It was almost time to take the stage for the final competition, where we would find out who would be crowned Miss New York USA 2020.
Just as we did for the preliminary competition, we gathered to the side of the stage as we waited for the show to begin. Once again, the show began with a Miss USA video, then the music for the opening number dance began. My dance group was the first on stage, so we did our 20-second dance. In rehearsal earlier that day, we were informed of a slight change to the dance, where the first three dance groups, easy, medium, and hard, would come out on stage and join the elite dance group at the very end. This was rehearsed just a few times.
We exited the stage following the dance and lined up for contestant introductions. After many contestants made their introduction, the contestant, who stood beside me for introductions, and I stepped on stage and gradually stepped forward as the contestants in front of us introduced themselves. We then approached the microphones. When the choreographer in the front row pointed to me, I announced, “Mikayla Mizruchi, DeWitt!” The contestant next to me and I walked around our microphones and exited the stage.
Unlike the preliminary competition, where we changed into our swimsuits after introductions, we changed into our evening gowns. For today’s competition, we did not need to wear our contestant number buttons, since many of us were about to be eliminated.
Once the top finalists were announced, they would change into their swimsuits to compete. We were given instructions about what we would need to prepare in our dressing rooms. Large blue plastic bags, each marked with our contestant number, were put in each dressing room, with one bag per contestant. We needed to put in everything that we could need for the swimsuit competition, such as our swimsuit, both the top and bottom if it’s a two-piece, two shoes, and if we had butt glue or jewelry that we planned to wear for the swimsuit competition, that would also need to go in that bag.
When I was in my dressing room, I double and triple-checked to make sure that everything I would need for the swimsuit competition was in that bag. Once we were all out of our dressing rooms, pageant staff members would go in each dressing room and take the bags of the contestants, who placed in the top 20. These bags would be brought to another location where the top finalists would change.
I walked to the stage in my evening gown, because it was time for the color blocking part of the show. Color blocking is when contestants would walk the stage by evening gown color. I would walk the stage with contestants wearing blue and purple evening gowns. This was a brief walk with many contestants walking closely together.
After walking the stage, we gathered on the stage risers as the top contestants were announced. I felt a bit nervous, as they started announcing the top contestants. Part of me thought it would be fun to have another chance to compete. Another part of me couldn’t help thinking of my sore feet in heels. If I were eliminated, then I could sit and maybe kick-off my shoes.
One by one, more contestants, who placed in the top 20 were announced. I continued looking around at the many contestants on stage, filling the risers, who had not placed in the top 20. The 18th contestant was announced, then 19th, then just one more spot. The 20th contestant was announced, and nope, not me! As I exited the stage with about 150 contestants, who also did not place, a sense of relief rushed over me. The pressure was off. I had tons of fun. I met nice people. Also, my feet hurt so much; I felt like I was shuffling off the stage. We all went in another room where a very light dinner was served. This was definitely the worst meal of the weekend. It was cold cut sandwiches, and mine was about one slice of turkey on a wheat roll.
There was a TV in this room, where we could watch the competition. The picture was really fuzzy. The top twenty competed in swimsuit, and it was time to announce which contestants would place in the top 10. When contestants were eliminated, they would change into their evening gowns and go to the room backstage with the other eliminated contestants. We would all be returning to the stage for the crowning, while wearing our evening gowns.
The top 10 contestants competed in evening gown, and five contestants were eliminated. The five eliminated contestants went to the room with the other eliminated contestants. The top 5 contestants were then judged on their on-stage questions. The eliminated contestants were standing to the side of the stage at this point, so we were able to hear the questions live. The first question was a “fishbowl” question, where a contestant pulled a piece of paper from a fishbowl, which contained a question from one of the judges. The next round of the on-stage question was the same question for each of the five contestants. When a contestant was being asked the question, the remaining contestants, who had not yet answered, were standing on the stage wearing large headphones with loud music playing, so they could not hear the previous contestants’ answers. After this, it was almost time for the crowning. The eliminated contestants made their way back on stage as contestant awards were granted before the crowning. A few contestants with really high scores in particular areas of the competition, but didn’t have a high enough overall score to place in the top 20, were given an award in a specific area of the competition.
After these awards were announced, the top five contestants approached the stage. The 4th runner-up was announced, followed by the 3rd runner-up, and 2nd runner-up. As each runner-up was announced, one of the 2019 queens, Miss or Teen, approached the stage, gave the runner-up flowers, posed for a picture, and escorted her off stage. Just as you’d see on TV with two contestants remaining, the lights were dimmed, and one of the co-hosts said something along the lines of, The name I am about to read is the first runner-up. If for any reason, the winner is unable to fulfill her duties, the first runner-up will take her place.
The first runner-up’s name was announced, which meant that the very deserving Andreia Gibau was crowned Miss New York USA 2020. I can’t wait to watch her compete for the title of Miss USA on November 9th!
The show concluded, and everyone, except for the top 5 contestants exited the stage – the top 5 were taking on-stage pictures. I changed and packed up my dressing room. I went to the hair and makeup theater to get my larger suitcase then met my parents in the theater’s lobby. My feet ached as we waited for the Uber to take us back to the hotel.
I truly enjoyed every moment of this experience and would recommend it anyone before she ages out. That’s a wrap, Miss New York USA 2020!