Jacquie Brown of Vancouver advanced to the final five contestants vying for the title of Miss America on Saturday, but Miss Washington ended the night as third runner-up for the title behind the contest’s youngest winner in 90 years.
Brown, who belted out “Papa was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations in the talent portion of the program and spoke of the need to seek compromise and look after one another in the interview portion, will receive a $15,000 scholarship for her achievement.
“Jacquie did an awesome job tonight,” said Cindy Donowitz, co-director of Miss Clark County Scholarship Organization, who attended the pageant. “She said that everyone on stage was a winner, and she was at peace with whatever the outcome would be.”
Even before she walked on stage at the Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas on Saturday, the judges had scored Brown on a range of metrics, including her talent, an interview, her poise in an evening gown, and the respect she has won from other contenders.
She learned on live TV that she had advanced to the top 15, then the top 12, 10 and 5 before the judges rendered the final decision.
“I was so excited for her,” Donowitz said. “We worked to get her to state and watched her mature over the past year, and it has just been amazing. The growth she’s accomplished over the past year — there are just no words for it.”
Brown, 22, hopes to earn a degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, then pursue a career in broadcasting.
Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, who won a $50,000 scholarship, is at 17 the youngest Miss America since the pageant’s first competition in 1921, when Margaret Gorman of the District of Columbia won at age 15.
The contestants came from every state plus the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They were scored by seven judges in evening gown, talent and interview portions, with eliminations along the way.
The judges picked for the top 12: Miss Oklahoma, Emoly West; Miss Texas, Ashley Melnick; Miss Rhode Island, Deborah Saint-Vil; Miss Utah, Christina Lowe; Brown; Miss Arizona, Kathryn Bulkley; Miss Virginia, Caitlin Uze; and Miss California, Arianna Afsar.
Fans voted in Miss New York, Claire Buffie, and Miss Delaware, Kayla Martell. And in a first-ever twist for the contest, the young women picked two finalists themselves: Miss Kentucky, Djuan Trent, and Miss Oregon, Stephenie Denise Steers.
Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady, won $25,000 as first runner-up, while Miss Hawaii, Jalee Fuselier, won $20,000 for third place.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.