Miss America 2008

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Miss America 2008
Kirsten Haglund headshot.png
Date January 26, 2008
Presenters Mark Steines
Venue Planet Hollywood Performing Arts Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Broadcaster TLC
Winner Kirsten Haglund
Michigan Michigan
← 2007
2009 →

Miss America 2008, the 81st Miss America pageant, was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on January 26, 2008.

The pageant was broadcast live on TLC from the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, only the third time that the pageant has been held outside Atlantic City.

Kirsten Haglund (Michigan) was crowned Miss America 2008 by Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson.

Selection of contestants[edit]

One delegate from each state was chosen in state pageants held in mid-2007. Prior to competing in state pageants, the majority of delegates first were required to win a local title. Each delegate's title is pre-dated to 2007, for example Jamie Langley is "Miss Alabama 2007" rather than "Miss Alabama 2008." Many contestants competed in state pageants in both the Miss America and Miss USA systems numerous times before they won titles. Some previously competed in states other than those where they won a state title.

All contestants had to be between 17 and 24 years old, unmarried, and a citizen of the United States. They had to meet residency and education requirements.

Miss America: Reality Check[edit]

The pageant's new network, TLC, premiered a four-week reality competition Miss America: Reality Check on January 4, 2008, hosted by Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie. The premise of the show is to show the contestants preparing for the pageant and to update the image of the Miss America pageant, which had seen a decline in popularity over the last few decades. In addition, viewers were able to vote online and choose one of the delegates to be a finalist in the pageant.[1]


All delegates compete in an interview competition with the judges, based on their platform issue, and also in the swimsuit, evening gown and talent competitions.

Prior to the nationally televised competition, the delegates participate in three nights of preliminary competition, where preliminary award winners are chosen in each category.

For the first time, sixteen semi-finalists were chosen (fifteen based on the judges' vote and one extra "People's Choice" contestant based on internet voting). The top sixteen competed in the swimsuit competition, after which judges eliminated six contestants. This was the first time the eliminated contestants were called, rather than contestants called to progress to the next round. The top ten contestants competed in the evening gown competition, and then prepared for the talent competition. Eight contestants participated in Talent, and two were eliminated in the midst of the competition. The top eight then participated in a quickfire interview competition. In a return to past proceedings, the runners-up and winner were called out of the top eight.



Final results Contestant
Miss America 2008
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
4th runner-up
Top 8
Top 10
Top 16

* - America's Choice


Preliminary awards[edit]

Awards Contestant
Lifestyle and Fitness

Quality of Life award[edit]

Results Contestant Platform
Winner M.A.D.D. – Prevention of Drinking and Driving Through Education
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up

Other awards[edit]

Awards Contestant
Miss Congeniality
Non-finalist Talent
Pyramid Scholarship for Public Relations & Marketing


The seven judges for the competition were:[4]


