Miss America 2014 winner: Miss New York Nina Davuluri wins, Miss Georgia Carly Mathis makes Top 10 contestants

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 15, 2013 

Miss New York Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014 during the Sept. 15 pageant in Atlantic City. This marks back-to-back Miss America wins for New York.

Miss Georgia Carly Mathis advanced to the top 10. She also won a preliminary swimsuit competition at Miss America.

Mathis hails from Leesburg, a small city near Albany. She was crowned Miss Georgia during a pageant held in Columbus in June. Mathis, who has family in the Columbus area, graduated from the University of Georgia in May with a degree in digital and broadcast journalism.

This is the first time since 2009 that a Miss Georgia has advanced to the first cut of the Miss America competition. The advancing contestant in 2009 was Chasity Hardman, who hails from Columbus and was ultimately first runner-up in Miss America.

Davuluri is the first Miss America winner of Indian descent, according to the Associated Press. She performed a Bollywood dance during the talent competition.

Sadly, Davuluri's win prompted some racist tweets. Learn more here.

Side note: Maybe you've heard reports that Davuluri allegedly called Miss America 2013 "fat." Page Six offers a statement from a Miss America rep on the controversy: "The situation was investigated fully back in July and there is no validity to the story whatsoever."

Miss America 2013, Mallory Hytes Hagan, won the title as Miss New York. But she's originally from Opelika, Ala.

Here's a full recap of the pageant, which Lara Spencer and Chris Harrison hosted.

9:02 - We get the standard contestant introductions. Miss Georgia says: "From the land of the free and the home of the Braves, I'm ready to hit it out of the park tonight." We get some close-up footage of the Miss Georgia fans in the audience.

I'm also particularly fond of Miss District of Columbia's introduction: "Listening to your phone calls from the nation's capital. Just kidding."

9:14 - America's Choice semifinalist is Miss Kansas Theresa Vail. She got the most votes from an introductory video posted online.

You've probably heard about her decision to reveal her tattoos during the swimsuit portion of the competition. The Associated Press explains, "Vail is a 22-year-old senior at Kansas State University. She's also a member of the Army National Guard who wants to become a military dentist. Her platform is helping women overcome stereotypes and break barriers."

9:16 - Backstage, co-host Lara Spencer reveals the other highest vote-getters in the "America's Choice" category: Miss California, Miss Missouri, Miss Pennsylvania and Miss South Carolina. Contestants can't hear this information.

9:19 - Time to meet the judges. I'm extremely happy to learn the panel includes Lance Bass.

9:20 - The Top 15 semifinalists are: Miss Kansas, Miss California, Miss New York, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Connecticut, Miss Georgia, Miss Mississippi, Miss Texas, Miss Arkansas, Miss Missouri, Miss Kentucky, Miss Maryland, Miss Florida, Miss Wisconsin and Miss Minnesota.

9:37 - Swimsuit competition! Or, if you prefer, "lifestyle and fitness." As expected, Miss Kansas shows her tattoos. Lady Gaga's "Applause" plays in the background. Miss Georgia looks confident. Given her preliminary swimsuit award, she should have a good chance of advancing. Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones is wearing a bedazzled knee brace because she was injured while rehearsing her talent, baton twirling. She has two torn ligaments.

9:49 - The Top 12 contestants are: Miss Maryland, Miss Connecticut, Miss Florida, Miss Missouri, Miss Oklahoma, Miss New York, Miss Wisconsin, Miss Texas, Miss California, Miss Kansas, Miss Georgia and Miss Minnesota.

9:58 - Evening wear competition! I think the announcer made a mistake and reversed two of the contestants' names. Yes, he totally did. Miss Georgia was not involved in that debacle. Miss Georgia wears a very elegant white gown.

10:03 - The top five non-advancing contestants with the highest talent scores get scholarships. They are: Miss New Hampshire, Miss Delaware, Miss Louisiana, Miss Alabama and Miss Maine.

10:09 - The Top 10 contestants will compete in talent. They will be revealed one name at a time and immediately perform their talent. The Top 10 contestants are:

Miss Oklahoma sings "Everybody Says Don't."

Miss New York has some confusion upon hearing her name. Did Miss Georgia initially stand up? What was up with that? I think she misheard the announcer. Awkward. Either way, Miss New York performs a Bollywood dance.

Miss Kansas initially wanted to do archery as her talent, but learned there's a clause that prohibits "projectile objects." So instead, she sings opera.

Miss California performs classical ballet en pointe to "The Swan."

Miss Connecticut performs an Irish step dance to a "Riverdance" song.

Miss Georgia sings "On My Own." Before her performance, she says, "I think of every guy that has ever broken up with me when I sing my song."

Miss Texas sings "Fever."

Miss Minnesota plays violin.

Miss Maryland sings "For Good."

Miss Florida performs her baton-twirling routine while wearing her knee brace.

10:40 - The Top 5 contestants will compete in interview questions. They will be revealed one at a time and immediately answer their interview question. Here are the advancing contestants and excerpts from their answers.

Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold: Miley Cyrus has caused a media controversy with her VMA performance. What do you think? "I don't think her performance was twerking for me...Did you get it? (Joke, apparently.)...She's a performer, I'm a performer so I have to respect her creativity."

Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh: Should political candidates' wives support them amid sexting scandals? "When you make a commitment to somebody, you're with them for life...That husband needs to get it together, though."

Miss California Crystal Lee: Should the US intervene in the crisis in Syria? "We do have an ethical obligation...I believe we should use congressional support if we can and refer to the UN."

Miss New York Nina Davuluri: Julie Chen had plastic surgery to appear less Asian. What message does this send to young girls? Says she opposes plastic surgery and adds, "I've always viewed Miss America as the girl next door and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves."

Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones: Minorities still have disproportionately lower incomes, higher incarceration rates and higher unemployment rates. How would you address this issue? "My father is unemployed...I truly represent that middle-class, blue-collar family...We need to have more jobs in America." Chris Harrison cuts her off and says she hit the time limit.

10:54 - RESULTS TIME!!!!

Fourth runner-up: Miss Minnesota

Third runner-up: Miss Florida

Second runner-up: Miss Oklahoma

First runner-up: Miss California

WINNER: Miss New York Nina Davuluri

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