Miss USA 1997 (Jayverse)

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Miss USA 1997, the 46th Miss USA pageant, was held at Shreveport, Louisiana in January and February, 1997. Delegates arrived in the city on January 19, the preliminary competition was held on February 2, 1997 and the final competition on February 5, 1997. The event, held at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum was broadcast live on UBC.

At the conclusion of the final competition, Brook Lee of Hawaii was crowned by outgoing titleholder Ali Landry of Louisiana, becoming the fourth Hawaiian to win the Miss USA pageant and the first win in 19 years, since Judi Andersen in Miss USA 1978. After Lee won the Miss Universe 1997 title three months later, first runner-Up Brandi Sherwood of Idaho inherited the Miss USA title. Sherwood became the first Miss Teen USA winner (Miss Teen USA 1989) and the third Miss Teen USA state delegate in a row to hold the Miss USA title. Upon Sherwood inheriting the Miss USA 1997 title, she also became the first Idaho delegate to hold the Miss USA title.

The pageant was held in Shreveport, Louisiana for the first time, having been held in South Padre Island, Texas the previous three years and in Wichita, Kansas the four years prior. The new location was announced in August 1996, and then reigning Miss USA, Louisiana native Ali Landry, was invited to attend the official contract signing.

Just prior to the final event it was announced that Music Director Tom Bahler creating a new music package titled "TB 2.0" which will use all cover versions of popular hits being sung by the Contestants Competing for the Crown along with the Troupe beginning with the 1997 Miss USA Pageant.

The pageant was hosted by David Sidoni (since he became the new host of Wheel of Fortune on UBC Daytime in September 1996 and Wheel 2000 which is a Saturday Morning Version of Wheel of Fortune for kids), with America's Junior Miss of 1980 Julie Moran and Lesley Visser from UBC's Monday Night Football, offered colour commentary for the only time. Randy Newman provided entertainment during the competition.

While the delegates were in Louisiana, over sixty corporate sponsors provided funding for events, which included dinners, receptions and cocktail parties. There were over three hundred volunteers involved. The delegates were involved in more than forty-five hours of rehearsals prior to the preliminary competition and final show.

This was the first year in which delegates were allowed to choose whether they wanted to wear one-piece or two-piece bathing suits for the preliminary and final swimsuit competitions. In previous years, the delegates were all assigned to only wear either one or the other.

Results

Placements

Final Results Contestant
Miss USA 1997
  • Hawaii - Brook Lee
1st Runner-Up
  • Idaho - Brandi Sherwood
2nd Runner-Up
  • Tennessee - Towanna Stone
Top 6
  • Florida - Angelia Savage
  • Texas - Amanda Little
  • Utah - Temple Taggart
Top 10
  • Rhode Island - Claudia Jordan
  • Alabama - Autumn Smith
  • New Jersey - Jennifer Makris
  • Oklahoma - Trisha Stillwell

Lee won Miss Universe 1997. Due to protocol, Lee resigns her title as Miss USA 1997. 1st runner-up, Brandi Sherwood, replaces her as Miss USA.

Special awards

  • Miss Congeniality - Napiera Groves (District of Columbia)
  • Miss Photogenic - Audra Wilks (Virginia)
  • Best in Swimsuit - Angelia Savage (Florida)

Historical significance

  • Hawaii wins competition for the fourth time.
  • Idaho earns the 1st runner-up position for the first time and surpasses its previous highest placement in 1964. Also it became the 25th state who wins the Miss USA title for the first time. She finished as 1st runner-up, but succeeded as Miss USA 1997 after Brook Lee became Miss Universe.
  • Tennessee earns the 2nd runner-up position for the fourth time and repeats the same position as the last year 1996.
  • Florida finishes as Top 6 for the second time. The last time it placed this was in 1995.
  • Texas finishes as Top 6 for the second time. The last time it placed this was in 1994. Also it reached its highest placement since Chelsi Smith won in 1995. Ironically, Smith went on to win the Miss Universe title in 1995.
  • Utah finishes as Top 6 for the first time and reaches its highest placement since 1982.
  • States that placed in semifinals the previous year were Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
  • Texas placed for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Oklahoma placed for the third consecutive year.
  • Tennessee and Utah made their second consecutive placement.
  • Florida and Rhode Island last placed in 1995.
  • Hawaii last placed in 1994.
  • New Jersey last placed in 1993.
  • Alabama last placed in 1992.
  • Idaho last placed in 1964.
  • Illinois and Louisiana break an ongoing streak of placements since 1994.

Scores

Preliminary competition

The following are the contestants' scores in the preliminary competition.

