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Miss America Fails: 7 Biggest Blunders in Nearly 100 Years of Competition

The Q&A portion of the contest sometimes proves beauty and brains don’t always go together.

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On Thursday night in Atlantic City, Miss Virginia Emili McPhail won the preliminary onstage question scholarship at the 2019 Miss America Competition after she was able to give a coherent, thoughtful answer when asked about the NFL’s ongoing national anthem protests.

“Kneeling during the national anthem is absolutely a right that you have to stand up for what you believe in, and to make the right decision that’s right for you,” McPhail said. “It’s very important that we also have to take into consideration that it is not about kneeling: It is absolutely about police brutality.”

Thanks to that answer, the 22-year-old walked away with a $1,000 scholarship and, more importantly, avoided putting her high-heeled foot in her mouth.

It doesn’t happy every year, but the Miss America competition has a fairly decent track record of having contestants say something they’d probably like to take back during the Q&A portion of the contest.

Proving that beauty and brains aren’t always cohabitants, here are seven of the biggest fails in Miss America Q&A history in advance of the conclusion of the 2018 competition this weekend in New Jersey.

Year: 2013
Contestant: Miss Utah Marissa Powell
Topic: Income inequality between men and women

Year: 2009
Contestant: Miss California Carrie Prejean
Topic: Legalizing gay marriage

: 2007
Contestant: Miss South Carolina Caitlin Upton
Topic: Americans having difficulty locating the U.S. on a map

: 2015
Contestant: Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell
Topic: Tom Brady and Deflategate

: 2012
Contestant: Miss Ohio Audrey Bolte
Topic: Powerful female film characters

Year: 2012
Contestant: Miss California Leah Cecil
Topic: Euthanasia

: 2015
Contestant: Miss Universe host Steve Harvey
Topic: Naming the correct winner of the contest