Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields, Crowned Miss America 2017

Meanwhile, first openly gay contestant fails to make it into top 15 finalists

Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields was crowned Miss America 2017 on Sunday night after wowing judges with her jazz routine and her answer to a question about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The 21-year-old is a Fayetteville native and a student at the University of Arkansas. During the question and answer portion of the competition, Shields was asked about her take on Clinton.

“If you’re trying to be leader of the free world, everything you say and do matters and all of your actions are held to a higher standard,” Shields said. “Both of the contestants have done a good job, but they also need to watch what they’re doing.”

Shields went into the competition with her platform, “eat better, live better” and will act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She performed a jazz routine to “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” a song from the TV show “Smash.” The routine had won her the preliminary talent competition earlier this week.

She was crowned as Miss America by the outgoing title holder Betty Cantrell.

After her stint as Miss America, Shields will return to college as a senior art student.  “I want to hopefully work in a museum and teach at a collegiate level,” she said.

The night’s runner up was Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt, followed by Miss New York Camille Sims, Miss Washington Alicia Cooper and Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis.

Miss Missouri Erin O’Flaherty became the first openly gay contestant to compete in the beauty pageant, but failed to crack the top 15 finalists.

The 2017 Miss America Competition aired live on Sunday from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on ABC for its 96th anniversary broadcast. Host Chris Harrison was joined by co-host Sage Steele and celebrity judges Ciara, Mark Cuban, Gabby Douglas, Sara Foster, Laura Marano, Cole Swindell and Miss America 1985 Sharlene Wells Hawkes.