Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields Is Crowned Miss America 2017
There she is, Miss America! Last night in Atlantic City, N.J., Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields nabbed the coveted crown, beating out 51 other hopefuls for the title of Miss America 2017. The 21-year-old blonde clinched the top spot (and a $50,000 scholarship) with a jazz dance to a song from the TV show, "Smash," for which she won a preliminary competition earlier in the week. Shields is an art major at University of Arkansas, and says her secret dream is to be a backup dancer for Beyoncé. So basically, she's just like us, right?
Shields inherited the title from Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, whose opera performance of "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from Madame Butterfly earned her the crown last year.
In a post-show press conference, Shields addressed the nation's tenuous political climate and how she plans to impact it. "Our country was founded on compromise," she said. "I really think we're in a state now where both parties seem to just be yelling at each other. I hope that by the end of my year, we're starting to reward politicians on compromising instead of just defending themselves."
But Shields wasn't the only star at Boardwalk Hall on Sunday. In a night filled with eye-catching dresses, it was celebrity judge Ciara nearly stole the show in a stunning Julea Domani by Zeena Zaki peplum gown with a dramatic off-the-shoulder neckline.
"It's awesome as a woman to see you get this moment," the R&B told Shields after her big win. "I just encourage you to enjoy this moment, because when great things like this happen, they can sometimes pass you by."
Other top honors went to first runner-up, Miss South Carolina, Rachel Wyatt—also a dancer, and second runner-up, Miss New York Camille Sims.