Miss NY 2016 Preliminaries- Night 1

State Competitions

On-Stage Question:

The On-Stage Question portion of the Preliminary Competition was based on the girls’ platform. The questions were very balanced and gave the girls an opportunity to shine with a topic they should be very familiar with. Each question was prefaced with, “Your platform is…” to give the audience a quick refresher without flipping through their beautifully prepared program books. The wording below is paraphrased as a result of quick notes, but the subject matter is not altered.

  • Ashley Thakur,Flower City: How can you present your non-profit organization to a middle school when the admin may not be comfortable with the subject (STD/Teen Pregnancy)?
  • Abigail Hoag, Apple Festival: What drives a teenager that taking their life is the only answer?
  • Salt City: What is the demographic at the highest risk for domestic violence?
  • Olivia Martin, Greater NY: What is the importance of cultural institutions?
  • Alexandra Harvey-Sprague, Mohawk Valley: How does Active Minds prevent self injury?
  • Cedar Chambers, Niagara Frontier: What do you say to someone who says they can’t change the world
  • Gabrielle Walter, Bluebird: Are college admin doing enough to prevent sexual assault?
  • Lauren Crandall, Colonial: How can you change the mind of a teenager who is openly against a gay classmate?
  • Shelley Jain, Upstate NY: How has social media impacted self esteem?
  • Meghan Sinisi, Syracuse: Do you feel parents should have their children tested to see if they have the gene for autism?
  • Baylee Simpson, Buffalo: How would your marketing program help art programs that are at risk of shutting down?
  • Jillian Larson, Excelsior: Why do you feel elementary/middle schools are facing challenges keeping funds for art?
  • Heather Wolf, Staten Island: How can you break the silence of a struggling not teen who feels they can be replaced?
  • Li Ling Rivera, Queens: Do you feel texting is hindering out youth’s ability to show their voice?

Standouts:

  • Syracuse
  • Colonial
  • Upstate NY
  • Excelsior

Swimsuit:

The contestants wore stunning blue swimsuits, sponsored by Kandice Pelletier- former Miss New York and swim wear designer.  The Blue Group performed a catchy production dance before the Gold Group came out to model.

Both Allison Carlos, Miss Finger Lakes and Lexi Swatt, Miss Fulton County had large visible tattoos. This could either be a hit or miss; it shows confidence, but also has that lingering stigma.

Standouts: Allison (Finger Lakes), Willa (Metropolitan), Kristina (Thousand Islands), Khajida (Heart of New York), and Mackenzie (Manhattan)

Talent:

  • Ashley Thakur, Flower City: played a classical piece recognized from Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” on violin. No background music.
  • Abigail Hoag, Apple Festival: a lyrical piece to See You Again
  • Meghan Cahill, Salt City: original monologue as the Little Mermaid, and a new version of happily ever after.
  • Olivia Martin, Greater NY:  speed painting to Thriller by MJ. Not choreographed and did not finish.
  • Emily Drooby, Empire Star: vocal performance of Hallelujah to honor the veterans.
  • Alexandra Harvey-Sprague, Mohawk Valley: a lyrical dance to Never Alone
  • Cedar Chambers, Niagara Frontier: an opera piece in an incredibly unique gown. Very eye catching performance.
  • Gabrielle Walter, Bluebird: a theatrical piece (Girl in 14G) from the perspective of a mouse
  • Lauren Crandall, Colonial: vocal performance of a doo-op swing version of Timber by Postmodern Jukebox
  • Shelley Jain, Upstate NY: a Bollywood dance in a bright pink dress
  • Meghan Sinisi, Syracuse: a self choreographed baton twirling routine to Limitless from Wicked. No drops.
  • Baylee Simpson, Buffalo: Ballet en pointe with tambourine to La Esmerelda
  • Jillian Larson, Excelsior: vocal performance of Home from Wicked in a perfectly emerald gown
  • Heather Wolf, Staten Island: an original monologue inspired by her friends who inspired her platform
  • Li Ling Rivera, Queens:  piano and dancing in a unique fusion performance to a Fur Elise remix

Standouts:

Flower City: Ashley has talent, no doubt, and chose a piece that people might recognize without choosing a pop modern song. Her unique gown brought personality to the stage. The only “flaw” was the lack of backtrack, which often pulls the performance together. Otherwise, flawless.

Upstate NY: Shelly’s performance was incredibly high energy and she has a great smile. Couldn’t help but wonder if she was subliminally compared to Nina Davuluri, which might have impacted her scoring. No way to tell.

