The next Miss America will soon be crowned, just as a deadly hurricane slams into Florida and not long after another one inundated Texas.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been a backdrop to the Miss America preliminary competition this week, with contestants from storm-tossed or threatened states sending messages of support and promises of prayers to those in harm’s way.
Contestants from Texas and Florida have each won a preliminary competition leading into Sunday’s nationally televised finale.
Miss Texas Margana Wood gave a shout-out to her flooded hometown, Houston; she won Wednesday night’s swimsuit preliminary.
Miss Florida Sara Zeng won Friday’s swimsuit prelim, and promised she’ll be part of the post-Irma cleanup and recovery effort, whether as Miss America or not.
It’s an open question how many people in pageant-obsessed parts of the country will even be able to watch the finale on TV, with thousands displaced in Texas and nearby, and a massive evacuation having been ordered for Florida; power outages already had begun by Saturday night.