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Miss American crowned

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Miss American crowned

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ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (AP) – Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was named the new Miss America last night, marking the third year in a row that a contestant from her state has walked away with the crown in the nationally televised pageant.

Kazantsev received the crown at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall from outgoing Miss America – and Miss New York – Nina Davuluri.

For her talent performance, Kazantsev sang Pharrell Williams Happy while sitting cross-legged on the stage and banging a red plastic cup on the floor.

She named combating sexual assault in the military as the issue about which she would want female U.S. Senators to press their male counterparts.

The first runner-up was Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett.

Other top five finalists were Miss Arkansas Ashton Jo Campbell; Miss Florida Victoria Cowen; and Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn.

Miss North Dakota, Jacky Arness was chosen by her peers as Miss Congeniality.

The pageant shone a positive light on the struggling seaside gambling resort, which has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons lately: a rash of casino closings, thousands of unemployed workers and a domestic violence case involving a former NFL star.

For three hours last night, America got a different look at Atlantic City. The Miss America pageant presented an upbeat view of the city where it began in 1921.

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev walks the runway after she was named Miss America 2015. (AP)