Miss Arkansas, Savvy Janine Shields, was crowned Miss America 2017 at the birthplace of the legendary competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for its 96th Anniversary broadcast on ABC. Returning for his 8th time as host, Chris Harrison was joined by co-host Sage Steele and celebrity judges Ciara, Mark Cuban, Gabby Douglas, Sara Foster, Laura Marano, Cole Swindell and Miss America 1985 Sharlene Wells Hawkes. The evening included a 9/11 tribute in honor of the 15th anniversary.
Shields’ acceptance of the highly-coveted crown is just the beginning of a journey that will take her to every corner of the nation and around the world during her year of service as Miss America 2017. She will embark on her national speaking tour about her platform, Eat Better, Live Better and act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for its 170 member hospitals, is the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization.
Shields is a student at the University of Arkansas. During her year as Miss America she will serve as a spokesperson for Eat Better, Live Better. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2017, Shields 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, Shields performed a jazz dance to “They Just Keep Moving The Line” from the American drama series Smash.
The first runner-up in the competition was Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was dance and her personal platform is Autism Speaks. The second runner-up is Miss New York Camille Sims and received a $20,000 scholarship. Her talent was jazz vocal, and her personal platform is Encouraging Wellness and Fostering Food Justice. Third runner-up Miss Washington Alicia Nicole Cooper received a $15,000 scholarship. Her talent was tap dance and her platform is Live on Purpose: Defining Your Legacy. Fourth runner up Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis was awarded a $10,000. Her talent was vocal and her platform is Mentoring Matters.
The 52 contestants, who represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, participated in preliminary competitions earlier in the week. Miss Kentucky Laura Katherine Jones was the winner of “America’s Choice,” an online competition where viewers were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite Miss America contestant entirely on social media. The winner of “America’s Choice” advanced to the Top 15 in the competition.