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Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell and Miss Iowa Taylor Webers , wins final night preliminary awards in Miss America

ATLANTIC, NJ (FNN News) – During the third and final night of preliminary competition at the 2016 Miss America Competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was named Thursday’s preliminary Talent winner for her operatic vocal performance of Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio. Betty will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Also capturing the spotlight was Miss Iowa Taylor Wiebers who was the preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness winner. Taylor will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Miss Iowa

Miss Iowa Taylor Wiebers won the preliminary Talent award on Tuesday night and Lifestyle & Fitness swimsuit award on Thursday night. Photo by J Willie David, III, Florida National News

Miss Iowa has a right to be excited tonight. She’s the only contestant to win two awards during the three night preliminary competitions.

On the final night of competitions before the Miss America finale on Sept. 13, when 52 contestants will be narrowed down to the top few. At the end of the night, Miss America 2016 will be crowned.

The final pageant will be broadcast live from the Atlantic City venue starting at 9 p.m.

Thursday night was also about major announcements: Miss America Organization Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell announced that the iconic song of Miss America, “There She Is” will be coming back to the Miss America stage on Sunday’s finale.

Contestants performed based on their groups: The Mu group showed off their talents, the Alphas wore swim suits and evening wear, and the Sigmas answered questions in the on-stage interview.

Thursday night’s talents varied, starting with the choreography – Miss Connecticut Colleen Ward’s Irish step dancing, to baton twirling by Holly Blanchard, Miss New Hampshire, and Miss Oregon Ali Wallace’s lyrical performance to Sam Smith’s “Latch.”

Vocals were just as mixed. Savannah Lane, and Haely Jardas, Miss District of Columbia, put an old Hollywood spin on Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

Miss America Night 3: Unique Talents

MAO Puerto Rico

Miss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez drummed to the beat of “Wipeout” by Surfairis at the 2016 Miss America Competition, Thursday, September 10, 2015. Photo by J Willie David, III, Florida National News

MAO Vermont

Miss Vermont Alayna Westcom, brought in her science experiment on stage – combusting hydrogen peroxide, and causing foam to burst forth from tubes and cylinders at the 2016 Miss America Competition,, Thursday, September 10, 2015. Photo by J Willie David, III, Florida National News

Some of the more unique talents came in the non-singing, non-dancing range. Miss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez drummed to the beat of “Wipeout” by Surfairis.  Alayna Westcom, Miss Vermont, brought in her medical background by demonstrating a science experiment on stage – combusting hydrogen peroxide, and causing foam to burst forth from tubes and cylinders.

 Miss South Carolina Dana Dial spoke about her platform on Diabetes Awareness, saying that both patients and doctors need to be held accountable in order for the number of diagnoses to drop.

In previous nights, both Miss Florida Mary Katherine Fechtel and Dial won swimsuit and fitness preliminary awards; Wiebers and Miss Louisiana both won talent awards for vocal performances.

Before the final pageant, contestants will participate in the Miracle Mile Walk and the Show Us Your Shoes parade, both along the Boardwalk, Saturday, September 12, 2015.

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