#Trending: The Importance of Preliminary Awards at Miss America

For three years New York has gone to Miss America, competed during the preliminary round without winning any awards, and  then went home with the Miss America crown. It leads us to question if a preliminary award is necessary or valuable during the Miss America competition, in regards to the past Miss New York titleholders.

Note: Years represent their year as Miss New York, not the Miss America year. Top 10 may actually be Top 11 or Top 12.

The Numbers

A. Between 1960 and 1975:

  • Zero (0) preliminary awards
  • Three (3) Top 10 placements
  • One (1) Miss America
  • Three (3) Non-Finalist Talent awards

B. Between 1976 and 1995:

  • Eight (8) Preliminary Talent Awards
  • One (1) Preliminary Swimsuit Award
  • Five (5) Top 10 placements
  • Two (2) Top Five placements
  • One (1) Miss America
  • Five (5) Non-Finalist Talent Awards

C. Between 1996 and 2016:

  • Four (4) Preliminary Swimsuit Awards
  • Three (3) Top 10 placements
  • Three (3) Top 5 placements
  • Two (2) Non-Finalist Talent Awards
  • Three (3) Miss Americas

The Analysis:

Will a Preliminary Make You Miss America?:

Although a preliminary award has statistically not been necessary to earn the Miss America award, the Miss New York state titleholders who won a preliminary award have had higher rates of Top 5 and Top 10 Placements. Out of the 55 years researched, only 6 have earned finalist spots without a preliminary award, not counting the 4 who have won Miss America without a preliminary award.

No, preliminary is not needed to win Miss America. But it is greatly improve your chance of becoming a finalist.


  • Miss America: 5 Winners between 1960 and 2014
    • 4/5- No Preliminary Awards
    • 1/5- Double Prelim Winner (Ironically, NY’s only ever double prelim winner)
  • Top 5: New York has had Five (5) Top 5 Placements
    • 1/5 No Prelim Award
    • 4/5 Won Preliminary Awards
      • 2/4 Talent
      • 2/4 Swimsuit
  • Top 10: New York has had Eleven (11) Top 10 Placements
    • 5/11 No Prelim Award
    • 6/11 Won Preliminary Awards
      • 5/6 Talent
      • 1/6 Swimsuit


What Should I Focus on- Talent or Swimsuit?: We can note that Miss New York has transitioned from sending a girl with a strong talent (but who wasn’t strong enough to make Top 10) to a strong talent to a strong swimsuit. Considering a decently consistent Top 10 placements throughout the years, but also an increase in Top 5 placements, we can assume that New York has shifted in the same direction as the general concept of what Miss America should be in that time.

This being said, it can be inferred that a strong talent is necessary to get the points and earn a spot in the Top 10, but a strong swimsuit is needed to push you further and secure a spot in the Top 5.

  • Preliminary Talent: New York has had Seven (7) Preliminary Talent Winners (Excluding VW)
    • 2/7 Top 5 Placements
    • 5/7 Top 10 Placements
  • Preliminary Swimsuit: New York has had Four (4) Preliminary Swimsuit Winners (Excluding VW)
    • 2/4 Top 5 Placements
    • 1/4 Top 10 Placements
    • 1/4 Non-Finalist

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