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Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields named Miss America 2017

Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields named Miss America 2017

Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields has been crowned Miss America 2017.

The 21-year-old beauty was an early favourite in the competition as she won the preliminary talent round earlier this week, before going on to top the leaderboard and take home the much sought after title on Sunday (11.09.16) at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Along with the sparkling crown, Savvy - a student from the University of Arkansas - received a scholarship of $50,000. Miss South Carolina Rachael Wyatt was named first runner-up, and was awarded a $25,000 scholarship. Second runner-up went to Miss New York Camille Sims.

The competition - which saw contestants judged on their talents and an interview round as well as their looks - included a celebrity judging panel comprised of 'Shark Tank' star Mark Cuban, singer Ciara, and Olympian Gabby Douglas.

Speaking after the event, Ciara told Savvy: "It's awesome as a woman to see you get this moment. I just encourage you to enjoy this moment, because when great things like this happen, they can sometimes pass you by."

Miss Arkansas grabbed the attention of the judging panel earlier in the week when she wowed them in the talent competition with her jazz dance performance to 'They Just Keep Moving The Line' from the musical TV show 'Smash'.

During the Q&A part of the competition, Savvy was asked to give her opinion of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

And she replied: "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. Both of the contestants have done a good job, but they also need to watch what they're doing."

Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt was the night's first runner-up and the second runner-up was Miss New York Camille Sims.

Savvy will now start her year of duties as titleholder, including embarking on a national speaking tour. She will also now serve as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

After her run as Miss America, Savvy will return to the University of Arkansas as a senior studying art and long-term she wants to "work in a museum and teach at a collegiate level".

Miss America 2017 top five contestants:

1. Savvy Shields, Miss Arkansas

2. Rachael Wyatt, Miss South Carolina

3. Camille Sims, Miss New York

4. Alicia Cooper, Miss Washington

5. Laura Lee Lewis, Miss Mississippi