North Carolina – Caelynn Miller-Keyes
She’s improved considerably since representing Virginia in Miss Teen USA 2013 and now even channels a fiercer version of 2014 winner Nia Sanchez in certain angles. In another era, she would have been classified as middle of the pack. But with her compelling story of having experienced sexual assault and now being an advocate herself, consider her placement a lock.
North Dakota – Abigail Pogatshnik
Well, she’s not exactly the next Audra Mari, but she does have striking features.
Ohio – Deneen Penn
Her looks are placement-worthy, even though her preliminary evening gown was polarizing. And it’s not every year that we see a gorgeous contestant who lists “beekeeper” as her occupation.
Oklahoma – Cheyene Darling
To be quite honest, we find her a wee bit overrated, though she did slay during the preliminaries. Whether or not she can substantiate the hype now depends on whether or not she gave a strong interview.
Oregon – Toneata Morgan
This blonde bombshell is clearly her state’s best shot in years. And while starting a boutique isn’t exactly one’s idea of WME/IMG bait, for anyone to start a respectable business from scratch is already a laudable feat.
Pennsylvania – Olivia Suchko
She’s more photogenic than telegenic. We’re still reeling from her gorgeous predecessor’s unjust non-placement, which probably won’t be vindicated just yet.
Rhode Island – Daescia DeMoranville
Well, she is cute, but cuteness isn’t a trait we associate with other Rhode Islanders who recently fared well in international pageants, like Olivia Culpo and Anea Garcia.
South Carolina – Tori Sizemore
With the glorious exception of Alyssa Campanella, former Miss Teen USA 1st runners-up who crossed over to this pageant ended up with either lower placements or, worse, not placing altogether. Much as this 2013 alum performed creditably in the preliminaries, we have this gnawing feeling she’ll follow that pattern.
South Dakota – Madison Nipe
Like Nebraska, this Aishwarya Rai look-alike is one of the most facially stunning girls this year. And considering that it’s only been two years since the Mount Rushmore State ended their 42-year placement drought, it’s nice to see them taking a step towards consistency.
Tennessee – Alexandra Harper
The usually-formidable Volunteer State uncharacteristically missed the cut thrice within the last five years. This striking contender stands a strong chance of not only following through with last year’s recovery, but also making her mother, Miss Tennessee USA 1981 Sharon Kay Steakly, proud.
Texas – Logan Lester
Not everybody’s convinced that Texas can put itself back in contention, which could spell tragedy considering that it never missed the cut for more than two years in a row. Then again, there must be something special about somebody who could manage to beat a former Miss Teen USA to win the state title (Better luck next time, Danielle Doty!). Couple that with her impressive achievements in the real estate field, and perhaps Team Lone Star can still keep the faith.
Utah – Narine Ishhanov
Exactly the same case as Pennsylvania, except this one’s Armenian.
Vermont – Maia-Jena Allo
She has beautiful eyes, but her facial features are on the sharp side overall.
Virginia – Ashley Vollrath
Well, it appears this state is going through the same fallow period which both Tennessee and Texas went through recently. This girl might still pull a surprise, but it will likely be a huge upset.
Washington – Abigail Hill
It’s been 20 years since this state scored a convincing placement – we say “convincing”, because the 2004 placement was considered a jaw-dropping surprise. This lady’s a last minute favorite, if there ever was one. She may not have been a pre-pageant favorite, but her preliminary performance was definitely one of last week’s most outstanding surprises. Having two former Miss Washington USAs in the selection committee also bodes well.
West Virginia – Casey Lassiter
She’s a middling contender. Then again, the West Virginian candidates of 2005 and 2016 were considered middling contenders and look where they ended up.
Wisconsin – Regina Gray
Much as her perplexing hairstyle constitutes a styling emergency, her impressive accolades and back story will likely earn her brownie points.
Wyoming – Callie Bishop
At 28, she’s the oldest among all this year’s contestants who previously competed in Miss Teen USA. And like Louisiana, she also benefits from the expanded age limit. Yes, her flimsy catwalk conjures Chelsea Cooley flashbacks, but the fact that she survived a near-fatal infection which required one of her ribs to be removed makes her a potential worthy wild card.