How Voting Works for the Miss America 2020 Competition

Miss America 2018

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The Miss America pageant is doing things a little differently this year. Contestants are no longer judged on their physical appearance; everything comes down to interviews, talent, and each woman’s social impact initiative; the new Miss America Organization mission statement is “To prepare great women for the world, and to prepare the world for great women.”

So here’s what you need to know about the voting as the judges narrow the 51 women down to Miss America 2020.


The Preliminaries Count For Quite a Bit

The preliminary competitions have been taking place all week at the Mohegan Sun Earth Expo and Convention Center in Uncasville, Connecticut. The contestants took part in private interviews, on-stage interviews, a talent competition, their “social impact pitch” portion, and several scholarship recognition events.

When it comes to scoring the prelims, the private interview accounts for 20 percent of their overall score; the on-stage interview accounts for 15 percent; the social impact pitch accounts for 15 percent; and the talent competition counts for 50 percent.

These preliminary scores will determine which women advance to the Top 15 quarterfinal group, which will be revealed live during the main pageant airing live on Thursday, December 19. But that is not where the preliminary score’s importance ends.

The Final Pageant Judging

During the main pageant, the preliminary score will account for 25 percent of the final night score, which means a woman who did particularly well in the prelims could still advance pretty far in the main pageant even if she has an off night.

The other 75 percent of the final score will be made up of an on-stage interview (25 percent), the talent competition (30 percent), and a presentation of their social impact initiative (20 percent).

After the judges have narrowed the Top 15 down to 7 semifinalists and then five finalists, the final five will give a “pitch for the job” to the judges which will then be used to decide the winner and runners-up. The winner will be crowned by Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin.

The winner of the pageant is a full-time employee of the Miss America Organization, which requires a year of service throughout the United States and sometimes to other countries. Miss America works with MAO to develop her social impact initiative and also serves as the National Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The Judges

The preliminary events were judged by composer Anthony Barfield, model/lifestyle consultant Holly Pelham Davis; and Clinton Foundation executive director Stephanie S. Streett.

The final pageant will be judged by Superstore actress Lauren Ash, TV host Karamo Brown, and singer/songwriter Kelly Rowland. Access Hollywood hosts Kit Hoover and Mario Lopez will serve as co-hosts for the live telecast.

Live or Online Voting

There has been live voting for viewers in the past. As recently as two years ago, fans could vote online before the pageant to select the “Americas Choice” contestant. But the organization is not doing that this year.

The 2020 Miss America pageant airs live Thursday, December 19 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

READ NEXT: Miss America 2020 Preliminary Results


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