Miss USA 2015
Olivia Jordan, 2015 Miss USA, at Operation That’s My Dress.jpg
Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015
DateJuly 12, 2015
Presenters
Entertainment
VenueRaising Cane's River Center Arena, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Broadcaster
Entrants51
Placements15
WinnerOlivia Jordan
 Oklahoma
CongenialityKimberly Agron
 Alaska
Renee Bull
 Delaware
PhotogenicGretchen Reece
 Indiana
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Miss USA 2015 was the 64th Miss USA pageant, held at the Raising Cane's River Center Arena in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 12, 2015. All fifty states and the District of Columbia competed. Nia Sanchez of Nevada crowned her successor Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma at the end of the event. This was Oklahoma's first Miss USA title in the pageant's history.[2]

The pageant was broadcast on Reelz after remarks made by Miss Universe Organization owner Donald Trump regarding Mexican immigrants during Trump's speech announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. President on June 16, 2015 in New York City led NBC, which had broadcast the pageant since 2003, and incumbent rights holders Univision Communications and Televisa to terminate their relationships with the Organization and Trump himself.[3] It was also affected by many of the originally announced hosts, judges and musical performers pulling out in protest.[4][5][6] Miss USA generated a unique Twitter audience of 2.42 million, according to Nielsen Social, No. 1 among entertainment series and specials during the week ended July 12.

Entertainment correspondent Alex Wehrley, a former Miss Wisconsin USA 2009, was brought in to host the pageant alongside game show host Todd Newton after original hosts Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts withdrew.[7]

This was the only Miss USA to be aired on Reelz and this was the last edition that Donald Trump had been the owner.

Background

Raising Cane's River Center Arena in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the host venue of the Miss USA for the second year in a row.
Raising Cane's River Center Arena in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the host venue of the Miss USA for the second year in a row.

Selection of contestants

Delegates from 50 states and the District of Columbia were chosen in state pageants held from July 2014 to January 2015. The first state pageant was Florida, held on July 12, 2014, and the final pageants were New Hampshire and New York, both held on January 18, 2015; nine of these delegates were former Miss Teen USA state winners, two of them were former Miss America state winners and one is former Miss World America who competed at Miss World 2013.

Results

Placements

Final results of the 2015 Miss USA Pageant.
Final results of the 2015 Miss USA Pageant.
Final Results Contestant
Miss USA 2015
1st Runner-Up
  • Texas Texas – Ylianna Guerra
2nd Runner-Up
3rd Runner-Up
4th Runner-Up
Top 11
Top 15

§ Voted into Top 11 after the swimsuit competition by the public .

Awards

Award Contestant
Miss Congeniality
Miss Photogenic

Order of announcements

Historical significance

Pageant

Preliminary round

Prior to the final telecast, the delegates compete in the preliminary competition, which involves private interviews with the judges and a presentation show where they compete in swimsuit and evening gown. It was held on July 10, 2015 on the official Miss USA YouTube channel and was hosted by Nick Teplitz and Nia Sanchez.[8]

Judges

Finals

The format reverted to top 15, as it was in 2013, during the final competition, the top fifteen semifinalists competed in swimsuit, 10 of the 15 semifinalists were chosen by the judges, while one was chosen for a public vote, as they competed in evening gown, before five were chosen to advance. The top 5 competed in the final question round signed up by a panel of judges and a final runway, the winner was decided by a panel of judges alongside the four runners-up.

Judges

Contestants

51 delegates have been confirmed:[9]

