Miss America contestants nailed tough questions about ISIS, sexual assault and Ray Rice

Their responses put politicians to shame

Published September 15, 2014 2:02PM (EDT)

    (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

For the third consecutive year, Miss New York won the Miss America title on Sunday night, passing the torch of youth and beauty and all things Americana from Nina Davuluri to Kira Kazantsev. The real news from the competition, though, was the lightning round of questions and answers, in which the top five contestants are expected to give polished, meaningful, yet diplomatic responses to questions about complex subjects in just 20 seconds. While the questions ranged from ISIS to gun control to domestic violence, these ladies not just nailed it, but also gave a surprising amount of nuance in their responses. Politicians -- take note.

Kazantsev, whose talent involved singing "Happy" while playing a red cup, dazzled judges the most by highlighting sexual assault in the military as an issue that men in Congress need to address.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Beauty Pageant Competition Isiss Kira Kazantsev Miss America Sexual Assault Video