Syracuse: Perfect song choice for Meghan’s baton twirling routine. High energy with no drops, and a beautiful smile that kept the audience on the edge of their seat until the end.

Buffalo: Baylee had near perfect execution of an iconic piece. Ballet en pointe is hard to enjoy for non-dancers, but the tambourine kept the excitement level there.

 

Evening Gown:

  • Amanda Abdagic, Empire Rose: a navy lace gown with intricate neckline and slicked back hair.
  • Allison Carlos, Finger Lakes:  a white beaded and lace low v gown similar to the popular jersey gown but with unique lace peekaboo around the knees.
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Erie Canal: a white gown with a Marilyn neckline halter, beaded waist, and lace skirt
  • Willa Hahn, Metropolitan: a fully sequined navy gown with a high neckline, low side slits, an open back and a fabulous train
  • Kristina Blackstock, Thousand Islands: a plum gown with square neckline, mesh side slits, low back and train. Very similar to Willa’s.
  • Abbey Naumowicz, NYS Fair: a strapless purple gown with beaded waist and low sweetheart neckline.
  • Cassie Paradise, Richmond County: a black and silver two piece with asymmetrical sparkles
  • Khadijah King, Heart of NY: a floral white ball gown with a simple beaded waistline.
  • Lauren Schwartzberg, Crown City: a simple jersey gown, blue, with swoop neck and low back. Similar to Willa/Kristina but different neckline.
  • Camille Sims, Pride of New York: a pale blue ball gown with interesting rouching up top and a simple beaded belt.
  • Rose Bolella, Liberty: a long sleeved lace dress with bell cuff wrists. Possibly a Mac Duggal.
  • Lexi Swatt, Fulton County: a wine colored velvet gown with fit and flare ruffled bottom
  • Ashley Davis, Copper City:  a sky blue jersey gown with ruffle peplum in the back and a criss-cross-esque top
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Manhattan: a strapless satin white gown with boning details on the sweetheart neckline.
  • Nina Zesky, Central New York: a jersey white gown with pink ruffle rose train accents, and gemstone chain accents across the neckline and back.

Standouts:

  • Finger Lakes: Allison’s gown was a unique variant of a popular gown, and her height and modeling skills show natural expertise.
  • Heart of New York: Khadijah has an effortless poise about her that really shines.
  • Central New York: Nina had my favorite gown of the night.

Preliminary Awards:

Blue Group Talent: ($250 Scholarship and 10k In-Kind) Meghan Sinisi, Miss Syracuse

Gold Group Swimsuit: ($250 Scholarship) Lauren Schwartzberg, Miss Crown City

Miss NY 2015 Preliminaries- Night 2

State Competitions

On-Stage Question:

The On-Stage Question portion of the Preliminary Competition was based on the girls’ platform. Although the thought was in the right place, because they should know their platform inside and out, it made the audience wonder who wrote the questions, and how they were selected based on the platform. An OSQ purist myself, I would have still liked to see the fishbowl with generic platform related questions, like what has been the most influential person you’ve been while on a platform related appearance? or What organization have you worked with the most, and what makes them important? Instead, many questions where either “yes or no” questions, or “What is” questions. On the other end, some of the questions almost didn’t seem to line up with the girl’s platform at all.  Some of the girls were very good at turning their answers into personal, strong answers, while others answered the questions as they were given. It was actually more difficult that it appeared.

  • Marivi Howell-Arza, Empire Star: Is the American dream still attainable?
  • Catherine Mannet, Queens: What are the frequent causes of illiteracy?
  • Madison Manuel, Empire Rose: What guidance would you give a bully?
  • Kyanna Lewis, Flower City: Why do you think many young women are reluctant to consider a career in STEM?
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Onondaga County: Why are so many young people not interested in the news?
  • Katelynn Smith, Central NY: What does SAFE TALK stand for?
  • Meghan Cahill, Altamont Fair: What is krav maga?
  • Cassie Paradise, Southern Tier: What is an early sign of a child that has autism?
  • Anastasia Harisis, Salt City: How can we address the idea that STEM is uncool?
  • Julia Simoniello, Richmond County: Why is art education important in school?
  • Meghan Sinisi, Liberty: Why is the puzzle piece a symbol for autism awareness?
  • Allison Carlos, Thousand Islands: What challenges are there in being a foster parent?
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Cosmopolitan: Why is it important for the entertainment industry to give back?
  • Ashley Davis, Five Boroughs: Do you support genetic testing for Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • Nina Zesky, Heart of NY: How can we create schools with safety while maintaining the nurturing environment?

