Miss America 2008
Kirsten Haglund headshot.png
DateJanuary 26, 2008
PresentersMark Steines
VenuePlanet Hollywood Theatre for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, Nevada
WinnerKirsten Haglund
Michigan Michigan
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Miss America 2008, the 81st Miss America pageant, was held on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, on Saturday, January 26, 2008.

The pageant was broadcast live on TLC from the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, only the third time that the pageant had been held outside Atlantic City.

Kirsten Haglund (Michigan) was crowned Miss America 2008 by Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson.

Selection of contestants

One delegate from each state was chosen in state pageants held in mid-2007. Prior to competing in state pageants, the majority of delegates first were required to win a local title. Each delegate's title was pre-dated to 2007; for example, Jamie Langley was "Miss Alabama 2007" rather than "Miss Alabama 2008." Many contestants competed in state pageants in both the Miss America and Miss USA systems numerous times before they won titles. Some previously competed in states other than those where they won a state title.

All contestants had to be between 17 and 24 years old, unmarried, and a citizen of the United States. They had to meet residency and educational requirements.

Miss America: Reality Check

The pageant's new network, TLC, premiered a four-week reality competition, titled Miss America: Reality Check, on January 4, 2008, hosted by Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie. The premise of the show is to show the contestants preparing for the pageant and to update the image of the Miss America pageant, which had seen a decline in popularity over the last few decades. In addition, viewers were able to vote online and choose one of the delegates to be a finalist in the pageant.[1]


The seven judges for the competition were fashion designer Trace Ayala, magazine editor Sarah Ivens, Olympic athlete and gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, casting director Jason La Padura, personal trainer Kim Lyons, television news anchor Robin Meade, and motivational speaker James Arthur Ray.[2]


All delegates compete in an interview competition with the judges, based on their platform issue, and also in the swimsuit, evening gown and talent competitions.

Prior to the nationally televised competition, the delegates participate in three nights of preliminary competition, where preliminary award winners are chosen in each category.

For the first time, sixteen semi-finalists were chosen (fifteen based on the judges' vote and one extra "People's Choice" contestant based on internet voting). The top sixteen competed in the swimsuit competition, after which judges eliminated six contestants. This was the first time the eliminated contestants were called, rather than contestants called to progress to the next round. The top ten contestants competed in the evening gown competition, and then prepared for the talent competition. Eight contestants participated in Talent, and two were eliminated in the midst of the competition. The top eight then participated in a quickfire interview competition. In a return to past proceedings, the runners-up and winner were called out of the top eight.



Final results Contestant
Miss America 2008
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
4th runner-up
Top 8
Top 10
Top 16

* - America's Choice

Order of announcements


Preliminary awards

Awards Contestant
Lifestyle and Fitness

Quality of Life award

Results Contestant Platform
Winner M.A.D.D. – Prevention of Drinking and Driving Through Education
1st runner-up -
2nd runner-up -
Finalists Various

Other awards

Awards Contestant
Miss Congeniality
Non-finalist Talent
Pyramid Scholarship for Public Relations & Marketing


State Name Hometown Age[a] Talent Placement Special awards Notes
Alabama Alabama Jamie Langley[5] Wadley 24 Vocal, "Listen" CMN Miracle Maker Award 2nd runner-up

Quality of Life Award Finalist
Alaska Alaska Cari Leyva[6] Anchorage 23 Vocal, "Habanera" from Carmen Previously Miss Alaska USA 2004[7]
Arizona Arizona Nicole Turner Phoenix 24 Jazz Dance, "Proud Mary"
Arkansas Arkansas Katie Bailey Conway 25 Vocal, "Feeling Good" Top 16
California California Melissa Chaty[8] Ukiah 23 Operatic Vocal, "The Jewel Song" from Faust Top 8 Previously Miss Teenage California 2003
Colorado Colorado Maggie Ireland Littleton 22 Irish Step Dance, "Dueling Violins" & "Footloose"
Connecticut Connecticut Dana Daunis Watertown 22 Vocal, "Let Him Fly" Non-finalist Talent Award

