VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - On Sunday, 45 contestants arrived in Vicksburg for the beginning of competition week at Miss Mississippi 2019. There were many changes last year for Miss America and this year there are changes at the state level.
The week begins Sunday with rehearsals for production numbers. Judge's interviews begin Monday morning for the first group of contestants. This year there is one area judges will not give a score. There is no swimsuit competition at Miss Mississippi 2019.
David Blackledge, Chairman of the Miss Mississippi Board and Executive Director said, "for 61 years we've had swimwear here, but for year number 62 we will not have that competition. We will have [the] private interview this year and also the talent."
Swimsuit was eliminated last year at Miss America. This year at Miss Mississippi the judges and audience will hear more about the Social Impact Initiatives of each contestant.
"We'll have on stage question and then evening wear with a ten second Social Impact Statement from each candidate. Talent has moved up to fifty percent on the preliminary nights from 35% so that there's more emphasis placed on talent on the preliminary nights. So we're just looking forward to a great competition. We have 45 outstanding young ladies from around our state and it's going to be a great competition”, Blackledge said.
Of the 45 contestants six from the Top 10 in 2018 are back and two preliminary winners who tied in Talent last year, Molly May, Miss Dixie, and Charity Lockridge, Miss Pride of the South.
Lockridge said, "I worked so hard and most importantly I got on stage and I did not perform that song. That was a song where I went into complete praise and worship."
“Singing is something that I very much consider a passion. And so when you're rewarded for singing and opening yourself up and being vulnerable on stage and then having, and being rewarded for it, it's so fulfilling”, May said.
There’s another change, the Miss America Pageant is also returning to the NBC network. You will be able to watch the new Miss Mississippi compete for the national title on WLBT. But so far no decision has been made on a date or location.