At the local level of the Miss America program there are five areas of competition:
Interview, Talent, Physical Fitness in Swimsuit, Evening Wear and Overall Composite. We will explain each area of competition
and what the judges are looking for during that particular phase. We will also attempt to explain the scoring process.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Private Interview (40%)
This phase of competition is held before the on-stage competition and carries the largest
scoring percentage, 40%. During this portion the judges will have an opportunity to learn as much as possible about
the contestant -- her "qualities and attributes"; her commitment to advance her platform issue as a role model; her ability
to express and distinguish her beliefs; and her ability to fulfill the "job responsibilities". The judges will be evaluating
each contestant on these specific areas:
- Overall first impression
- Qualities and Attributes
- Knowledge and Understanding of her Platform Issue - in a manner of national public interest
- Ability to fulfill job responsibilities
- Sense of accomplishments (above and beyond statement of achievements on fact sheet)
- Confident and commanding presence
- Personality, appearance and attractiveness
- Validated opinions and responses (in context)
- Communication (speech, vocabulary and grammar)
Other important points to remember, each contestant will stand behind the podium and address
the panel of five judges. The contestant will be given 45 seconds to make an opening statement of her choice.
The judges will then begin asking contestants questions. The question and answer portion will be 10 minutes and 30 seconds
for the Miss contestants and 5 minutes and 30 seconds for the Teen contestants. Then the contestant will be given 45
seconds to make a closing statement of her choice. Judges will then award the contestant an overall score on a scale
from 1 to 10. The high and low score will be discarded for each contestant and the rest will be averaged.
Interview questions could be based upon the following:
- Opening statement
- Fact sheet
- Relevant issues facing women
- State issues relevant to the contestant
- Role and responsibilities
- Current events
- Career goals and personal ambitions
A contestant may respond to a question with "I don't know" and the contestant is to wear "business
attire" that is appropriate for her age and for a job interview.
Talent is not an end in itself, but rather an insight into the contestant's preparatory and
performance skills. The talent competition acknowledges the quality of the performance, the technical skill level, stage
presence and the interest and entertainment value. The judges will score each contestant on a scale from 1 to 10 at
the conclusion of her talent performance. The high and low scores will be dropped and the rest will be averaged by the
The following is a list of specific scoring criteria:
- Selection & Performance (distinguishes personality & skill)
- Interpretive ability: Technical skill level (execution, technique, synchronization, and control)
- Stage Presence (on-stage personality)
- Total of all elements (including costume, props, music, voice, use of body and choreography)
- Did you enjoy the presentation?
Each contestant is allowed two minutes to perform her talent selection and talents should not
exceed this time limit. Talent can include anything from singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, baton twirling,
gymnastics, acting, martial arts demonstration, magic acts, or any other type of performance. Props must be small enough
for the contestant to carry herself. No talent that could inflict injury is allowed and no live animals are allowed
onstage. If you have more specific questions, please contact the directors.
Physical Fitness in Swimsuit (10%)
(Teens compete in Sportswear)
This phase of competition is designed to see how well the contestant maintains a lifestyle of
good physical fitness, emotional and intellectual health. Her sense of confidence, attractiveness, and presence must
be considered in the scoring.
Here are specific criteria the judges will look for:
- First impression
- Attractiveness and presence
- Lifestyle statement of strong physical, emotional, and intellectual health
- Walk, posture, poise and grace
- Sense of confidence and composure
- Display of energy, charisma and expression
- Qualities & Attributes
Contestants in the Miss division may choose to wear either a one or two piece swimsuit.
Either type must be modest and all swimsuits are subject to the approval of the pageant committee. Contestants will
be on-stage no longer than 35 seconds in their swimwear. The contestant should wear a shoe with a reasonable size heel
for comfort. Contestants will not be on-stage in a group in their swimsuits. Teens will compete in sportswear,
which will consist of shorts and a t-shirt. Judges will score each contestant immediately after she has modeled her
swimsuit/sportswear on a scale of 1 to 10. The high and low scores will be dropped and the rest will be averaged by
Evening Wear (10%)
This competition is designed for the contestant to make an on-stage statement of her compelling
charm, presence and personality. Her beauty, sense of style, composure and allure must be projected across the footlights.
The contestant's total look is to be considered. The evening wear (not the value of it) should compliment the young
Judges will be evaluating on the following criteria:
- Overall first impression
- Sense of Confidence
- Personality and Stage Presence
- Walk, posture, carriage and grace
- Sense of style and appropriateness of the evening wear
- Beauty, sense of attractiveness and charm
- Qualities & Attributes
During this phase of competition each contestant will also be asked on-stage questions (two
in the Miss division, one general and the other platform related, and one in the Teen division, platform related). The
answers to these questions will be considered as part of the score for the final phase of competition, overall composite score.
Overall Composite (10%)
This score is designed to evaluate the contestants overall performance in all competitions and
whether or not she should be the winner. Extemporaneous responses to on-stage interview question(s) are included in
this evaluation as are Qualities & Attributes and Job Responsibilities. Judges award both the evening wear score
and the overall composite score at this time. Both count for 10% each. They are both scored on a scale from 1
to 10 and the high and low in both phases is dropped and the rest are averaged.
Once the scores have been calculated, the winners and runners-up will be named in both the
Miss and Teen divisions. Ties will be broken as follows: The contestant with the highest score in Interview will
be given the higher placement, if both contestants are tied in interview then talent scores are used to break the tie, followed
by evening wear and then swimsuit. Unless a tie exists in all four phases of competition judges do not reballot.
Should a tie exist in all four phases of competition each judge is to be given a listing of the contestants who are tied
and each judge indicates individually who they feel should be awarded the higher position.