Preliminary Talent Award
Contestant at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant
Delaware Delaware Brittany Dempsey Dover 20 Jazz Dance, "Rhythm of the Night" Previously Delaware's Junior Miss 2005
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia Shayna Rudd Philadelphia 22 Jazz Dance, "Feeling Good" Non-finalist Talent Award
Florida Florida Kylie Williams[9] Jasper 24 Country Vocal, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" Top 16 Quality of Life Award 1st runner-up[10]
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Leah Massee Fitzgerald 22 Vocal, "If I Had My Way" Top 10
Hawaii Hawaii Ashley Layfield[11] Kane'ohe 21 Lyrical Dance, "Listen" from Dreamgirls Sister of Miss Hawaii USA 2008, Jonelle Layfield

2nd runner-up in Miss New York USA 2012 and 2013 pageants[12]
Idaho Idaho Sadie Quigley Idaho Falls 19 Piano, "Devilish Inspiration, Op. 4, No. 4" by Sergei Prokofiev Non-finalist Talent Award
Illinois Illinois Ashley Hatfield[13] Anna 24 Vocal, "To Love You More"
Indiana Indiana Nicole Rash[14] Plymouth 23 Vocal, "Bandito" 1st runner-up Top 10 at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant

Later Ms. America 2012[15]

Later Mrs. America 2018 (under married name, Nicole Cook)[16]
Top 6 at Mrs. World 2018 pageant
Iowa Iowa Diana Reed[17] Norwalk 23 Baton, "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award
Kansas Kansas Alyssa George[18] Minneapolis 21 Classical Piano
Kentucky Kentucky Kaitlynne Postel[19] Lexington 21 Vocal, "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde Daughter of Miss Maryland 1982, Lynne Graham Postel[19]
Louisiana Louisiana Amanda Joseph Pineville 21 Ballet en Pointe, "Canned Heat"
Maine Maine Tara Allain[20] Biddeford 22 Dance, "Hangin' By a Thread"
Maryland Maryland Shana Powell[21] Bowie 22 Classical Vocal, "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide
Massachusetts Massachusetts Valerie Amaral[22] Acushnet 22 Vocal, "Anyway" CMN Miracle Maker Award

Non-finalist Talent Award

Preliminary Talent Award

Quality of Life Award Finalist
Previously Miss Massachusetts' Outstanding Teen 2001[23]

Contestant at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant
Michigan Michigan Kirsten Haglund Farmington Hills 19 Vocal, "Over the Rainbow" Winner[24] Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award Granddaughter of Miss Detroit 1944, Iora June Victor[25]
Minnesota Minnesota Jennifer Hudspeth[26] Apple Valley 23 Vocal, "Life of the Party" from The Wild Party Quality of Life Award Finalist
Mississippi Mississippi Kimberly Morgan[27] Taylor 24 Vocal, "God Bless the Child" Top 16
Missouri Missouri Lindsay Casmaer Florissant 24 Ballet en Pointe, "Piano Fantasy"
Montana Montana Kristen Mantooth Lewistown 22 Lyrical Dance, "Beauty from Pain"
Nebraska Nebraska Ashley Bauer Scottsbluff 21 Vocal, "This Is My Life"' Contestant at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant
Nevada Nevada Caleche Manos Reno 23 Vocal, "Love Is a Battlefield" Quality of Life Award Contestant at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant
New Hampshire New Hampshire Rachel Barker Amherst 20 Ballet en Pointe, "Someone Like You" from Jekyll & Hyde Pyramid Scholarship for Public Relations & Marketing
New Jersey New Jersey Amy Polumbo[28] Howell 22 Vocal, "Astonishing" from Little Women Non-finalist Talent Award
New Mexico New Mexico Jenny Marlowe Albuquerque 23 Vocal, "Born For This"
New York (state) New York Elisabeth Baldanza Oneonta 23 Contemporary Ballet, "Your Daddy's Son" from Ragtime
North Carolina North Carolina Jessica Jacobs High Point 23 Ballet en pointe, "Spring" from The Four Seasons 4th runner-up
North Dakota North Dakota Ashley Young[29] Grand Forks 20 Classical Vocal, "Adele's Laughing Song" from Die Fledermaus Miss Congeniality
Ohio Ohio Roberta Camp Grove City 23 Vocal, "Blessed"
Oklahoma Oklahoma Makenna Smith Oklahoma City 24 Vocal, "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime Quality of Life Award 2nd runner-up
Oregon Oregon Kari Virding[30] Portland 24 Vocal, "The Girl in 14G" Non-finalist Talent Award Previously Miss Oregon Teen USA 2000
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Rachel Brooks Broomall 24 Vocal, "Summertime" Non-finalist Talent Award
Rhode Island Rhode Island Ashley Bickford Newport 22 Ballet en Pointe Miss Photogenic

Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award

Quality of Life Award Finalist
Previously Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2002
Top 10 at Miss Teen USA 2002 pageant

Later Miss Connecticut USA 2010
South Carolina South Carolina Crystal Garrett[31] Columbia 21 Vocal, "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard Top 16
South Dakota South Dakota Kate Wismer Britton 22 Classical Vocal, "The Doll Song" from The Tales of Hoffmann
Tennessee Tennessee Grace Gore Nashville 24 Vocal, "What a Wonderful Day" Top 16 Quality of Life Award Finalist Previously Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2002
Texas Texas Molly Hazlett[32] Centerville 21 Character Jazz en Pointe, "Rich Man's Frug" from Sweet Charity Top 8 Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award
Flag of Utah (1913-2011).svg
Jill Stevens Kaysville 24 Vocal, "Shy" from Once Upon a Mattress Top 16 America's Choice
Vermont Vermont Rachel Ann Cole Middlebury 22 Monologue, "Queen Hermione" from A Winter's Tale
United States Virgin Islands Virgin Islands Janeisha John Saint Croix 20 Jazz Dance Later Miss US Virgin Islands 2010
Virginia Virginia Hannah Kiefer[33] High Point, NC 21 Classical Ballet en Pointe, "The Chocolate Dance" from The Nutcracker 3rd runner-up Charles and Theresa Brown Scholarship Eligible as a student at Hollins University
Washington (state) Washington Elyse Umemoto Wapato 23 Popular Vocal, "Angels" 2nd runner-up[34][35] 3rd runner-up at National Sweetheart 2006 pageant

Contestant on Survivor: South Pacific
West Virginia West Virginia Summer Wyatt Athens 21 Vocal, "Why Haven't I Heard from You"
Wisconsin Wisconsin Christina Thompson[36] Pleasant Prairie 23 Classical Violin, "Praeludium & Allegro" by Fritz Kreisler Top 8
Wyoming Wyoming Jennifer McCafferty Scottsbluff, NE 23 Vocal, "Gimme, Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie Eligible to compete as a student at the University of Wyoming


  1. ^ Ages at the time of national competition


For the first time since Miss America 2003, four former Miss Universe Organization titleholders competed at Miss America. They are:


