By WAYNE PARRY
The Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The contestants in the final stages at the Miss America competition will have to answer a second round of questioning on the way to winning the crown.
Sam Haskell, executive chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization, told The Associated Press that the second round of onstage interviews is designed to bring out more about the contestants.
"It's an opportunity to know who they are," he said. "So we decided to add a second question. They can't prepare for it; it's not about their platform."
Starting with this year's finale on Sunday, seven contestants from the top 10 will be asked a personality question. From those seven, five will advance and be asked a second question on current events, societal issues or the like.
The addition of a second round of questioning comes as the onstage interview has played a significant role in helping to select the last two Miss Americas.
In 2015, Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, was asked whether she believed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady cheated en route to his team's run to a Super Bowl title in the previous season by using footballs that were improperly deflated. Brady served a four-game suspension.
During the pageant, Cantrell said, "I'm not sure" when asked if Brady cheated. "I'd have to see the ball and feel it" she said, before adding, "If there's any question, then yes, he cheated."
In 2016, Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields, was asked a question about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. She answered that while both Clinton and Republican Donald Trump had done a good job thus far, "they also need to watch what they're doing."
Meeting reporters after the pageant, Shields elaborated.
"What I want both candidates to focus on is compromise," she said. "Our country was founded on compromise. We're in a state now where both parties just seem to be yelling at one another."