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Miss Maryland brings an evening of surprises

June 19, 2004|By CHRIS COPLEY

HAGERSTOWN

The second evening of competition in the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant concluded Friday night, but not without a hitch or two.

From the opening, prerecorded request to turn off cell phones and not take flash photographs - broadcast (unintentionally?) in a chipmunk voice - to the final award announcement, in which one contestant received two awards, then lost one, the second preliminary round of the Miss Maryland pageant was a series of unexpected surprises.

But at the end of an evening of glamour and showmanship, three scholarships for talent and fitness were awarded.

Miss Northern Chesapeake Lisa Taylor, 20, of Alexandria, Va., received Friday's talent award, worth $500. She sang "Glitter and be Gay," from "Candide," by Leonard Bernstein, to a roar of applause from the audience.

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Miss Gaithersburg Tiffany Jenkins, 23, of Silver Spring, Md., received the physical fitness in swimsuit award, worth $100. She wore a two-piece robin's egg blue swimsuit.

As a first-time Miss Maryland contestant and the contestant with the evening's highest talent score, Taylor at first was awarded both the talent scholarship and the newcomer talent scholarship, worth $250, by judges. But show auditors red-flagged the award when they realized Taylor had competed previously in the Miss Virginia pageant.

Pageant host Miss America 1992 Leanza Cornett and Miss Maryland 2003 Marina Harrison went off script to kill time while the audience and the pageant's 24 contestants waited on stage for things to be sorted out.

After 10 minutes, another slip of paper was issued from pageant auditors. Miss Burtonsville Kelly George, 22, of Mission Viejo, Calif., received the newcomer talent award. She danced an Irish step dance to "Strings of Fire." This is the first year she has competed in a state-level pageant.

Friday's pageant concluded the preliminary rounds of competition for Miss Maryland 2004. All 24 contestants have competed in all five scored events: private, 12-minute, press conference-style interview with the judges panel (worth 40 percent of the total score); the talent performance (30 percent); eveningwear (10 percent); physical fitness in swimsuit (10 percent); and on-stage, two-minute interview (10 percent).

Ten finalists will be announced at the beginning of the final round of competition tonight. Their earlier scores will be discarded and they will begin a new round of competition. They will repeat the four on-stage events and judges will re-score them.

At the end of the evening, judges will select one contestant to be Miss Maryland, winning a scholarship of $15,000. Four other contestants are named runners-up. They receive scholarships of $2,500 to $6,500. Each of the other five finalists receives a scholarship of $1,000.

The other 14 contestants receive scholarships of $550 apiece.

Other scholarships will be awarded at a breakfast Sunday morning. They include scholarships for top talent, top interview, community service, rookie of the year and spirit.

The final round of competition will begin tonight at 8 at The Maryland Theatre.

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