The opening number of the Miss Delaware 2013 Pageant featured the 23 delegates performing a nice jig to the sizzling club tune "That Power" by Will I Am featuring Justin Bieber.
But that was really the last time you'd see most of the contestants at the pageant, which was held Saturday at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, as the 23 girls were immediately trimmed down to 11. And as the night progressed, the delegates were reduced to the final five.
With the competition near its end, all eyes (approximately 800 pairs) were on Miss Dover Rebecca Jackson when the judges asked which three qualities they should look for in Miss Delaware. Her swift response was Miss Delaware should be a great role model, poised and love children. Though Jackson faced stiff competition with the other finalists, her answer certainly sealed the deal, earning her just a shade under $10,000 in scholarship money and a chance to compete in the Miss America competition.
After receiving the shimmering crown, Jackson, who's majoring in vocal performance at the University of Delaware, was surrounded by a cluster of media as they snapped away photos of her posing with the other finalists, fellow pageant winners from other states and her family. She was then whisked away to the pageant's after party, held in another room at Dover Downs.
"I'm just so excited to represent the state of Delaware and I know I'm going to do a great job," Jackson said to the Dover Post during the after party.
Jackson's platform is fostering children and her mission involves "teaching them music in order to facilitate bonds between their family and them," she said. "But I also want to take this to [schools] because every single child can relate to music and can find their self-worth in music."
While Jackson intends to begin work on her platform "as soon as possible," she added her first priority is preparing for the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., this September.
"I'm extremely excited," said Jackson, a native of Kennett Square, Pa. "I know that I'll be a wonderful representative for the state of Delaware and I'm going to work as hard as I can to get into that top 15."
Miss Delaware 2012 Alyssa Murray is confident Jackson will shine as her replacement.
"I could not be happier with their choice," said Murray, of Selbyville. "She's going to do wonderful things with the title, as far as service, and she's going to be a force at Miss America."
The four runner-ups
In addition to Jackson, Victorian Brown-Obrien (Miss Capital), whose hometown is Dover, also made the state's capital proud by finishing fourth in the Miss Delaware pageant. The third runner-up was Brittany Lewis (Miss Hockessin). Second runner-up was Angelica Nadi (Miss Blue-Gold) and first runner-up was Alix Hayden Gardner (Miss Mid-State).