State Name Age[a] Height Hometown Placement Notes
Alabama Alabama Madison Guthrie[10] 20 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Hoover Top 11
Alaska Alaska Kimberly Agron[11] 20 5 ft 4 in (163 cm) Anchorage Previously Miss Alaska Teen USA 2013
Arizona Arizona Maureen Montagne 22 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Chandler Top 15 Previously 1st runner-up at Mutya ng Pilipinas 2013
Later placed 1st Runner-Up at Miss World America 2017
Later joined Miss World Philippines 2018 and was crowned Miss Eco Philippines 2018
Later became 1st runner-up at Miss Eco International 2018 as Miss Philippines
Later joined Binibining Pilipinas 2021 and was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2021
Later crowned The Miss Globe 2021 as Miss Philippines
Arkansas Arkansas Leah Blefko[12] 21 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Fayetteville
California California Natasha Martinez[13] 23 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Chino Hills
Colorado Colorado Talyah Polee[14] 26 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Denver
Connecticut Connecticut Ashley Golebiewski[15] 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Berlin
Delaware Delaware Renee Bull[16] 22 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Middletown Top 11
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia Lizzy Olsen[17] 26 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Washington, D.C.
Florida Florida Ashleigh Lollie[18] 24 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Grand Ridge
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Brooke Fletcher[19] 23 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Peachtree City Previously Miss Georgia Teen USA 2009
Hawaii Hawaii Emma Wo[20] 25 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Honolulu Top 11 Previously Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2008
Idaho Idaho Claira Hollingsworth[21] 22 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Preston Previously Miss Idaho Teen USA 2011
Illinois Illinois Renee Wronecki[22] 22 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Burbank Top 15
Indiana Indiana Gretchen Reece[23] 23 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) North Vernon
Iowa Iowa Taylor Even[24] 22 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Jesup
Kansas Kansas Alexis Railsback 19 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) Shawnee
Kentucky Kentucky Katie George[25] 21 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Louisville Top 11 Fan vote winner
Louisiana Louisiana Candice Bennatt[26] 26 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) New Orleans Top 11 Previously Miss New Mexico 2012
Maine Maine Heather Elwell[27] 26 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) West Bath
Maryland Maryland Mamé Adjei[28] 23 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Silver Spring 4th Runner-Up 1st Runner-Up of season 22 of America's Next Top Model
Massachusetts Massachusetts Polikseni Manxhari 24 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Boston
Michigan Michigan Rashontae Wawrzyniak[29] 25 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Detroit Top 11
Minnesota Minnesota Jessica Scheu 23 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Prior Lake
Mississippi Mississippi Courtney Byrd 23 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Oxford
Missouri Missouri Rebecca Dunn 24 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Columbia
Montana Montana Tahnee Peppenger[30] 27 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Great Falls
Nebraska Nebraska Hoang-Kim Cung 24 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) Grand Island
Nevada Nevada Brittany McGowan 25 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Spring Valley 3rd Runner-Up
New Hampshire New Hampshire Samantha Poirier 24 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Dover
New Jersey New Jersey Vanessa Oriolo 21 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Colts Neck
New Mexico New Mexico Alexis Duprey 24 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Alamogordo Previously Miss New Mexico Teen USA 2009
Previously Miss New Mexico 2013
New York (state) New York Thatiana Diaz 22 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Bayside Top 15 Previously Miss New York Teen USA 2010
North Carolina North Carolina Julia Dalton 24 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) Wilmington Previously Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2008
Sister of Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton
Daughter of Miss North Carolina USA 1982 Jeannie Boger
North Dakota North Dakota Molly Ketterling[31] 20 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Elgin
Ohio Ohio Sarah Newkirk 25 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Columbus
Oklahoma Oklahoma Olivia Jordan[32] 26 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Tulsa Miss USA 2015 Previously Miss World America 2013
Oregon Oregon Bridget Wilmes 22 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Canby
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Elizabeth Cardillo 25 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Pittsburgh
Rhode Island Rhode Island Anea Garcia 20 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Cranston 2nd Runner-Up Later Miss Grand International 2015 (represented Dominican Republic) and then dethroned
South Carolina South Carolina Sarah Weishuhn 23 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Goose Creek
South Dakota South Dakota Lexy Schenk[33] 21 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Irene Previously Miss South Dakota Teen USA 2011
Tennessee Tennessee Kiara Young[34] 25 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Nashville
Texas Texas Ylianna Guerra 22 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) McAllen 1st Runner-Up
Utah Utah Nicol Powell 21 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Salt Lake City Sister of Miss Utah USA 2013 Marissa Powell
Vermont Vermont Jackie Croft 24 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Winooski
Virginia Virginia Laura Puleo[35] 25 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Lexington Top 15 Sister of Miss North Carolina USA 2004 Ashley Puleo
Washington (state) Washington Kenzi Novell[36] 24 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Spokane
West Virginia West Virginia Andrea Mucino 24 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Morgantown
Wisconsin Wisconsin Haley Laundrie[37] 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Lake Mills
Wyoming Wyoming Caroline Scott[38] 22 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Cheyenne Previously Miss Wyoming Teen USA 2010

Controversy

On June 25, 2015, Univision Communications president and CEO Randy Falco announced that the company would terminate its contract to broadcast Spanish language coverage of the 2015 Miss USA pageant (which was set to air on UniMás) and sever its business ties with Miss Universe Organization co-owner Donald Trump, following comments regarding illegal Mexican immigrants that were made by Trump during his speech announcing his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States on June 16, in which Trump stated that illegal Mexicans immigrating into the U.S. were responsible for importing drugs, and bringing crime, rapists, and drug dealers into the country, and called for the building of a wall along the Mexico–United States border.[4][39][40] Chilean actor Cristián de la Fuente and Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sánchez, who were both slated to host the Spanish language broadcast of the pageant, also announced that they were pulling out of the telecast, citing their offense to Trump's comments. Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin, who was scheduled to make his first musical performance on mainstream U.S. television, also announced that he would also no longer participate in the event.[4][39][41][42][43] Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera of Puerto Rico, who was set to judge the pageant, announced she would no longer participate as well.[44]

