ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Miss Florida, Leanza Cornett, a 21-year-old singer who has pushed AIDS awareness, was crowned the 66th Miss America early today.
She was chosen by a panel of celebrity judges from among 10 semifinalists, nine of whom were from the South or Midwest.
After two weeks of primping and posing, the 50 candidates--one from each state--paraded before a national television audience Saturday night before the 10 semifinalists were announced.
The other four contest finalists were Miss Indiana Shelli Renee Yoder, Miss Iowa Catherine Ann Lemkau, Miss Kansas Pam McKelvy and Miss Oklahoma Du Sharme Carter.
The finalists were chosen from among 10 semifinalists picked by judges during three rounds of competition earlier last week.
The five other semifinalists were Miss Kentucky Tawyna Mullins, Miss Massachusetts Lisa Gail Desroches, Miss Missouri Stephanie Patterson, Miss Ohio Robin Meade, and Miss South Carolina Carrie Lee Davis.
The final night of competition included evening gown, talent and swimsuit contests.
Miss America 1993, who succeeds Carolyn Sapp of Hawaii, will receive $35,000 and a sports car. For a year, she will travel nationwide, with a chaperon, touting whatever issue she has chosen to promote. Sapp spoke on behalf of education.