HOLLYWOOD—They will all be there in alphabetical order, 52 crowned representatives who signed their names to a map of the United States, each doing a little walk down the runway and announcing the title of their pageant platform—whether gender or social issue or health advocacy. The difference: this year marks Miss America’s 95th anniversary. The history of the pageant began in 1921, when Margaret Gorman, then 16, won the first competition, originally designed to lure business to the boardwalk of Atlantic City. Funny, how history repeats itself.
This year’s pageant will be the biggest extravaganza ever, full of surprises. One of them will be the return of Vanessa Williams, 52, who has signed on to judge this weekend’s Miss America pageant—returning to its stage for the first time since she won the title more than 30 years ago. The last time she walked the stage at Boardwalk Hall, was when she was crowned winner in September 1983.
You may recall, Williams (who was representing New York state) made history as the first African-American woman to be named Miss America in 1984. She was forced to relinquish her title 10 months later, after Penthouse magazine published unauthorized nude photos of her that were taken years earlier. The shortest reign in Miss America history lasting from July 23 through September 15. Yes, she still has the crown.
Despite, the scandal, the beautiful Williams went on to gain fame as a Grammy-nominated singer and actress, who has 11 Grammy nominations and a Tony nomination to her resume. She was also nominated for an Emmy for her role in the TV series “Ugly Betty.” She is known for her many appearances in “Desperate Housewives,” as well as the movies “Eraser” and “Soul Food.”
This year, Williams and all the celebrity judges will join contestants on the Miss America stage, instead of being seated at a table in the audience. The hosts will be Chris Harrison, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, Nick Jonas and celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya. The pageant airs live from Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 13 on ABC.
Vanessa Williams is not the only one full of surprises, Sam Smith will be singing the new James Bond movie “Spectre.” Yes, its Smith, Sam Smith. The Grammy-winning British crooner confirmed on Twitter that his tune “Writing’s on the Wall” will be the latest in a long line of cinematic tracks in 007’s history, going back to Shirley Bassey’s iconic “Goldfinger” in 1964.
The song will be available to purchase and stream September 25. Smith joins the heavyweights like Paul McCartney, Madonna, Carly Simon and Duran Duran in the bevy of folks who’ve done Bond songs over the years. Most recently, Chris Cornell, the duo of Jack White and Alicia Keys, and Adele have been tapped for the honor – the last’s theme for 2012 “Skyfall” won a Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar. “Spectre,” directed by Sam Mendes and again featuring Daniel Craig as the English superspy, hits theaters November 6.
Rose’s Scoop: The list is growing, just add Jon Bon Jovi to the list of artists scheduled to perform in China-only to have their concerts canceled due to some sort of affiliation with the Dalai Lama. Others that have been banned include Bjork, Linkin Park and various politicians and academics. It only took Justin Bieber five minutes to reach No. 1 on ITunes, after he single “What Do You Mean,” was released.