Press release from ABC, Aug. 15, 2017:
The Miss America Organization, dick clark productions and ABC today announced the first four celebrity judges for the final night of “The 2018 Miss America Competition”: multiplatinum ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett; author, actress and model Molly Sims; multiplatinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks; and PEOPLE Editor in Chief Jess Cagle. Additional celebrity judges to be announced in the coming weeks. The judges panel will evaluate the contestants’ performances in Lifestyle and Fitness, Evening Wear, Talent, Interview and On-Stage questions during the “The 2018 Miss America Competition,” which will air live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 (9:00 – 11:00p.m. EDT). The Miss America Competition showcases the intellect, grace and exceptional talent of 51 accomplished women representing their home states (and District of Columbia) as they compete for the coveted title of Miss America.
“I’m so excited to be a judge at this year’s competition and am happy to participate alongside an organization that is an advocate for women’s education,” said Molly Sims. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the young women who have come this far and hearing more about them and their interests!”
“I am honored to participate as a judge for the Miss America Competition this year,” said Jordin Sparks. “I understand the pressure that a competition brings and I’m lucky it’s given me the unique perspective on the hard work that the contestants have to put in to get to this point. No doubt they are all strong women and I look forward to hearing the platforms they represent.”
Grammy-nominated and ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett is set to debut his third album “Life Changes” on September 8. It is the biggest, boldest-sounding record of his career, filled with songs that stretch his sound to new limits, with its lead single “Craving You” quickly skyrocketing to No. 1. “Life Changes” follows the release of his sophomore effort “Tangled Up Deluxe,” which tapped into something widespread and universal earning major trophies from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, Billboard Music Awards, CMT Music Awards and more. Thomas Rhett has proved to have a “commanding stage presence” (Rolling Stone) as he continues on his “energetic and dance worthy” (Hits Daily Double) first headlining 2017 HOME TEAM TOUR.
Molly Sims is recognized for her work as an actress, model, humanitarian and author. She is often noted for her savvy sense of style and fashion, which she showcases on her blog, MollySims.com. Most recently, Molly teamed up with Awestruck to launch “The Molly Sims YouTube channel” which serves as an extension of her existing digital platforms. Sims released her first book, “The Everyday Supermodel: My Beauty, Fashion, and Wellness Secrets Made Simple” in January 2015, which was a New York Times best seller. She will release her second book, “Everyday Chic: My Secrets for Entertaining, Organizing, and Decorating at Home,” later this year on October 10. She recently guest starred on the TBS show “Men At Work” and played the manipulative Delinda Deline for five seasons on NBC’s hit television series, “Las Vegas.” In addition to her successful television career, Molly has also appeared on the silver screen in feature films including “Yes Man,” “Fired Up,” “The Benchwarmers” and “Starsky & Hutch.” Molly’s acting career began to soar after she landed the coveted role as host on MTV’s House of Style. In addition to her contract with MTV at the time, Sims gained even more recognition after signing an exclusive, multiyear contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics. Furthermore, she gained even more attention as the ultimate celebrity icon from her Old Navy commercials and, of course, her sultry images in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue four years consecutively. She has also been featured in advertising campaigns for CoverGirl, Jimmy Choo, Old Navy, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, M&Ms, Nautica, Armani, Chanel and H&M. As a philanthropist, Sims works closely with Baby2Baby and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Jordin Sparks is a Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum, singer/songwriter and actress who, in one of the show’s highest rated seasons, garnered worldwide attention as winner of season six “American Idol.” Sparks’ popular singles have sold over 10 million digital tracks in the U.S. Sparks is also a gifted songwriter. Arianna Grande’s smash single, “The Way,” was co-written by Sparks and earned her a BMI songwriting award. She has toured with superstars Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, The Jonas Brothers, New Kids on The Block and the Backstreet Boys, as well as headlined her own tour. She has also lent her voice to recordings for films such as Disney’s “African Cats,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Best Man Holiday.” After Sparks’ “Battlefield” tour, she headed straight to the Great White Way and starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash, “In the Heights.” She made her film debut playing the lead role in the SONY Pictures film “Sparkle,” opposite Whitney Houston. Her next film, “God Bless the Broken Road,” is scheduled for release in early 2018. Jordin’s positive body image, message and success has impacted people worldwide. She considers philanthropy an integral part of her life and was recently profiled by CNN Heroes and Dress for Success for her work through her own charity, The M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Girls. Today she is considered a social media influencer due to her impressive social media following. She has successfully transitioned into network broadcasting hosting/co-hosting on some of television’s most iconic programs such as NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “The View,” CBS’ “The Talk,” PBS’ “Great Performances” (with John Lithgow) amongst others. She is currently working on her untitled fourth album.
Jess Cagle is editor in chief of PEOPLE and editorial director of Time Inc.’s Style and Entertainment Group, which includes PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, PeopleStyle, People en Espanol and Essence. Cagle oversees editorial content across print, digital, social and video – reaching a combined audience of more than 150 million. He is also host of “The Jess Cagle Interview”; a video series featuring his interviews with major stars, which airs on all platforms of PEOPLE and EW. He is a regular co-host on ABC’s Academy Awards(R) red carpet pre-show, and makes frequent appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Today” and many entertainment news programs. Under Cagle’s leadership, PEOPLE has moved aggressively into television programming, which includes “PEOPLE Magazine Investigates,” the hit true-crime show on Investigation Discovery; “PEOPLE Icons,” a series of ABC primetime specials; and “The Story of Diana,” a two-night television event on Princess Diana, which aired in 2017, on ABC. Digital and video brand extensions include PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN), a streaming network with original programming based on the brands’ features and franchises; “PEOPLE Now,” a daily live half-hour show on PEOPLE.com; and Red Carpet Live, a series of live-streaming specials during awards season. From 2009-14 Cagle served as editor in chief of Entertainment Weekly, where he increased EW’s audience and presence in Hollywood, transformed EW.com into a 24/7 breaking news site, and launched the Entertainment Weekly Radio channel on SiriusXM. During his career, Cagle has interviewed every major celebrity and has secured numerous exclusives and interviews from the biggest names in Hollywood. Jess Cagle lives in New York. He was born in Texas and is a graduate of Baylor University.
As previously announced, Chris Harrison (ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”) returns to host the legendary competition, with Sage Steele (ESPN’s “SportsCenter on the Road” and “SportsCenter: AM”) joining as co-host.
Voting is still open to the public for the “America’s Choice” contestant. The public can vote at www.missamerica.org/vote and www.facebook.com/missamerica and are permitted one vote per day, per user. Voting will close Tuesday, September 5, at 9:00 p.m. EDT, and the chosen contestant will be announced during the live broadcast of “The 2018 Miss America Competition” with the Top 15. The remaining contestants in the Top 15 are selected by the Miss America Preliminary Judges Panel. It is possible for America’s Choice to also be among the judges selection.
dick clark productions and the Miss America Organization will collaborate on all creative, marketing, sponsorship, licensing, ticketing and distribution elements of this year’s show. Anthony Eaton and Tall Pony Productions will produce “The 2018 Miss America Competition.”