Miss America pageant crowns Miss Georgia, apologizes to 1984 winner Vanessa Williams

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell is named Miss America
(Image credit: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for dcp)

On Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was named Miss America 2016:

Cantrell, who sang a Puccini aria to win the talent portion last week, took the crown despite fumbling the question portion. "New England Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for his part in the so-called Deflategate scandal — legalities aside, did Tom Brady cheat?" she was asked by judge Brett Eldridge. Cantrell asked him to repeat the question, then answered: "Did he cheat? That's a really good question. I'm not sure.... I think I'd have to be there and see the ball and feel it and make sure it was deflated or not deflated. If there was question there, then yes, I think he cheated."

Before crowning Miss America 2016, the Miss America pageant welcomed back and apologized to Miss America 1984, Vanessa Williams, whose crown had been stripped near the end of her reign after Penthouse published private nude photos taken before she won the contest. "I want to apologize for anything that was said or done," the pageant's executive chairman, Sam Haskell, told Williams. "Vanessa: Welcome back!"

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Williams recovered from the scandal to become one of the most famous ex-Miss Americas to date, with a successful career in TV, movies, and music. "I did the best I could in my reign as Miss America," she said during Sunday's pageant.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.