RALEIGH — Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium hosted its 40th Miss North Carolina pageant, and the North Carolina organization staged its first downtown parade in a tribute to Miss America’s famous “Show Us Your Shoes” parade. With the current Miss America and Miss USA hailing from the Tarheel State, contestants vying to be the new Miss North Carolina competed for the first time under what is called the Miss America 2.0 system — updated scoring rules that place 50% of the contest on the talent competition and eliminate the traditional swimsuit competition.
Alexandra Badgett, Miss Jacksonville, was crowned Miss North Carolina at the end of the competition. Badgett promoted her social impact initiative of “N.I.N.E – No Is Not Enough,” aiming to deepen the message of the anti-rape anthem “no means no.” She tap danced to “Suit and Tie” in the talent competition.
The rest of the top five were, Miss Greenville, Jerenae Raeford (1st Runner Up); Miss Greater Sampson County, Carli Batson (2nd Runner Up); Miss Charlotte, Autumn Hubbard (3rd Runner Up); and Miss Capital City, Grace Dirig (4th Runner Up).
Even with the format changes, on Saturday night, the glitz and glam were still on full display. The event was televised live on ABC 11 WTVD to the Raleigh television market. Other outlets did not pick up the live feed. The telecast was the top show in the local market for its timeslot. The live internet stream was available in all markets.
The fast-paced competition, produced by Dunn-native Jacob Godwin, featured 42 contestants and production numbers that included young ladies from Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen competition and the elementary school-aged North Carolina Princesses. Amber Rupinta, anchor at ABC 11, and Dana Rosengard, managing editor of an NBC affiliate in Maine, served as co-hosts of the event.
Judges for this year’s competition were Steven Reeves, an artist from Virginia; Dennis Momyer, a retired chiropractor from Honolulu, Hawaii; Michael Hanna, a finance consultant from Texas; Kyle Pendleton, Director of Harm Reduction for Zeta Tau Alpha sorority from Indiana; Kelly Shatat, founder of Moon & Lola from Apex; Karen Bloomquist Elson, a sales and marketing professional and former Miss North Carolina from Atlanta; and Bree Branker, a model and former Radio City Rockette from Raleigh.
Badgett will make her first major appearance at the N.C. 4th of July Festival in Southport next week.