12 semi-finalists chosen in Miss America pageant
Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones wears a swimsuit during the lifestyle competition during the Miss America 2014 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Miss Kansas, the tattooed Army sergeant, and the injured Miss Florida, wearing a bejeweled knee brace, were among contestants advancing to the semi-finals of Sunday's Miss America finale in Atlantic City as the pageant returned home to where it all began in 1921.
Miss Kansas Theresa Vail was chosen by a nationwide vote as "America's Choice" to advance to the semis. Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, tore knee ligaments on Thursday while rehearing her baton routine, but was able to strut into the semi-finals.
Miss Kansas Theresa Vail shows her bathing suit during the lifestyle competition during the Miss America 2014 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Other states whose contestants advanced to the semi-finals are: Maryland, Connecticut, Missouri, Oklahoma, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, California, Georgia and Minnesota.
The pageant had pitted 53 contestants — one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.
Miss Texas Ivana Hall gestures the longhorns with her fingers during the Miss America 2014 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
The nationally televised pageant was back in Boardwalk Hall, where judges will choose a winner to succeed the current title-holder Mallory Hagan.
"This is where we belong," Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America organization, told The Associated Press. "This is the home of Miss America, and this is where we're going to stay."
Preliminary winners in the swimsuit competition earlier in the week were Miss Mississippi, Chelsea Rick; Miss Oklahoma, Kelsey Griswold; and Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis. Preliminary winners in the talent competition were Miss New Hampshire, Samantha Russo; Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh; and Miss Florida, Jones.