Miss America Pageant: DC And Tennessee Contestants Earn Wins

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The remaining preliminary stages will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the victor crowned during a televised contest in the United States on Sunday.

Miss Tennessee's rendition of Desperado has earned her a $2,000 scholarship at the Miss America pageant. Miss Tennessee, Grace Burgess, left, and Miss District of Columbia, Cierra Jackson, right, won the Talent and Style & Fitness portions of the first night of Miss America Preliminaries, Tuesday, Se. The new Miss America will be crowned on Sunday.

"It pays for those mortgages and auto payments so all their attention is on these children who have cancer", she said.

'I felt it was up to me to try my best to carry on his legacy, ' she said.

"You let your light shine and then other people are able to see that", Jackson said following her win.

Miss Rhode Island stood out with a Bollywood-inspired dance, where she wore a face mask.

Cierra Jackson Miss America Swimsuit Winner
Miss America Pageant: DC And Tennessee Contestants Earn Wins

Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis performed the song that helped her claim the state title, "A Piece of Sky" by Barbra Streisand.

But it wasn't all quips: Each contestant also offered up a deeper cause that they hoped to promote if they were declared Miss America.

Supporting the military, helping children and seniors figured prominently in the onstage interviews some of the contestants gave.

"One piano can create 1,000 musicians", she said.

Miss Michigan, Arianna Quan, spoke about immigration and helping people show pride in their heritage.

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