Areas of Competition
Contestants in all Miss America preliminaries
at the local and state level compete in five areas:
Personal Interview (35% of total score)
At the local level, each contestant participates
in an individual eight (8) minute interview. There are typically 5 to 7 judges on a panel. Contestants are questioned
on their background as presented on their fact sheet, their educational and career goals, their opinions on current events
and social issues, and their interests, hobbies and extracurricular activities. Scoring is based on overall first impression,
validated opinions and responses in context, poise, personal appearance and attractiveness, personality, intelligence, style,
emotional control, speech, vocabulary, grammar, ability to have a confident and commanding presence; knowledge, understanding,
and ability to articulate her platform issue, sense of accomplishment.
Talent (35% of total score)
Contestants perform a 2-minute
routine of their own choosing. Some possible talents include all types of singing, dancing, gymnastics, instrumental music,
dramatic or comedy monologues, baton twirling and ventriloquism. Other talents that can be performed solo on a stage are also
possible. Phone or e-mail us if you have a question about your talent presentation. Scoring is based on contestant's talent selection
and performance as it distinguishes both her skills and personality, interpretive ability, technical skill level
(execution, technique, syncronization, control), stage presence and the totality of all elements (including costume, props,
voice, use of body, and choreography).
Evening Wear/On-stage Question (20% of total score)
contestant appears on-stage in an outfit of her own choosing, representative of what she would wear to a prom or other formal
event. Pantsuits, cocktail dresses and evening gowns are all appropriate for this phase of the competition. Scoring is based
on overall first impression, sense of confidence, personality and stage presence, walk and posture, carriage and grace, appropriateness
of attire, sense of style, sense of attractiveness, beauty, and charm. The on-stage question is combined with the evening
gown portion of competition.
Lifestyle & Fitness (10% of total score)
Each contestant appears
on stage to perform a physical fitness routine of four eight-counts in workout attire. Workout attire includes capri
or full-length black leggings with a sleeveless sport top, and tennis shoes. The attire must be age-appropriate, and typical
of what a teenager would wear to workout. The MSDPSA must approve the selected workout attire prior to competition. Swimsuits
and clothing specifically for dance, such as a leotard are not permitted. Scoring is based on overall first impression, statement
of strong physical fitness and health, dynamic presence of attractiveness and presence; display of energy, charisma, and expression,
sense of self-confidence and self-assurance.
On-stage Question (See Evening Gown/On-stage Question)
The On-Stage Interview
phase of competition is now combined with the Evening Gown portion of competition and is comprised of questions of a general
nature. It will be neither platform-related nor something taken from the private interview. The objective is to evaluate
the contestant's ability to think on her feet and answer a question of general interest to people her age, including but
not limited to local, state, and national current events. Scoring is based on overall first impression and the judges should
ask themselves: 1. Did the contestant answer the question in the context in which it was asked? 2. Can she handle the pressure
of speaking on stage in front of an audience? 3. Will young people see her as a role model who is reflective of today's
area of competition is not a specific scoring criteria at the local level, but is a scoring criteria at the State and National
levels. Transcripts are submitted at the local level and judges may consider the overall academic achievement during the Personal
Interview by considering the following:
1. Has the student maintained at least a "B"
average during the past academic year?
2. Would her academic achievements place her in the top
10% of your (the judges') institution?
3. Is she taking Advanced, AP, or IB courses?
4. Does she hold leadership positions in her school and extracurricular activities?
Based on the information before you, do you believe this student would meet the description
of an "Outstanding Student"?
Top Five - Final Ballot
From the above 100%, the Top Five Finalists will be named. The Top Five Finalists enter
the final round of competition with zero points. The judges will then rank the contestants in the order they individually
believe the contestants should finish on a Final Ballot. Each judge will rank the Top Five contestants on a Final Ballot. A first place vote is worth ten points, a second
place vote is worth five points, a third place vote is worth three points, a fourth place vote is worth two points and a fifth
place vote is worth one point . The total of the Final Ballots alone will determine the outcome of the pageant. The high and
low scores on the Final Ballot will NOT be dropped. All judges’ votes count on the Final Ballot.
In 1989, the personal platform concept was introduced as part of the competition, with each state titleholder choosing
an issue of importance to her and to society. Through in-depth interviewing during the local, state and national competitions,
each contestant is evaluated on her commitment to her chosen issue. Examples of platform issues have included child advocacy,
volunteerism, domestic violence, literacy, diabetes, awareness, eating disorders and our nation's homeless.