In a statement by Univision regarding its decision, Falco cited the consideration of the views of its predominately Hispanic broadcast audience and corporate employee base, that "[Univision] see[s] first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country." Following the announcement of the company's decision, a lawyer for Trump stated that he is strongly considering taking legal action against Univision Communications for its refusal to carry the Miss USA telecast, alleging it violated the terms of the five-year broadcast and co-production agreement for the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that Univision signed with the Miss Universe Organization five months earlier on February 5.[45] Trump himself accused the Government of Mexico, among other parties, of "putting tremendous pressure on Univision to break their signed and fully effective contract with the Miss Universe Organization" because of his statements "exposing to the public, and the world, the terrible and costly trade deals that the United States is incompetently making with Mexico".[39][46]

Univision noted that despite the decision by its entertainment division to terminate its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, its news division and owned-and-operated broadcast outlets would continue to provide coverage of Trump and all other presidential candidates during the 2016 presidential campaign "to ensure our audience continues to have access to all points of view".[47] On June 26, Trump notified Falco that Univision employees would no longer be allowed to enter or hold membership with the Trump National Doral Miami golf course, which abuts Univision's corporate headquarters in Doral, Florida. That same day on his Instagram account, Trump also released personal correspondence from Univision anchor Jorge Ramos – containing Ramos' personal work mobile phone number, which was unobscured in the image – requesting an interview with Trump.[48]

On June 29, NBCUniversal, which owns the 50% stake in the Miss Universe Organization not owned by Donald Trump, confirmed it was terminating its business ties with Trump – saying in a statement that "respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values" – and would no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants (Miss Teen USA has not aired on conventional television since the 2007 pageant, as it was not included in NBC's renewed television contract with the Miss Universe Organization for uncited reasons; Trump was also dismissed as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, which NBC will continue to air as United Artists Media Group holds the licensing rights to the reality competition series).[5][49][50] Mexican media conglomerate Televisa also announced it would cut ties to Trump and end its television contract with the Miss Universe Organization.[6] In a June 29 interview with the Kansas City Star, Miss Kansas USA 2015 Alexis Railsback – who is of Mexican American descent – said that it was "really unfortunate and kind of unfair that the Miss USA pageant is kind of taking the brunt for Donald Trump's speech". Noting that the Miss Universe Organization is a standalone entity, she iterated that Trump "does not organize the pageant, [and] does not run what goes on" and that she believes the fallout stemming from the remarks is not "really related to the pageant in any way, other than the fact that he is the co-owner".[51] Following the decision, some pageant contestants and supporters backed a Change.org petition and used the hashtag #SavetheSash on social media and on a video posted to the pageant's official Facebook page, urging NBC to reconsider their decision not to air Miss USA.[52][53]

On June 30, Thomas Roberts (who serves as an anchor for NBCUniversal-owned MSNBC) and Cheryl Burke pulled out of hosting the pageant, with Burke citing her opposition to Trump's comments and the network's decision to stop telecasting the event.[54][55] After reports indicated that Miss Teen USA broadcasters Ustream and Xbox Live, as well as Netflix had showed interest in obtaining the streaming rights to the event,[5] the Miss Universe Organization later confirmed on June 30 that the pageant would be streamed on the official Miss USA website (a subpage of the Organization's website).[56][57]

After previously indicating that he may sue Univision and NBCUniversal,[58] Trump and the Miss Universe Organization filed a breach of contract and defamation lawsuit against Univision Communications in the New York Supreme Court on June 30, seeking damages in excess of $500 million. Univision responded to the suit in a statement, calling the complaint "both factually false and legally ridiculous," and that it "will not only vigorously defend the case, but will continue to fight against Mr. Trump's ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made on June 16th about illegal Mexican immigrants."[59][60] On June 30, a rep for singer Natalie La Rose announced that she had withdrew from performing at the pageant;[61] La Rose was joined on July 1 by judges Emmitt Smith and Jonathan Scott, country singer Craig Wayne Boyd and rapper Flo Rida in dropping out of the pageant. Jeannie Mai, who originally announced that she would stay on as a co-host, stating that while she "do[es] not condone Mr. Trump's statements[...] I can't abandon these women when they need our support now more than ever", citing the Miss Universe Organization's mission to "unite women from all over the world and celebrate different cultures", announced on July 6, 2015 that she was withdrawing as co-host. All of them including Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera of Puerto Rico are interested to participate and be a part of Miss Earth beauty contest.[62][63][64][65]

On July 2, the Miss Universe Organization reached an agreement with Reelz to broadcast Miss USA 2015 on the digital cable channel. In a statement, Stanley Hubbard, CEO of Reelz parent Hubbard Broadcasting, said "As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere."[66][67] Even with the announcement of a new broadcaster for the 2015 event, a webcast of the pageant was still available via the Miss USA website (which was also viewable on smartphones, tablets and on video game consoles via their respective YouTube applications) for those not able to watch on Reelz due to the channel's absence of availability on several cable providers (such as Cox Communications) or because they do not subscribe to Reelz through a participating carrier of the channel.[68] Baton Rouge's This TV affiliate KBTR-CD simulcast the pageant using Reelz' feed.[69]

Notes

  1. ^ Ages at the time of the pageant

References

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