Updated on September 8, 2017 at 12:27 AM
Posted on September 7, 2017 at 11:23 PM
Miss America 2018 Preliminary Competition Night 2, Sept. 7, 2017
Gallery: Miss America 2018 Preliminary Competition Night 2, Sept. 7, 2017
By Amy Kuperinsky
Miss Minnesota may have started her night off with a flub, but she emerged a winner alongside Miss Louisiana Thursday after the second installment of preliminary competition at the 2018 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.
Brianna Drevlow, 23, from Thief River Falls, Minnesota, impressed judges at Boardwalk Hall with her piano performance of George Gerswhin’s 1924 composition “Rhapsody in Blue” to win the award for talent, which comes with a $2,000 scholarship.
She’s been playing piano since she was 3 years old, and aspires to become a dean at the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University, where she’s currently a graduate student of music composition.
“It’s all about self expression,” she said after the pageant. She said devising her own arrangement of the jazzy classic proved to be “a good use of her master’s degree.”
Earlier, during the contestant introductions, either through some teleprompter fluke or some other misstep — Drevlow was one contestant behind telemetry nurse Miss Massachusetts, Jillian Zucco — she had mistakenly greeted the audience by saying she was a nurse.
“I’m Miss Minnesota,” Drevlow said. “And I make mistakes.”
Miss Louisiana, Laryssa Bonacquisti, daughter of Lynette Falls Bonacquisti, Miss New Jersey 1990, triumphed in the swimsuit portion of competition, winning a $1,000 scholarship for her runway strut in a white bikini.
“It came down to me realizing that I wanna be healthy for myself,” the 22-year-old said after the pageant, talking about the lifestyle changes she had to make as a pageant contestant.
“It’s really looking at food as more of a nutritional aspect of your life,” she added. “I felt better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”
On Friday, the final night of preliminary competition before the televised pageant on Sunday, Bonacquisti, who hails from Monroe, Louisiana, will take the stage again to perform her talent — ventriloquism. While certainly not unheard of in the Miss America universe, she will be the only ventriloquist at the 2018 pageant.
Monday’s preliminary competition yielded a swimsuit win for Miss Texas and a talent win for Miss Utah, a violinist.
Here’s the cheering section for Miss DC, who is currently onstage in a chartreuse gown. #missamerica