State Interview Swimsuit Evening gown Average
Alabama 9.02 8.77 8.78 8.85
Alaska 8.18 7.45 7.72 7.78
Arizona 8.33 8.12 8.64 8.36
Arkansas 8.51 8.89 8.74 8.71
California 8.86 8.26 8.32 8.48
Colorado 8.27 7.94 8.48 8.23
Connecticut 8.34 8.81 8.81 8.65
Delaware 8.49 8.40 8.64 8.51
District of Columbia 8.64 8.50 8.65 8.60
Florida 9.44 8.95 9.13 9.17
Georgia 8.18 8.35 8.50 8.34
Hawaii 9.15 8.87 9.09 9.03
Idaho 8.63 8.83 9.19 8.88
Illinois 8.26 8.26 8.54 8.35
Indiana 8.51 8.66 8.71 8.63
Iowa 8.38 7.96 8.14 8.16
Kansas 8.96 8.49 8.34 8.60
Kentucky 8.51 8.45 8.89 8.62
Louisiana 8.77 8.41 8.60 8.59
Maine 8.30 8.37 8.30 8.32
Maryland 8.71 8.75 8.68 8.70
Massachusetts 8.55 8.31 8.37 8.41
Michigan 8.94 7.85 7.88 8.22
Minnesota 8.74 8.22 8.65 8.54
Mississippi 8.31 8.14 8.05 8.17
Missouri 8.69 8.75 8.77 8.74
Montana 8.70 8.64 8.66 8.67
Nebraska 8.80 7.67 7.76 8.08
Nevada 8.76 8.67 8.72 8.72
New Hampshire 8.67 7.91 7.30 7.96
New Jersey 9.02 8.47 8.81 8.76
New Mexico 8.18 8.46 8.37 8.34
New York 8.69 8.41 8.49 8.53
North Carolina 8.65 8.07 8.10 8.27
North Dakota 8.67 8.23 8.23 8.38
Ohio 8.98 8.07 8.29 8.45
Oklahoma 9.17 9.13 9.23 9.17
Oregon 8.99 7.63 7.61 8.08
Pennsylvania 8.66 8.36 8.24 8.42
Rhode Island 9.35 9.06 9.15 9.18
South Carolina 8.54 8.06 8.40 8.33
South Dakota 8.28 8.13 8.43 8.28
Tennessee 9.28 9.08 8.96 9.11
Texas 8.87 8.79 9.04 8.89
Utah 9.19 8.94 8.86 8.99
Vermont 8.54 7.97 7.89 8.13
Virginia 9.05 8.28 8.59 8.64
Washington 8.32 8.67 8.83 8.61
West Virginia 8.04 8.69 8.66 8.46
Wisconsin 8.56 7.89 7.45 7.97
Wyoming 8.14 7.60 7.87 7.87

Final competition

hideState Interview Swimsuit Evening Gown Average Finalists
Idaho 9.300 9.511 9.303 9.371 9.624
Tennessee 9.473 9.589 9.474 9.512 9.553
Hawaii 9.514 9.330 9.473 9.439 9.450
Florida 9.308 9.724 9.737 9.590 9.443
Texas 9.314 9.383 9.531 9.409 9.353
Utah 9.207 9.657 9.397 9.420 9.279
Rhode Island 9.336 9.327 9.419 9.360
Alabama 9.193 9.556 9.293 9.347
New Jersey 9.314 9.231 9.424 9.323
Oklahoma 9.054 9.284 9.149 9.162

Delegates

The Miss USA 1997 delegates were:

  • Alabama – Autumn Smith
  • Alaska – Rea Bavilla
  • Arizona – Jessica Shahriari
  • Arkansas – Tamara Henry
  • California – Alisa Kimble
  • Colorado – Damien Muñoz
  • Connecticut – Christine Pavone
  • Delaware – Patricia Gauani
  • District of Columbia – Napiera Groves
  • Florida – Angelia Savage
  • Georgia – Denesha Reid
  • Hawaii – Brook Lee
  • Idaho – Brandi Sherwood
  • Illinois – Jennifer Celenas
  • Indiana – Tricia Nosko
  • Iowa – Shawn Marie Brogan
  • Kansas – Kathryn Taylor
  • Kentucky – Rachyl Hoskins
  • Louisiana – Nikole Viola
  • Maine – Stephanie Worcester
  • Maryland – Ann Coale
  • Massachusetts – Jennifer Chapman
  • Michigan – Jennifer Reed
  • Minnesota – Melissa Hall
  • Mississippi – Arleen McDonald
  • Missouri – Amanda Jahn
  • Montana – Christin Didier
  • Nebraska – Kim Weir
  • Nevada – Ninya Perna
  • New Hampshire – Gretchen Durgin
  • New Jersey – Jennifer Makris
  • New Mexico – Tanya Harris
  • New York – Ramona Reuter
  • North Carolina – Crystal McLaurin-Coney
  • North Dakota – Lauri Marie Gapp
  • Ohio – Michelle Mouser
  • Oklahoma – Trisha Stillwell
  • Oregon – Heather Williams
  • Pennsylvania – Cara Bernosky
  • Rhode Island – Claudia Jordan
  • South Carolina – Casey Mizell
  • South Dakota – Jamie Swenson
  • Tennessee – Towanna Stone
  • Texas – Amanda Little
  • Utah – Temple Taggart
  • Vermont – Lisa Constantino
  • Virginia – Audra Wilks
  • Washington – Sara Nicole Williams
  • West Virginia – Natalie Bevins
  • Wisconsin – Tara Marie Johnson
  • Wyoming – Stacy Dawn Cenedese

