Betty Cantrell performs her talent during the 2016 Miss America Pageant. Photo: Miss America
What a year it was for the talent competitions. Big voices were the strong point this year; from opera to monologues, the talent competition was about using your voice to get noticed. These ladies performed their talents well and with a confidence that commanded the stage and the judges attention.
To create this list we took into consideration the uniqueness of the talent, the quality of performance, the growth potential for the talent, and how talked-about the talent was following the pageant. (Read: Top 10 Pageant Talents of All Time
Most Memorable Pageant Talents of 2015
Looking for a pageant coach to help you with your talent? Click here to discover a coach in your home town.
Honorable Mention: Alayna Westcom, Miss Vermont 2015
With a table of glass reminiscent of Gracie Lou Freebush in Miss Congeniality
, Alayna brought Miss Frizzle to the Miss America stage.
With only 90 seconds she wasn't able to do much, but she did manage to get the audience engaged and make a big mess in the process. While her talent was introduced with a very technical monologue at the beginning, the audience was clearly excited to see exactly what all she was saying meant. (Read: What to Do for Pageant Talent When You Don't Have a Talent
She is no doubt a hit when she visits elementary schools.
10. May Coppler, Semi-Finalist International Cinderella 2015
At just 13-years-old, May performed Mozarts "Ave Verum Corpus" in a flawless and mature performance well beyond her years. There is an undeniable grace and elegance to her voice, and she performed much like Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell.
9. Aliyah Mashima Douglas, Talent Winner at Cinderella International
This amazing 10 year old performed, "Doll Song" from The Tales of Hoffman,
when she won. She has poise on stage and an amazing voice to top it off. She also has a performance quality that is very mature for her age. She is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.
Below she is performing at the 2015 AAMTC Talent Competition in Dallas, TX and also performed the same routine at Cinderella Internationals.
8. Mariah Larronde, Miss North Phoenix's Outstanding Teen 2016
Mariah was a recent Cinderella State Teen prior to being crowned Miss North Phoenix's Outstanding Teen in October 2015.
For anyone tired of hearing the Frozen
soundtrack, you'll love Mariah singing, "Do You Want to Be My Boyfriend." She performed it during her Cinderella competitions and below is performing it at East Valley's Got Talent
which she won and went on to win Arizona's Got Talent.
Be sure to watch for her, because this young lady certainly has talent and is extremely comfortable on stage.
7. Taylor Wiebers, Miss Iowa 2015
Taylor won multiple preliminary awards during the week leading up to Miss America, including preliminary talent, but unfortunately did not make into the talent competition of the Miss America Finals.
Her voice is no doubt amazing and anyone who had heard her perform before and after finals night wondered how she didn't make it to the top.
Below she is performing for a news station morning show after returning to Iowa following Miss America 2016.
6. Georgia Frazier, Miss Oklahoma 2015
Georgia's vibrant performance of "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Barbara Streisand earned her adoration from the judges, who were clearly engaged as she sang. She even earned a small smile from the head judge, Vanessa Williams.
Knowing Georgia's battle with Cervical Cancer makes her song choice even more special.
5. Jessi Grandillas, Miss Arizona's Outstanding Teen 2015
Jessi performed a soulful pop vocal at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2016. Not only did she sing, but she also played guitar.
Her performance won her a preliminary talent award in addition to evening gown and onstage question preliminaries. She also finished 3rd Runner-up to Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2016, Allie Nault.
In the link below she is performing "You and I" by Ingrid Michaelson while taking a break from rehearsing her talent for Miss America's Outstanding Teen.
Jessi Gradillas, Miss Arizona's Outstanding Teen 2015. Photo May Coppcourtesy of the Miss Arizona's Outstanding Teen Facebook page.
Click here to see Jessi Performing.
4. Daja Dial, Miss South Carolina 2015
Daja sang "Believe" from Fantasia Barrino during the talent portion of Miss America. Her performance was good, but certainly wasn't as commanding as other performances.
Her passion was clear as she moved around the stage, but her voice seemed a bit muffled as if her nerves were getting to her a bit.
3. Lisa Punch, Miss World Guyana 2015
Lisa won the Miss World Talent Competition with her performance of "One Last Time," an original song inspired by her deceased cousin.
She sings with a passion and heart that surly captured the judge's attention and made her stand out to win. (Read: The Ultimate Guide to Succeeding in Miss World Talent
2. Betty Cantrell, Miss America 2016
Betty's strong performance of "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" sealed the crown for her at the Miss American 2016 pageant. She won one of the talent preliminary awards earlier in the week. If my memory is correct, there was even a small smile from Vanessa Williams, head judge, following this performance.
Since her Miss America win she has performed with the Philly POPS, at various schools, and at sporting events.
1. Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado 2015
Without a doubt, the most talked about talent of 2015 was Kelley Johnson's original monologue about nursing and her patient with Alzheimer's, Joe. Kelley's passion and heart was shown in her eyes and in her voice as she spoke to the audience about something that so many people deal with on a daily basis.
Her basic costume featuring her scrubs, sneakers, and stethoscope was ridiculed on The View. S
he was invited on Ellen.
She made everyone look at nurses in a new light and gave them a spotlight.
Her monologue has allowed other girls to embrace monologue has a talent. She has become proof that you do not have to be able to sing, dance, or twirl to make it into the Top 5 and 2nd Runner-up at Miss America. Way to go, Kelley! (Read: 5 Best Monologues for Pageant Talent
The dancers seemed to stumble a bit this year and the instrumentalist had various issues, unfortunately. It's the performances that used voice, singing and talking that kept us engaged and are still talked about even in the new year. (Read: 9 Classic Movie Stars Who Would've Rocked Pageant Talent Competitions
Keep practicing and maybe next year you'll be in our Memorable Talents of 2016 lists. Good luck ladies!