Standouts:

  • Queens- Catherine was able to not only list the causes of illiteracy, but then spun her answer to include the groups she has worked with and how she has been able to help improve literacy programs.
  • Altamont Fair- Meghan could have answered her question 8 words (Krav Maga is a form of self defense), but that would have told us nothing about her. Instead, she told us about why self-defense is important, and went on to take a moment to thank Governor Cuomo for his initiatives to put a stop to sexual assault on college campuses through the Enough is Enough campaign. She may have given the best OSQ of both nights.
  • Thousand Islands- Allison had just written a blog post earlier in the week about how she had been able to reunite Sweet Pea (her 4 year old foster daughter) with her biological mother. Her OSQ answer explained that the reunification process is very important, but that she is glad that these children are able to be reunited. It was very emotional, but genuine.

Swimsuit:

The contestants wore bright purple swimsuits, sponsored by Kandice Pelletier- former Miss New York. During this night, we spotted no less than five tattoos! It is very encouraging that girls are no longer feeling pressured to cover tattoos, and are letting their unique expressions shine through.

Standouts: Jamie Hughes, Desiree, and Baylee

  • Crown City- Jamie H. is tall, with an essentially perfect body. She isn’t just skinny, but has a balance of muscle that paired with her great confidence and flawless walk, she could have easily been on the runway.
  • Buffalo- Desiree has muscles like none other. Her body is the epitome of toned, and her even her biceps have definition. She could easily compete in fitness competitors.
  • Fulton County- Baylee has a very natural body. As a dancer, her legs have definition in places that working out can’t achieve. She was confident, but not in an overly rehearsed way, and has an incredible walk.

Talent:

  • Marivi Howell-Arza, Empire Star: performed a Broadway vocal song “Everything’s Coming up Roses”
  • Catherine Mannet, Queens: performed an LED Hoop Dance to a remix of Lights by Ellis Goulding
  • Madison Manuel, Empire Rose: played a classical song on the electric violin.
  • Kyanna Lewis, Flower City: performed a modern hoop dance to Uptown Funk
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Onondaga County: sang That’s Life by Frank Sinatra
  • Katelynn Smith, Central NY: a self choreographed contemporary clogging routine to Tina Turners “Proud Mary”
  • Meghan Cahill, Altamont Fair: performed a jazz-like self defense routine integrating krava maga, tumbling, and a punching bag
  • Cassie Paradise, Southern Tier: performed a Broadway Jazz Dance to “All That Jazz”
  • Anastasia Harisis, Salt City: sang Let Me Be Your Star from Smash
  • Julia Simoniello, Richmond County: sang a unique rendition of At Last while accompanying herself in the acoustic guitar
  • Meghan Sinisi, Liberty: twirled a self choreographed baton routine to Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend
  • Allison Carlos, Thousand Islands: tap danced to an upbeat dance song “Le Boum Boum Boum”
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Cosmopolitan: sang a classical vocal song “If I Loved You”
  • Ashley Davis, Five Boroughs: performed a lyrical routine to Hiding Under Water, using a park bench as a prop
  • Nina Zesky, Heart of NY: performed a self choreographed acro jazz routine to “Feeling Good”

Standouts:

  • Onondaga County- Earlier in the season, Jessica sang more upbeat Broadway songs. They were good, and earned her Top 5 placements. However, this song was more of a sultry jazz tune, and truly highlighted both her vocal range and talent.
  • Central New York- Katelynn performed a very similar routine as the one at Miss Central New York, but with slight adjustments. Instead of the first 15 seconds facing the back, she turned front and made eye contact with the judges. The clogging was highly entertaining and extremely active, yet she did not show any signs of fatigue at the end.
  • Southern Tier- Cassie chose a great cut of the song that highlighted a high energy jazz routine, but also allowed the integration of some great jumps.

