Apologies for the lateness of this, I've had a busy week! The Tennessee finals are being held at 4pm Saturday and will be webcast here.
For the first time in many years, I believe since at least the 1990s, both the Miss & Teen pageants are being held in a combined event. Sadly Tennessee has been hit hard - maybe the hardest - by the current downturn in contestant numbers and there will be only 18 Miss contestants and 28 Teen competing this year, a total of 46 which is barely half what they have attracted in recent years. In 2007 there was a total of 173 contestants!
This is especially sad considering Tennessee sent one of their strongest duos of recent years to the Miss USA & Teen USA pageants earlier this year and were rewarded with two top 10 placements - I had both Alexandra & Sofie in my top five.
The vast majority of the Miss contestants this year will be competing for the first time. The only returning runner-up - and indeed the only one of last year's top 15 - is Savana Hodge who was 2nd runner-up last year. Rayni Lasley was a semi-finalist in Illinois in 2013 & 2015. Destiny Franklin and Amanda Bell were non-finalists in TN last year.
In Teen both 2018 first runner-up Betty Kelley and 2017 first runner-up Elizabeth Pistole (top 15 in 2018) are competing again this year. Last year's fourth runner-up Bailey Guy is also back. Ryleigh Boyd is the only other returning 2018 semi-finalist.
Returning contestants are marked with asterisks:
Destiny Franklin • Center Hill (NF 18)
Virginia Britto • Chattanooga
Lydia Hollis • Cleveland
Savana Hodge • Davidson Co. (2RU 18)
Amanda Bell • Downtown Nashville (NF 18, NF 17)
Tara Koch • Franklin
Loren Billingsley • Greater Nashville
Charne' Thomas • Heart of Nashville
Caitlyn Long • Knoxville
CaDana Campbell • Mid-South
Geysel Gomez Lozada • Murfreesboro
Mary Martinez-Schmidt • Music City
Rayni Lasley • Nashville (SF IL USA 15, SF 13)
Alli-Grace Gilstrap • Smoky Mountain
Katherine Rogers • Volunteer State
Morgan Ann Mathis • Wayne Co.
Lauren Murrell • Williamson Co.
Megan Ski Hollingsworth • Wilson Co. (TN TUSA 17)
MISS TENNESSEE TEEN USA CONTESTANTS (28)
Brooklyn Tippett • Brentwood
Mackenzie Sprague • Center Hill
Paradise Roblero • Chattanooga (NF 18)
Aurora Rives • Clarksville
Alyssa Bates • Franklin
Lindsey Fletcher • Gallatin
Jaedin Shilling • Golden Volunteer
Bailey Guy • Greater Nashville (4RU 18, NF 07)
Betty Kelley • Heart of Knoxville (1RU 18)
Whitney Powell • Heart of Nashville
Hallie Marshall • Historic Columbia
Giana Salimov • Iris
Ryleigh Clark • Johnson City (NF 18)
McKenzie Stapleton • Knox Co.
Haylee Taylor • Lawrence Co.
Mattie Ray • Lebanon
Ansley Ecker • Memphis
Elizabeth Pistole • Middle TN (SF 18, 1RU 17)
Taylor Parsons • Mountain City
Isabella Ford • Music City
Savannah Maddison • Music Row
Mary Grace Beasley • Nashville
Ellington Steele • Rocky Top
Ryleigh Boyd • Scenic City (SF 18)
Kloye Peters • Tri Cities
Mercedes Glasgow • Volunteer
Ava Paranjape • Williamson Co.
Alyssa Mayberry • Wilson Co.