With a red cup, she becomes Miss America Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, top, crowns Miss New York Kira Kazantsev as Miss America 2015 (AP photos)
With a red cup, she becomes Miss America
Lexile

Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, won the Miss America pageant Sunday night, with the help of a red plastic cup.

For her talent performance, Kazantsev sang Pharrell Williams' "Happy" while sitting cross-legged on the stage and banging a red plastic cup on the floor. That immediately touched off a furor on social media networks, where many were critical of her performance.

Kazantsev said she was inspired by the 2012 movie "Pitch Perfect," in which Anna Kendrick's character auditions for an a capella group by performing rhythmically with a cup. She also said she did it to show future contestants they can win the Miss America pageant by performing whatever talent routine they like, regardless of what others think of it.

"I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent you can do whatever talent you want on national television even with a red cup and still be Miss America and have the time of your life," Kazantsev said. "I literally in that minute and 30 seconds had the most fun I've ever had, and that's because I stayed true to myself and I did what I wanted to do for my talent, no matter what everybody else told me, and it paid off. I'm very happy about it."

Kazantsev named combating sexual assault in the military as the issue about which she would want female U.S. senators to press their male counterparts. She won a $50,000 scholarship with which she plans to attend law school.

She also plans to speak out against domestic violence during her yearlong reign as Miss America.

Her victory marked the third year in a row that a contestant from her state has walked away with the crown.

Kazantsev will begin a schedule this week that will see her travel 20,000 miles a month.

The first runner-up was Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett.

Other top 5 finalists were Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell; Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen; and Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn.

Miss North Dakota, Jacky Arness, was chosen by her peers as Miss Congeniality.

Critical thinking challenge: The continental United States is about 3,000 miles wide. Why will Miss America travel 20,000 miles per month?

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COMMENTS (51)
  • RM00charlie
    9/16/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    miss America will travel 20000 miles because she wont just be going across country she will be traveling everywhere . jumping form state to state not just straight across.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    9/16/2014 - 01:30 p.m.

    Doing a cup song was probably really not common in a pageant type deal. Hence, the reason the judges must have liked it so much.. Plus she just has cute written all over face

  • nhshannahk-Ste
    9/17/2014 - 12:29 p.m.

    I think what Miss New York, now Miss America, is trying to convey is that anything is possible, and its important to always stay true to yourself, now matter what others may think.

  • RileyE-Bri
    9/17/2014 - 04:33 p.m.

    Its crazy to think that someone could win something like that just using a simple red cup. I wonder what the talent will be for next year.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    9/17/2014 - 06:44 p.m.

    It is really cool to know that Miss American partly won because or her version of a song using cups. It does show future contestants and anyone really that you don't have to go with the flow or do what everyone is expecting you to do. Sometimes you have to do what you like to do whether that something is ordinary, a little weird, or very hard. What you like to do partly defines who you are so make the most of what you are good at.

  • ElleW-3
    9/17/2014 - 11:11 p.m.

    This article about the new Miss. America is about Miss. New York wining the pageant by singing and making noises with a cup. This young girl sat on the floor with her legs crossed and she sang Pharrel Williams's song Happy while she made noises with a plastic cup. To make these noises she would tap the cup on the floor in a certain pattern. This one talent section won this girl the whole pageant. All the young girls around the country voted for her because of her talents. I think that girl wasn't the best singer, but her other talent really brought out her talents. This was a great way to win over the votes.

  • JamesW-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    I think the reason why she'll travel 20,000 miles per month is because she'll be going across the country multiple times a month. That is almost 7 times per month.

  • KaylaM-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:10 p.m.

    Kira Kazantsev also known as "Miss America" will be traveling 20,000 miles per month because she is going all around the country to speak out about domestic violence.

  • DaltonL-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:10 p.m.

    Miss America will travel 20,000 miles per month because she will be visiting lots of states and not just traveling straight across the country. She will be moving up, down, to the left, and to the right in her travel, not just one direction.

  • KimberlyV-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:11 p.m.

    Miss America will travel 20,000 miles per month so that she can spread what she has to say every where. She may even go to some places multiple times.

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