Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, was crowned Miss America 2016 Sunday night at the birthplace of the legendary competition - Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall - for its 95th anniversary broadcast, live, on the ABC Television Network.
Vanessa Williams returned to the Miss America stage 32 years after her crowning as Miss America 1984 and served as head judge. She opened the show with a performance of "Oh How the Years Go By." Williams joined host Chris Harrison, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, music curator Nick Jonas and celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O'Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya.
Cantrell's acceptance of the highly prized crown is just the beginning of a journey that will take her to every corner of the nation during her year of service as Miss America 2016. She will embark on her national speaking tour about her platform, Healthy Children, Strong America, and act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals, is the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization.
Cantrell is a student of Mercer University. During her year as Miss America, she will serve as spokesperson for Healthy Children, Strong America. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2016, Cantrell won a $50,000 scholarship provided in part by Joseph Ribkoff Inc. and the Miss America Organization to continue her education. For the talent portion of the competition, Cantrell performed the operatic vocal performance of "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio."
First runner-up in the competition was Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts, who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was classical violin, and her personal platform is Pages of Love. Second runner-up honors and a $20,000 scholarship was awarded to Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson. Her talent was original monologue, and her personal platform is The Health Initiative PLUS.