The 2020 Miss America competition aired live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, Thursday, December 19 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. The Top 7 have been revealed, so read on to find out who advanced out of the Top 15 quarterfinalists during the live competition.
The Top 5 were later revealed to be Miss Connecticut Jillian Duffy, Miss Georgia Victoria Hill, Miss Missouri Simone Esters, Miss Oklahoma Addison Price, and Miss Virginia Camille Schrier. The women finished in the following order:
Winner: Miss Virginia Camille Schrier
First runner-up: Miss Georgia Victoria Hill
Second runner-up: Miss Missouri Simone Esters
Third runner-up: Miss Oklahoma Addison Price
Fourth runner-up: Miss Connecticut Jillian Duffy
Miss Alabama Tiara Pennington (did not advance out of the Top 7)
This contestant has family members who suffer from psoriasis and she has a 40 percent chance of getting it as well. Pennington says that she’s excited to work on the legislative side and advocate for people all over America who suffer from that as well. When asked about sharing the Miss America stage with a transgender person or a nonbinary person, she says she’s all for it.
“I am 100 percent on board. As we see with Miss America 2.0, we are changing and we are evolving and that means accepting those that were not accepted in the past. I would be honored to be on this stage with any people who are part of the LGBTQ community,” says Pennington.
Her talent was an operatic vocal.
Miss Colorado Monica Thompson (did not advance out of the Top 7)
She wants to advocate for young women, particularly the way women face sexism. She says it isn’t just sexism in the workplace, but everywhere, even with the women of the Miss America competition. She also says on Instagram that she’s appreciative of all the highs and lows that led to her spot in the competition.
“I would not be the person that I am without a community of people who have encouraged and developed me into the strong woman who will stand on the @missamerica stage tomorrow night. Competing for Miss America this week has been a dream realized—a long journey filled with highs and lows. I’m thankful for it all.”
Her talent was a classical vocal.
Miss Connecticut Jillian Duffy (fourth runner-up)
Duffy was diagnosed with cancer as a child and overcame childhood leukemia. She says when she was sick, the then-Miss Connecticut visited her in the hospital and made her want to do that for other kids. She competed for Miss Connecticut five times before winning, but she never wanted to stop trying to achieve her dream.
“Getting diagnosed with cancer is huge, but it’s shown me I can do anything … I’m here, I’m living and this December, I’ll be nine years cancer-free,” says Duffy.
Her talent was a pop vocal performance.
Miss Georgia Victoria Hill (first runner-up)
This contestant won one of the preliminary talent competition nights because she dreams to be a professional opera singer. She feels like she can inspire people through music much in the same way she tries to inspire people to help with and join the foster care system.
“Community service has been a huge part of my life. I work at a group home for girls. My involvement with them really inspired me to raise awareness of the needs of the foster system,” says Hill, adding that in Atlanta over 70 percent of the homeless population is from the broken foster care system because once they age out of being placed in a home, they have nowhere to go.
Her talent was an operatic vocal.
Miss Missouri Simone Esters (second runner-up)
She was raised by a single mom and mentors really had to fill in the gaps, which came into her life in the form of her baton twirling coach. “She’s been in my life since I was five. To get where I am, I would practice four to five hours every day,” she says. “Now that I made it here, I think it’s worth it … most of the mentors in my life shaped me into who I am and I hope for that for every little girl.”
On Instagram, Esters details a routine surgery that unable to use her left hand and arm and how she was able to come back from that and began twirling the baton again. “I’ve had to work harder than ever to master moves that used to be simple to me, and it’s defeating. But, I persevered. To me, talent is bigger than just a minute and thirty-second performance; it’s a testament to my hard work and resilience… not to mention performing is fun,” she writes.
Her talent was baton twirling.
Miss Oklahoma Addison Price (third runner-up)
Her parents wouldn’t let her compete in pageants for years, but they finally gave in and now they are in it wholeheartedly. She says that the country needs to come together in bipartisanship and stop attacking each other in the way “cancel culture” has taken over social media.
“I believe [cancel culture] all stems from our leaders … it starts by looking at our leaders and I hope Miss America can be a leader. Miss America can be a leader not just for women but also for little boys … they can be the change in our country,” she said during the competition.
On Instagram, she calls this a dream come true, writing, “This week has felt like a dream. I am fully at peace knowing the outcome is in God’s hands and will be better than I could ever imagine. To everyone who has prayed for me, texted, called, or sent me positive thoughts and messages… THANK YOU!!!! I have NEVER felt more loved. It is my HONOR to continue representing Oklahoma, this Organization, dyslexics, and future women leaders everywhere tonight…and forever!”
Her talent was jazz dancing.
Miss Virginia Camille Schrier (winner)
This contestant won one of the talent nights during the preliminary competition by performing a science experiment on stage. Of her win, she writes, “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude this morning after winning the night #2 preliminary talent award at Miss America with my chemistry demonstration! This is particularly historic, as I’m the first woman ever to win a talent preliminary at Miss America with a science demonstration. This win is not just for me…it’s for every person who is afraid to take a risk and be themselves, for the little girls who want to be scientists, and for every woman who thinks they can’t compete in Miss America because they don’t have a “talent”. We all have talents. Find your passion and do it on purpose. When you are unapologetically yourself, great things will come.”
During the pageant, when asked how she responds to people who might make fun of Miss America contestants, she says, “What I’m doing by being a woman of science and redefining what it means to be Miss America … is how I combat those people.” She adds, “We need to show that a scientist can be Miss America and Miss America be a scientist.”
Her talent was a science demonstration.
The full 2020 Miss America competition actually took place over the past week, with preliminary competitions beginning back on December 12. The preliminary portion consisted of private interviews with the judges (20 percent of their preliminary score), an on-stage interview (15 percent of prelim score), each contestant’s “social impact pitch” (15 percent) and the talent portion, which accounted for a whopping 50 percent of their preliminary score.
The preliminary score not only determined which women made the Top 15 quarterfinals, but it also accounted for 25 percent of the final night score during the live pageant.
The final scores were tabulated using on-stage interviews (25 percent of the final score), talent (30 percent of the final score), social impact pitch presentation (20 percent of the final score), and the preliminary score that was previously determined.
There was no swimsuit or evening gown competition; those events were eliminated in 2018 because the Miss America Organization wanted to start emphasizing inward beauty and global impact rather than outward appearance.
The preliminary judging panel was made up of composer Anthony Barfield, model/lifestyle consultant Holly Pelham Davis; and Clinton Foundation executive director Stephanie S. Streett, while the judges during the live competition included Superstore star Lauren Ash, TV host Karamo Brown, and singer/songwriter Kelly Rowland.
READ NEXT: Miss America 2020 Preliminary Results