Evening Gown:

  • Willa Hahn, Erie Canal: a blue criss-cross top gown with ruffled mermaid bottom and open back
  • Emma Silen, NYS Fair: red strapless gown with heavily sequined top and adorable red bow in the back
  • Hilary Peckham, Triple Cities: a blue fit and,flare with sequined illusion neckline and silver accent belt
  • Jamie Hughes, Crown City: a purple wide-V mermaid with a very long train
  • Jamie Machia, Greater NY: a white wide V with low extension and open V back
  • Lauren Crandall, Upstate NY: a blue gown with asymmetric illusion swirls and gems on the back.
  • Kristina King, Miss Central Square Apple Festival:a red wide V similar to Jamie M’s
  • Kristen Stilwel, Manhattan: a velvet blue scoop neck an skinny straps
  • Desiree Wiley, Buffalo: a turquoise cap sleeve with sweetheart neckline
  • Kerisa Bonville, Finger Lakes: a strapless white peplum with sparkles hidden throughout
  • Katlyn Cohen, Staten Island: a one shoulder gown with black bottom and silver sparkles and nude-illusion bodice
  • Tracee Schiebel, Mohawk Valley: a black gown with open back and nude illusion accents on the sides
  • Anneliese Trust, Syracuse: red gown with super sparkly high neckline and cape-like overskirt at the waist
  • Baylee Simpson, Fulton County: a blue V with heavily sparkled illusion neckline and keyhole back

Favorite Gowns:

  • Erie Canal: Willa’s gown was unlike any other. It was fitted perfectly on the top, the ruffle mermaid tail were large and perfectly designed, and the top was extremely flattering.
  • Upstate New York: Lauren’s gown was also unique, with a shimmery jersey material, the asymmetric illusion top, and fitted skirt. Plus, she handmade matching earrings and customized the back with gems.

Standouts:

  • Crown City: Jamie’s gown had an extremely long train, and she handled it well. Coming down the stairs, the cape-like train flowed with ease, and she flipped with with flare.
  • Buffalo: When Desiree walked on the stage there was a “ohh” in the crowd. Even though there were many blue gowns, this turquoise was completely unique, and the neckline was very unique. The color was perfect for her skin tone, and she walked with extreme elegance.
  • Syracuse: Anneliese was extremely comfortable in her gown and let the skirt flow at the turns.

Preliminary Awards:

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Blue Group Talent:($250 Scholarship and 10k In-Kind) Mackenzie Perpich, Miss Cosmopolitan

Gold Group Swimsuit: ($250 Scholarship) TIE Desiree Wiley, Miss Buffalo and Jamie Hughes, Miss Crown City

Miss NY 2015 Preliminaries- Night 1

State Competitions

On-Stage Question:

The On-Stage Question portion of the Preliminary Competition was based on the girls’ platform. Although the thought was in the right place, because they should know their platform inside and out, it made the audience wonder who wrote the questions, and how they were selected based on the platform. An OSQ purist myself, I would have still liked to see the fishbowl with generic platform related questions, like what has been the most influential person you’ve been while on a platform related appearance? or What organization have you worked with the most, and what makes them important? Instead, many questions where either “yes or no” questions, or “What is” questions. On the other end, some of the questions almost didn’t seem to line up with the girl’s platform at all.  Some of the girls were very good at turning their answers into personal, strong answers, while others answered the questions as they were given. It was actually more difficult that it appeared.

  • Willa Hahn, Erie Canal: Why are young people uninterested in politics and what can we do?
  • Emma Silen, NYS Fair: What is Athlete Allies?
  • Hilary Peckham, Triple Cities: Should music be a part of academics?
  • Jamie Hughes, Crown City: How does Project Purple prevent substance abuse?
  • Jamie Machia, Greater NY: What is the goal of Truth 365
  • Lauren Crandall, Upstate NY: What does EASY stand for?
  • Kristina King, Central Square Apple Festival: What would you tell a friend struggling with an eating disorder?
  • Kristen Stilwell, Manhattan: What is He For She?
  • Desiree Wiley, Buffalo: Do you think cities need curfews?
  • Kerisa Bonville, Finger Lakes: What treatments are available for people with anxiety and depression?
  • Katlyn Cohen, Staten Island: What about people who text at a stoplight?
  • Tracee Schiebel, Mohawk Valley: What is the Hunger Project?
  • Anneliese Trust, Syracuse: What are some of the positive effects you’ve witnessed through the Big Brother Big Sister program?
  • Baylee Simpson, Fulton County: What does CREATE stand for and what does it do?

Standouts:

  • Manhattan- Kristin was able to tell us what the campaign is, but also how it impacts her platform.
  • Finger Lakes- Kerisa gave us the 3 options, and explained each one, without rambling or speeding up.
  • Syracuse- Anneliese gave a very solid set of examples, and explained the personal impact.

