Something of substance actually happened at the Miss America pageant

Kelley Johnson has more than a flaming baton.


Marisa Kabas


Published Sep 14, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 11:54 pm CDT

Talent, beauty and a little hemorrhoid ointment to de-puff the eyes will win you the title of Miss America. This year’s contestant from Colorado, however, bucked that formula by keeping it real.

Kelley Johnson made it to the top five of the competition, and video from one of the preliminary rounds in Atlantic City showed that she didn’t even have to twirl a flaming baton to make it that far. The 22-year-old is a nurse in her home state, and for the talent portion of the competition, she delivered a monologue about a patient who changed her life.

Wearing her scrubs and a stethoscope, Johnson described her relationship with Joe, a man with Alzheimer’s, and how he reminded her why she became a nurse in the first place. It’s a far cry from the bizarre response given by this year’s winner Betty Cantrell of Georgia to the question “Did Tom Brady cheat?”

Johnson’s monologue wasn’t the only thing out of the ordinary at this year’s competition. Former Miss America Vanessa Williams, who famously surrendered her crown after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse, made her triumphant return to the stage as a judge and performer.

The first black Miss America was supposedly pressured to give up her post in 1984 because of photos that were taken before she was crowned. But this year she was invited back in a big way, including an on-air apology from current pageant CEO Sam Haskell.

It’s never too late to say you’re sorry. You might even say they saved the best for last.

H/T Faithit | Screengrab via NJ.com/YouTube

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2015, 11:55 am CDT