[BRIGHTCOVE “21029505” “” “peoplenow” “auto” ]There she is, Miss America!
Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields has taken home the crown for Miss America 2017 after beating out 52 competitors from across the country.
Shields, 21, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, impressed a panel of judges including gymnast Gabby Douglas, actresses Laura Marano and Sara Foster, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawkes and singer Cole Swindell during the competition, which took place Sunday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Co-host Chris Harrison joked with PEOPLE just before the show, “Apparently it’s in my contract to be around 25 or more beautiful women at all times.”
“I don’t know if I am the perfect host, but I love doing it,” he continued. “I respect the organization and I respect the competition, I respect the women, I respect what they’re doing and you have to respect what it took to get here.”
Gold medalist Gabby Douglas told PEOPLE she was thrilled to be asked to judge the competition. “Now the tables are turned and I get to be a judge!” she said. “It’s crazy. I’m just so grateful to have these opportunities come my way, and to have this amazing platform.”
And Cole Swindell previously told PEOPLE what his judging criteria were for the title-holder.
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“I think Miss America needs to be genuine, and hopefully I can help see through to that,” he said. “Hopefully I can pick out a good girl, because I know they’re all going to be gorgeous and smart.”
The competition began in 1921 as a beauty competition on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
Shields will be taking over the title from Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell.
• With reporting by JILLIAN RUFFO