Swimsuit:

The contestants wore bright purple swimsuits, sponsored by Kandice Pelletier- former Miss New York and swimswear designer.

Standouts: Kyanna (Flower City) & Katelynn (CNY)

Talent:

  • Willa Hahn, Erie Canal: performed an operatic vocal song from La Boheme.
  • Emma Silen, NYS Fair: performed a comedic monologue from Young and Reckless.
  • Hilary Peckham, Triple Cities: played an original version of Boogie Woogie on piano.
  • Jamie Hughes, Crown City: sang Like My Mother Does.
  • Jamie Machia, Greater NY: performed a lyrical dance to “I Was Here” by Beyonce.
  • Lauren Crandall, Upstate NY: performed a custom rendition of But They Just Keep Moving the Line from Smash.
  • Kristina King, Central Square Apple Festival: performed a musical theater piece to Roxie
  • Kristen Stilwel, Manhattan: performed a lyrical dance to Heaven is a Place on Earth.
  • Desiree Wiley, Buffalo: performed a jazz dance to Hit Me With a Hot Note.
  • Kerisa Bonville, Finger Lakes: performed an acoustic vocal with guitar to I Wanna Dance With Somebody
  • Katlyn Cohen, Staten Island: performed a monologue from the last scene in The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Tracee Schiebel, Mohawk Valley: performed a tap dance to Love Shack.
  • Anneliese Trust, Syracuse: performed a jazz dance.
  • Baylee Simpson, Fulton County: performed Esmeralda ballet en Pointe with a tambourine.

Standouts:

Buffalo- Desiree has a lot of energy on stage, and her personality really shines through. Her dance makes you want to watch.

Upstate New York- Lauren’s alto selection and simple choreography was different from the previous vocal selections, and showed confidence and entertaining quality.

Staten Island- Even though the scene is somewhat emotional, Katlyn was able to channel that emotion and give incredible facial expressions.

Evening Gown:

  • Marivi Howell-Arza, Empire Star: a long sleeved red gown with heavily beaded bodice
  • Catherine Mannet, Queens: a strapless mermaid with full sequined body, feathery tail, and corset back.
  • Madison Manuel, Empire Rose: a blue Mac Duggal with asymetric peplum, open back, and beaded bodice
  • Kyanna Lewis, Flower City: a white gown with gold gems and decorative bottom
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Onondaga County: a red 3-quarter sleeve with sparkles in sleeve and beaded accent on waist
  • Katelynn Smith, Central NY: a Grecian looking gown with fully sparkled top and silver belt
  • Meghan Cahill, Altamont Fair: a blue sweetheart with silver illusion neckline
  • Cassie Paradise, Southern Tier: a red V neck and back with chainlike accents
  • Anastasia Harisis, Salt City: a navy long sleeved gown with high sparkly neckline and keyhole open back.
  • Julia Simoniello, Richmond County: a navy V-neck with wide back and super sparkly V
  • Meghan Sinisi, Liberty: a black gown with white off shoulder “sash”-like detail.
  • Allison Carlos, Thousand Islands: a long sleeved black gown with wide V neck, open back, and sparkle accents
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Cosmopolitan: a simple red one shoulder with ruffles on the back
  • Ashley Davis, Five Boroughs: a bubblegum-pink V with skinny straps, and sparkly top with silver sparkle waist accent
  • Nina Zesky, Heart of NY: a red cap sleeved gown with keyhole back, silver bodice, and necklace looking neckline

Standouts:

  • Flower City- Kyanna has a very effortless poise, and glides across the stage. She didn’t even hesitate on the stairs.
  • Central New York- Katelynn’s gown was very flattering, and the belt set it apart.
  • Thousand Islands- Allison is very strong at posing and angling her body, and does it naturally.

Preliminary Awards:

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Blue Group Talent: ($250 Scholarship and 10k In-Kind) TIE Jamie Lynn Macchia, Miss Greater New York and Desiree Wiley, Miss Buffalo

Gold Group Swimsuit: ($250 Scholarship) Katelynn Smith, Miss Central New York

Miss America Preliminaries

National Competitions

Even though I am not participating in Miss America this year (I have two more years to get there. Who knows, maybe I will.), I do follow Miss America Organization, Laura Kaeppeler, Teresa Scanlan, various pageant coaches, and at least 50 of this year’s Miss America contestants. This means I get countless perspectives on all things pageants.

Which is important because this week is Miss America!