The new Miss America is Betty Cantrell, a 21-year-old college student from Georgia.
Cantrell, a student at Mercer University, was crowned Miss America 2016 Sunday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. However, she was forced to share the spotlight with Vanessa Williams, who was returning to the pageant for the first time since she was forced to resign more than 30 years ago after a nude photo scandal. Miss America CEO Sam Haskell formally apologized to Williams, who became the first black woman to be named Miss America in 1983, but gave up her crown 10 months later after nude photos were published in Penthouse magazine.
In addition to performing "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from the opera Madame Butterfly for the talent portion of the pageant, Cantrell was questioned about the New England Patriots' Deflategate scandal by judge Brett Eldredge. When asked whether she believed quarterback Tom Brady cheated by using underinflated footballs, Cantrell initially said she wasn't sure, but later told The Associated Press, "If there's any question, then yes, he cheated." (Cantrell also added that it was "kind of a funky question.")
Despite tripping twice during the pageant, Cantrell bested 51 other contestants and received a $50,000 scholarship, in addition to the Miss America crown. Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts, the first runner-up, received a $25,000 scholarship. Second runner-up, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson, won a $20,000 scholarship.