BY VELMA SOUTHERLAND
Miss Greene County Sarah Stokely and Miss Johnson City Lilly Crouch continue their competition tonight at the Miss Tennessee Scholarship pageant being held this week at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson.
Crouch, of Greeneville, is in Group A, which will compete in Evening Gown/Onstage Question this evening, but had the Lifestyle and Fitness portion on Thursday evening.
Stokely, of Newport, is in Group C, and will compete in Talent this evening with a vocal performance of "Astonishing" from Little Women. During the Thursday evening prelim, Stokely competed in Evening Gown/Onstage Question.
The state pageant always has 36 contestants, divided into three groups, and three nights of preliminary competitions from which the highest-scoring contestants are selected as semifinalists.
The non-finalists sing and dance and provide the show that is the background for the three stages of the finalists' competition on Saturday evening that will lead to the crowning of a new Miss Tennessee, who will represent the state at the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
A LATIN THEME
The show this year has a Latin theme and the opening Thursday evening, and again tonight and Saturday, will be "Copacabana" as all the contestants introduce themselves.
For the opening number each evening, Crouch wears a red and black dress, with the colors split vertically, while the brunette Stokely has chosen a white tropical dress with fluffy hot pink skirt and trim.
The Swimsuit competition leads the way in pageant-land, so Crouch's group was front and center first during the Thursday evening prelim.
Crouch had chosen a royal blue two-piece suit.
The talent section displayed a baton twirler, a dancer or two and several strong voices.
For the Evening Gown section, four of the first six contestants chose a white dress, perhaps because it is a superstition/myth/legend that the winner always wears white.
Miss Greene County was one of the white wearers, having selected a strapless dress with a design of sequins and a high slit on her left leg. The lower part of the dress featured wispy chiffon tiers that extended into a sweep train.
The color for the final half of the group was predominately black with a couple of the women choosing metallic gowns.
During the onstage question, all the contestants are wearing hideous dresses that appear to give a nod to the Latin theme as they have an orange band around the torso, a black band stretchy bodice that catches many of the women in unattractive places, and hot pink straps and trim.
The multi-layered, tiered brown skirt is finished with two rows of orange medallions near the knee-length hemline.
Wonder who saw a picture of that dress and decided attractive young women should be forced to wear it in public and on a televised show?
In the onstage interview, Stokely's question asked how she managed to get herself uninvited to a party.
It seems she met some Disney actors and was invited to a party at the home of Mary Costa, who lives in Knoxville. Unfortunately, Costa was not wearing her glasses and had mistaken Stokely for someone named Rachel. All Stokely knew was that she got uninvited to the party, but still doesn't know who Rachel is.
Thursday evening's preliminary competition ended with the announcement of winners in two categories.
Miss Tennessee Valley Hannah Robison won the Lifestyle and Fitness Swimsuit portion, probably in a decision that was not close as she was the lone standout.
The talent division had a tie between Miss Music City Elizabeth Oliphant and Miss Lexington Kendall Covington, who has placed in the top five in two previous Miss Tennessee pageants.
Both had presented vocals and managed to top previous talent preliminary winners Jill Brooks, a professional musician competing as Miss Nashville, and Amy Flynn, Miss Scenic City.
Today at noon, during the Parents' Luncheon, numerous awards and scholarships will be presented. Miss Greene County is on target to receive at least one.
Read Saturday's Greeneville Sun for an update on the activities of tonight's final preliminary round. The show will be available online at http://www.eplustv6.com at 9 p.m.
The crowning of a new Miss Tennessee by the current titleholder, Chandler Lawson, will be Saturday night in Jackson's Carl Perkins Civic Center. In the past, that show has started at 8:45 p.m.
Editor's note: Information in the Thursday story stated that Wendy Miller had won second runner-up as Miss Greene County. That was a misunderstanding. When I telephoned Ali Burkhard, a former owner of the Miss Greene County franchisee, late Wednesday night to try to learn about past contestants, she was remembering Wendy Miller's placement, and, of course, knew that Miller had not won anything as Miss Greene County, but had returned to the state pageant, as Miss Cumberland County, and racked up the second runner-up placement. However, I understood that Miller had placed during her reign as Miss Greene County.