the top brass, including President Gretchen Carlson, resign.
The current Miss America, Cara Mund, has accused Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper of intimidating and silencing her, allegations that the two officials deny.
Mund made no reference to the controversy in his opening speech, which followed a prolonged standing ovation, but did pay homage to local and state officials without mentioning nationals.
"This only exists thanks to our volunteers," he said. "We would not have any organization if it were not for them."
A spokesman for opponents of the current leadership said that 46 state organizations have signed letters asking Carlson and Hopper to resign; Only Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada and Vermont have not signed.
The questions of the interview that were heard in the first preliminary were as discouraging for some as having been walking around the state in bikini and heels.
Instead of a swimsuit winner, this year the winner of an interview on stage will be named on each of the three preliminary nights
Both Miss Florida and Miss Wisconsin said they were excited to be the first winners in the renewed Miss America competition, sparking controversy over their decision to remove swimsuits.
Some of the questions were softbols: Where is the most interesting place you have visited, and how did you grow emotionally? Others put some contestants directly on the spot on hot social issues.
Miss Texas, Madison Fuller, was asked if NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem show freedom of expression or disrespect.
"Where NFL players who kneel defend what they believe, there is a stage to promote change, not during the anthem," he said.
Miss Mississippi Asya Branch was asked if medical care is a right.
"Medical care is not a right, but we all need it," he said. "We should work within our country to make it more affordable and available, and nobody deserves medical attention."
The format is similar to what will happen during the nationally televised broadcast on Sunday night at ABC.
Scholarships will be awarded for a total of almost $ 506,000, including $ 50,000 for the new Miss America; $ 25,000 for the first finalist; $ 20,000 for the second finalist; $ 15,000 for the third finalist and $ 10,000 for the fourth finalist.
The contestants will participate in three nights of preliminary competition for the contest. They're in the photo above last week at a Miss America event