State Name Hometown Age1 Talent Placement Awards Notes
Alabama Jamie Langley Wadley 23 Vocal Quality of Life Finalist
Alaska Cari Leyva Anchorage 23 Vocal Miss Alaska USA 2004
Arizona Nicole Turner Phoenix 24 Jazz Dance
Arkansas Katie Bailey Conway 25 Vocal Top 16
California Melissa Chaty Redwood Valley 23 Classical Vocal Top 8 Miss Teenage California 2003
Colorado Maggie Ireland Littleton 22 Irish Step Dance
Connecticut Dana Daunis Watertown 22 Vocal Preliminary Talent, Non-finalist Talent
Delaware Brittany Dempsey Dover 19 Jazz Dance Delaware's Junior Miss 2005
District of Columbia Shayna Rudd Philadelphia 22 Jazz Dance Non-finalist Talent
Florida Kylie Williams Jasper 24 Country Vocal Top 16 Quality of Life 1st runner-up
Georgia Leah Massee Fitzgerald 22 Vocal Top 10
Hawaii Ashley Layfield Kane'ohe 21 Lyrical Dance Sister of Miss Hawaii USA 2008 Janelle Layfield
Idaho Sadie Quigley Idaho Falls 19 Piano Non-finalist Talent
Illinois Ashley Hatfield Anna 24 Vocal
Indiana Nicole Rash Plymouth 23 Vocal 1st runner-up
Iowa Diana Reed Norwalk 23 Baton Top 10 Preliminary Talent
Kansas Alyssa George Minneapolis 21 Classical Piano
Kentucky Kaitlynne Postel Lexington 21 Vocal
Louisiana Amanda Joseph Pineville 21 Ballet en Pointe
Maine Tara Allain Biddeford 22 Dance
Maryland Shana Powell Bowie 22 Operatic Vocal
Massachusetts Valerie Amaral Acushnet 22 Vocal Quality of Life Finalist, Preliminary Talent, Non-finalist Talent, Miracle Maker
Michigan Kirsten Haglund Farmington Hills 19 Vocal Winner Preliminary Swimsuit
Minnesota Jennifer Hudspeth Apple Valley 23 Vocal Quality of Life Finalist
Mississippi Kimberly Morgan Taylor 24 Vocal Top 16
Missouri Lindsay Casmaer Hazelwood 23 Ballet en Pointe
Montana Kristen Mantooth Lewistown 22 Lyrical Dance
Nebraska Ashley Bauer Scottsbluff 21 Vocal
Nevada Caleche Manos Reno 23 Vocal Quality of Life
New Hampshire Rachel Barker Amherst 19 Ballet en Pointe Pyramid Scholarship for Public Relations & Marketing
New Jersey Amy Polumbo Howell 22 Vocal Non-finalist Talent
New Mexico Jenny Marlowe Albuquerque 23 Vocal
New York Elisabeth Baldanza Oneonta 23 Contemporary Ballet
North Carolina Jessica Jacobs High Point 23 Ballet en Pointe 4th runner-up
North Dakota Ashley Young Grand Forks 20 Vocal Opera Miss Congeniality
Ohio Roberta Camp Grove City 23 Vocal
Oklahoma Makenna Smith Oklahoma City 24 Vocal Quality of Life 2nd runner-up
Oregon Kari Virding Tigard 24 Vocal Non-finalist Talent Miss Oregon Teen USA 2000
Pennsylvania Rachel Brooks Broomall 24 Vocal Non-finalist Talent
Rhode Island Ashley Bickford Newport 22 Ballet en Pointe Quality of Life Finalist, Preliminary Swimsuit Triple Crown winner: Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2002 and Top 10 at Miss Teen USA 2002, Miss Connecticut USA 2010
South Carolina Crystal Garrett Columbia 21 Vocal Top 16
South Dakota Kate Wismer Britton 22 Classical Vocal
Tennessee Grace Gore Nashville 24 Vocal Top 16 Quality of Life Finalist Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2002
Texas Molly Hazlett Centerville 21 Jazz on Pointe Top 8 Preliminary Swimsuit
Utah Jill Stevens Kaysville 24 Vocal Top 16 America's Choice
Vermont Rachel Ann Cole Middlebury 21 Monologue
Virginia Hannah Kiefer Roanoke 21 Ballet en Pointe 3rd runner-up 2008 Charles and Theresa Brown Scholarship
Virgin Islands Janeisha John Saint Croix 20 Jazz Dance Miss US Virgin Islands 2010
Washington Elyse Umemoto Wapato 23 Vocal 2nd runner-up Competed on Survivor: South Pacific, coming in 15th place
West Virginia Summer Wyatt Princeton 21 Vocal
Wisconsin Christina Thompson Kenosha 23 Classical Violin Top 8
Wyoming Jennifer McCafferty Scottsbluff 23 Vocal

1 Age as at January 2008


For the first time since Miss America 2003, four former Miss Universe Organization titleholders competed at Miss America. They are:


  1. ^ "Miss America: Reality Check". TV.com. January 4, 2008. 
  2. ^ "2008 MISS AMERICA "QUALITY OF LIFE" WINNER ANNOUNCED" (Press release). Miss America Organization. 2008-01-24. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ "2008 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS" (Press release). Miss America Organization. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Miss America: Press Releases: 2008 National Judges Announced for Miss America Live!". Miss America Organization. January 3, 2008. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  5. ^ "Ashley Bickford Biography". Miss Rhode Island. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  6. ^ Willenburg, Brandy (2007-07-20). "New Miss Tennessee plans to maintain strong Vanderbilt ties". The Reporter (Vanderbilt Medical Center). 

External links[edit]