Las Vegas Sun

January 22, 2018

Currently: 50° — Complete forecast

How the judges score the Miss America Pageant hopefuls


Tom Donoghue/

Miss America Organization Chairman Sam Haskell III introduced the celebrity judges at a press conference in Planet Hollywood on Jan. 27, 2010. From left are Vivica A. Fox, Dave Koz, Brooke White, Shawn Johnson, Rush Limbaugh and Katie Harman.

More Coverage

See all of the Sun's 2010 Miss America Pageant coverage.

2010 Miss America Pageant: The Judges

The judges of the 2010 Miss America Pageant Vivica A. Fox, Dave Koz, Brooke White, Shawn Johnson, Rush Limbaugh and Katie Harman attend a news conference at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 27, 2010. Launch slideshow »

2010 Miss America Pageant Judges

The 2010 Miss America Pageant judges explain how they judge on their area of expertise.

Fans of the annual Miss America Pageant have asked how the judges score each contestant. First, there’s the one-on-one, 10-minute interview session for each of the 53 contestants with each of the six judges. Then there’s the three nights of preliminary competition judging and then the finals night scoring.

Our contributing photographers Tom Donoghue and Scott Harrison and our videographer Trent Ogle were on hand for yesterday’s official celebrity judges press conference at Planet Hollywood, where judge and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh spoke about his heart problems suffered while in Honolulu during Christmas.

The weighted score values on Tuesday, yesterday and again tonight are as follows: Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit, 15 percent; Evening Wear, 20 percent; Talent: 35 percent; Private Interview: 25 percent; and the dreaded, sometimes brutal onstage question: 5 percent.

The weighted scoring on Saturday night during the broadcast, as the show cuts down the contestants at each semifinal, is as follows: Composite Score, 30 percent for the Top 16; Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit, 20 percent for the Top 16; Evening Wear, 20 percent for the Top 10; Talent, 30 percent for the Top 8; and Onstage Question for the Top 8.

For the final ballot, each judge ranks the Top 5 contestants in the order they believe they should each finish. The outcome of the pageant is based solely on the point totals resulting from that final ballot.

Rush and fellow judge and jazz musician Dave Koz said yesterday -- as the other judges agreed with them -- that judging the Miss America Pageant is a tough assignment that they take very seriously.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at