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  2. ^ "Miss America: Press Releases: 2008 National Judges Announced for Miss America Live!". Miss America Organization. January 3, 2008. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  3. ^ "2008 MISS AMERICA "QUALITY OF LIFE" WINNER ANNOUNCED" (Press release). Miss America Organization. 2008-01-24. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30.
  4. ^ "2008 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS" (Press release). Miss America Organization. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  5. ^ "Jamie Langley crowned Miss Alabama". The Randolph Leader. June 13, 2007.
  6. ^ "A Big Night at the Miss America Prelims". Las Vegas Review-Journal. January 24, 2008. Speaking of tough odds: Miss Alaska Cari Leyva...
  7. ^ Curtis, Paul C. (April 12, 2004). "Justine Michioka appears in 'Miss USA' tonight". The Garden Island. ...her roommate is Miss Alaska, Cari Leyva...
  8. ^ Associated Press (2007-07-01). "Miss North Coast Melissa Chaty wins 2007 Miss California crown". The Lompoc Record. Retrieved 2007-07-01.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Reigning Miss Tallahassee wins Miss Florida crown". Tallahassee Democrat. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-01.[dead link]
  10. ^ Godefrin, Shelly (May 2, 2008). "Miss Florida 2007 tells students to make good decisions". News Chief.
  11. ^ "Ashley Layfield Crowned New Miss Hawaii". Hawaii News Now. June 18, 2007.
  12. ^ "Miss New York USA & Teen USA pageant results". Pageant Update.
  13. ^ Gier, Nancy (July 1, 2007). "Downstater crowned Miss Illinois". Daily Herald.
  14. ^ "Nicole Rash is 2007 Miss Indiana". Zionsville Times Sentinel. June 27, 2007.
  15. ^ Peterson, Deb (April 17, 2012). "St. Louis' Nicole Rash crowned Ms. America". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  16. ^ "Chief Meteorologist places in Top 15 in Mrs. America Pageant". KGET News. August 27, 2018. Nicole Elizabeth Cook of Illinois was crowned Mrs. America.
  17. ^ Geyer, Thomas; Fedderson, Dawn (June 10, 2007). "Reed wins Miss Iowa competition". The Quad-City Times.
  18. ^ Britt, Karrey (June 12, 2007). "New Miss Kansas seeks winning streak". Lawrence Journal-World.
  19. ^ a b Phelps, Melodie (July 22, 2007). "Miss Monticello Kaitlynne Postel wins Miss Kentucky". The Outlook.
  20. ^ "Betty Morrison: Miss Maine, an author and the 'Book Bandit' all visit Alfred Elementary School". Fosters.com. April 24, 2008. ...discovered that Miss Maine, Tara Allain, a senior at Colby College...
  21. ^ "Miss Allegany County crowned Miss Maryland". WMDT. July 1, 2007. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017.
  22. ^ Wagner, Jeffrey D. (June 24, 2007). "Acushnet resident Valerie Amaral crowned Miss Massachusetts". The Herald News.
  23. ^ "Former Titleholders". April 15, 2011. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011.
  24. ^ "Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund Crowned Miss America 2008". Associated Press. January 26, 2008.
  25. ^ Clarke, Norm (January 24, 2008). "Michigan pageant success is in genes". Las Vegas Review Journal.
  26. ^ Molene, John (June 22, 2007). "Talent and beauty reign in Eden Prairie". Eden Prairie News.
  27. ^ "Alcorn State Alumna Kimberly Morgan Becomes Miss Mississippi 2007". Weekly Bulletin Online. Alcorn State University. August 2, 2007. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008.
  28. ^ Hagarty, Keith (September 21, 2007). "Howell College Student Crowned Miss New Jersey". The Howell Times. Archived from the original on September 21, 2007.
  29. ^ Parkinson, Crysta (June 16, 2007). "Ashley Young crowned Miss N.D. 2008". Williston Daily Herald.
  30. ^ "Miss Portland Crowned Miss Oregon 2007". Salem News. July 1, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2007.
  31. ^ "Miss Charleston wins Miss SC pageant". TheTandD.com. July 8, 2007.
  32. ^ "Miss Longview crowned Miss Texas". My Plainview. July 7, 2007.
  33. ^ Mitchell, Whitney (July 13, 2007). "Miss Virginia's on top of the world". The Roanoake Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012.
  34. ^ "Miss Washington is second runner-up for Miss America". Seattle Post. January 28, 2008.
  35. ^ "Miss Washington snags 2nd runner-up spot". KIMA TV. January 28, 2008.
  36. ^ "Miss Madison is new Miss Wisconsin". Appleton Post Crescent. July 1, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  37. ^ "Ashley Bickford Biography". Miss Rhode Island. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  38. ^ Willenburg, Brandy (2007-07-20). "New Miss Tennessee plans to maintain strong Vanderbilt ties". The Reporter (Vanderbilt Medical Center).