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Meghan Overdeep
Sep 14, 2015 @ 7:45 am

Step aside ladies, there's a new Miss America in town. Last night Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell nabbed the coveted crown, beating out 51 other hopefuls for the title of Miss America 2016. The 21-year-old brunette clinched the top spot (and a $50,000 scholarship) with an opera performance of "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from Madame Butterfly that brought the house down in Atlantic City, N.J.

"I'm still so overwhelmed, I don't know what to say other than thank you! " Cantrell told reporters moments after receiving the crown.

Cantrell inherited the title from Miss New York Kira Kazantsev, ending New York's three-year dominance over the pageant.

The 95th annual pageant also marked the return of Miss America 1984, Vanessa Williams, after a nude photo scandal forced her to give up the crown. "I want to apologize for anything that was said or done," pageant executive chairman Haskell told Williams as they stood together on stage. "Vanessa: Welcome back!"

Last night other top honors went to first runner-up Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts—a classical violinist, and second runner-up Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, whose original monologue won her $20,000.

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