Troupe

Those Troupe Members who performed with the 51 Contestants during the Production Numbers in this live telecast are: Lindsley Allen, Robin Antin, Carmit Bachar, Kimberly Barnes, Carissa Blair, Melanie Breedlove, Debbie Delhomme, Nadine Ellis, Jennifer Gibson, Tamyra Gray, Shawnae Jebbia, Shannon Jones, Diane Klimaszewski, Elaine Klimaszewski, Ursula Lawson (in her final year as a troupe member), Nicole Llewellyn, LaToya London, Amanda Olivares, Staci Outhouse, Kelli Paarz, Bridget Richard, Kristen Simi, Jamie Solinger, Elizabeth Sturgeon, Stefanie Sweeney, Michelle Thompson, Katherine Tucker, Bree Turner, Jaymie Webb, Tiffany Westland, Letra Wilson, Netra Wilson

Performance Music

Opening Number: "Fantasy" by The 1997 Miss USA Contestants and Troupe (Cover Version originally sung by Mariah Carey)

Swimsuit Performance: TBA

Evening Gown Performance: TBA

Crowning Moment when Brook Lee is Named Miss USA 1997: "Ironic" by Michelle Mouser & Bree Turner (Cover Version originally sung by Alanis Morrisette)

Crossovers

Ten delegates had previously competed in either the Miss Teen USA or Miss America pageants.

Delegates who had previously held a Miss Teen USA state title were:

  • Brandi Sherwood (Idaho) - Miss Idaho Teen USA 1989 and Miss Teen USA 1989
  • Claudia Jordan (Rhode Island) - Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 1990
  • Autumn Smith (Alabama) - Miss Alabama Teen USA 1993
  • Audra Wilks (Virginia) - Miss Virginia Teen USA 1988
  • Michelle Mouser (Ohio) - Miss Ohio Teen USA 1991
  • Arlene McDonald (Mississippi) - Miss Mississippi Teen USA 1992 (Top 12 Semi-Finalist at Miss Teen USA 1992)
  • Danesha Reed (Georgia) - Miss Georgia Teen USA 1993 (Top 6 Finalist at Miss Teen USA 1993)
  • Gretchen Jurgin (New Hampshire) - Miss New Hampshire Teen USA 1993

Delegates who had previously held a Miss America state title were:

  • Jennifer Makris (New Jersey) - Miss New Jersey 1994 (Second runner-up at Miss America 1995)
  • Stacy Dawn Cenedese (Wyoming) - Miss Wyoming 1992
  • Tamara Henry (Arkansas) competed on RuPaul's Drag U Season 3 "Ex Beauty Queens" and Won.

Troupe Members who went to compete or previously compete at any other national pageant

  • Carissa Blair - Miss Texas Teen USA 1992, Miss Texas USA 1999
  • Melanie Breedlove - Miss Missouri Teen USA 1993, Miss Missouri USA 1998
  • Debbie Delhomme - Miss Louisiana USA 1998
  • Shawnae Jebbia - Miss Massachusetts USA 1998, Miss USA 1998
  • Ursula Lawson - Dream Girl USA 1987 Winner
  • Nicole Llewellyn - Miss Indiana Teen USA 1992, Miss Indiana USA 1998
  • Kelli Paarz - Miss New Jersey Teen USA 1994, Miss New Jersey USA 1998
  • Jamie Solinger - Miss Iowa Teen USA 1992, Miss Iowa USA 1998
  • Stefanie Sweeney - Miss California Teen USA 1993

Troupe Members who went on to compete on American Idol were:

  • Tamyra Gray - Season 1 (2002) finished 4th
  • LaToya London - Season 3 (2004) finished 4th

Judges

  • Michael Andretti
  • Ingrid Casares
  • Gayle Gurchiek
  • Nick Lowery
  • Frédéric Fekkai
  • Madison
  • Philip G. Satre
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa