Today Miss America CEO and Chairman Sam Haskell told The Star-Ledger exclusively who the celebrity judges of next month’s pageant will be.
In just a few weeks, Miss America makes its big return to Atlantic City, the pageant’s birthplace, after 9 years in Las Vegas. “I think we looked for talented individuals,” says Haskell. “I think we looked for a diverse panel. People who are respected in their various fields,” he says. “We’ve come through with a royal flush.”
Leading off the judges’ table for the Sept. 15 telecast will be former ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass. While hosting his SiriusXM Radio show earlier this month, Bass proclaimed himself to be among the judges for the final, though at the time the only judges announced were for the preliminary round. Joining Bass is former NBA Rookie of the Year Amar’e Stoudemire of the Knicks, as well as Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, comedian and performer Mario Cantone, and Barbara Corcoran, an investor from ABC’s entrepreneurial competition show “Shark Tank.” In a nod to the pageant’s Atlantic City legacy, former Miss America Diedre Downs Gunn will also join the judges’ table. She’s an obstetrician and gynecologist who was the last Miss America to be crowned in Atlantic City, nine years ago. “She is the perfect example of how our scholarships are used,” says Haskell, the Miss America CEO. Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s combined food-and-talk show “The Chew,” will also be a judge. She became known to television audiences as a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Lara Spencer, anchor for “Good Morning America,” will host Miss America alongside Chris Harrison from “The Bachelor,” another ABC show.
Before the broadcast, preliminary judges will assess and rank Miss America contestants for three consecutive days in Atlantic City — from Sept. 10 to Sept. 12, the week prior to the televised pageant final.
The Miss America finals will be broadcasted live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on September 15.