|Miss Lexington 2004, Nicole Anderson, with Governor Ernie Fletcher
With more than $40 million in cash and tuition scholarship assistance available this year,
the Miss America Organization remains the world's largest provider of scholarships for young women. Scholarships are
awarded at all levels of competition: local, state and national, and you don't have to win a title to win scholarships.
Here you can learn more about the phases of competition, what the judges are looking
for, and other important facts that will help you in your participation in this program.
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
- 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.
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 auditor.
The following is a list of specific scoring criteria:
- Selection & Performance (distinguishes personality & skill)
- Interpretive ability: Technical skill level (execution, technique, synchronization,
- 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%)
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. Judges will score each contestant
immediately after she has modeled her swimsuit on a scale of 1 to 10. The high and low scores will be dropped and the
rest will be averaged by the auditor.
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 woman.
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
On-Stage Question (10%)
The On-Stage Interview
phase of competition is designed for the contestant to make an on-stage statement of her interests, opinions and aspirations. The judge is to only consider the answer to the question. The question should
be relevant to the contestant's personally selected platform issue or fact sheet.
Judges will be evaluating on the following criteria:
- Extemporaneous responses to on-stage
interview question (relevant to her personally selected platform issue or fact sheet)
special attention to whether or not the contestant answered the question in the context in which it was asked and whether
or not she has the charisma
young people see her as a role model who is reflective to today’s generation?
Once the scores have been calculated, the winners and runners-up will be named. 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 on-stage question, then evening wear and then
swimsuit. Unless a tie exists in all phases of competition judges do not reballot. Should a tie exist in
all five 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.
This section is to give you some insight into what we call "Miss America jargon". These
are terms and phrases that may not be familiar to someone who is new to the Miss America system. If you have any questions
about these, please let us know.
Qualities & Attributes
These are characteristics that judges use to determine whether or not a young lady would be
an effective titleholder. Essentially, these are qualities that "Miss America" should possess and they are evaluating
participants based upon that. Qualities & Attributes are taken into consideration by the judges during the Private
Interview, Swimsuit, Evening Wear and Overall Composite phases of the competition. Talent is judged strictly on the
criteria outlined to the left of this page.
Here are the specific "Qualities & Attributes" judges are looking for:
- Role Model
- Accomplished (Distinguished Achievements)
- Leader (Mobilizes and Inspires)
- Communicator (Courage of Convictions)
- Beauty (Attractive with Confident and Commanding Presence)
- Talent and Intelligence
- Energy Including Charisma and Expression
These are "ideals" that each contestant should strive to attain.
This term is pretty much as it sounds, it outlines what is expected of each titleholder.
Anyone who wins a title in the Miss America system should be considered qualified to handle the following job responsibilities:
- Serve as a program ambassador and P.R. rep
- Articulate platform position and personality in a manner of public interest
- Champion an institutional platform
- Represent commercial sponsors
- Make appearances, travel, and be graceful under pressure
- Encourage other young women to challenge their own talents
This is an issue of national importance for which a contestant chooses to become a spokesperson.
Types of platform issues include: AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, Literacy, Child Abuse, Mentoring, Character
Education, Voter Awareness, Music Education, and any other issue that faces our nation today. A good platform should
be something that the contestant can not only volunteer with in her community, but can also become a spokesperson for on the
national level. Contestants should strive to become involved in their platform on a local, state and national level.
They should also align themselves with a national non-profit organization that they could partner with should they become
Miss America. The most important thing about a platform is that a contestant should be extremely passionate and dedicated
to her platform. A contestant should not choose an issue just because it is a "hot topic" in the headlines. Contestants
should choose an issue they care about deeply and are personally affected by in some way. A platform should become an
extension of the contestant herself, it is really the most important aspect of the Miss America system because it is the issue
that the contestant will champion during her year of service.