Miss America 2018 Pageant Judges & Hosts

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Miss America 2018 Judges

The 2018 Miss America Pageant airs tonight on ABC at 9 p.m. ET/PT with hosts Sage Steele and Chris Harrison gearing up for another pageant year as co-hosts. The current Miss America Savvy Shields will relinquish her crown to one hopeful and the judges will aid in choosing the recipient. According to the Miss America Organization, the fate of the pageant depends solely on the final ballot, on which each judge ranks the top 5 contestants. This year, there are several big celebrities on the judges’ panel. Let’s get to know each of them.


Thomas Rhett

Country singer Thomas Rhett is on board as a judge this year and he is also ACM Male Vocalist of the Year. Rhett recently told The Boot that judging Miss America should be “interesting.” Rhett also said:

I don’t know how much judging is actually involved, but I get to read some questions and get to evaluate the answers.

Rhett just released his latest album, which is his third one, and it is titled “Life Changes”.


Molly Sims

In addition to being a model, Sims is also an actress and an author. When talking to the Miss America Organization about joining the judges’ panel, Sims said:

I’m so excited to be a judge at this year’s competition and am happy to participate alongside an organization that is an advocate for women’s education. I’m looking forward to seeing all the young women who have come this far and hearing more about them and their interests!

In an interview with Closer Weekly, Sims talked about competing in pageants in the past and what she expects for the Miss America competition. She stated:

I did a few beauty pageants … I think it’s great, you know as a little girl I grew up watching it. So to see these strong women who are not only beautiful but smart, educated — I think the combination is pretty killer, so I’m really honored to be a part of it. It’s fun — I remember me [as a little girl] and I wanted to be them. It’s fun. It takes you back.


Jordin Sparks

Grammy-nominated singer and actress Jordin Sparks is on the judges’ panel and she released the following statement about her participation in the event:

I am honored to participate as a judge for the Miss America Competition this year. I understand the pressure that a competition brings and I’m lucky it’s given me the unique perspective on the hard work that the contestants have to put in to get to this point. No doubt they are all strong women and I look forward to hearing the platforms they represent.

Sparks is an American Idol winner.


Jess Cagle

PEOPLE magazine’s Editor in Chief, Jess Cagle, is a judge this year. Some recognize Cagle from being a regular co-host on ABC’s Academy Awards red-carpet pre-show.


Maria Menounos

Maria Menounos is known as a TV journalist from E! News and she has been a prominent face on the E! Network until recently, when she dealt with a brain tumor. She is also the CEO of AfterBuzz TV and, she has her own experience with pageants in the past, as she was previously Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 1996.


Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri

Nina Davuluri is a pro when it comes to pageants, as she is the 2014 winner of Miss America, and when she was announced as a judge for tonight’s competition, Davuluri told the Miss America Organization:

I understand all too well the emotions of stepping on to the Miss America stage. I’m honored to be able to help shape the legacy of the Miss America Organization over the next year!

Davuluri talked about how demanding the job of Miss America can be, explaining to Press of Atlantic City:

It’s a very difficult job. I think many people don’t realize that,” Davuluri said. “I think the most important aspect is for the girl selected to be relatable. You meet and work with so many people — from the kids with the Children’s Miracle Network or politicians.

In addition to being a previous winner of Miss America, Davuluri is also a former board member of the Miss America Foundation.


Tara Lipinski

Lipinski is an Olympic gold medalist and she talked to People about being involved with the 2018 Miss America Pageant, saying:

I am so honored to be a judge at the Miss America Competition this year. I love that the Miss America Organization empowers women to follow their dreams. I’m excited to see this year’s group of talented and driven young women and hear about the platforms they represent.

Lipinski is currently a newlywed, as she recently married Fox Sports producer Todd Kapostasy.