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The next Miss America will be crowned around 10 p.m., central time.

On Thursday night, Miss America contestant Emili McPhail, representing Virginia, was asked what she would say to NFL players about whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem as part of the preliminary round for the 2019 Miss America Competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei, was named first runner-up.

Win she won, Franklin said, "It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my lovely family". "I want to thank my handsome family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer".

Franklin, 24, wowed judges when she performed an opera song during the talent portion of the competition.

During the competition, Franklin, who is black, described how music helped her find her identity. "I've already seen so many young women reaching out to me personally as Miss New York asking how they can get involved because I think they feel more empowered that they don't have to do things such as walk in a swimsuit for a scholarship".

Colin Kaepernick tweets support of Dolphins WR's protest
However, NBC did show the anthem Thursday night, and no players kneeled or protested in other ways. "Otherwise worse!" he added. On Sunday morning - before the first full slate of games - Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval of the NFL .

On the same night the National Football League's season opener featured Nike's controversial Colin Kaepernick ad, one Miss America contestant advanced through the preliminary round after addressing the NFL kneeling protests. Hosts Ross Matthews and Carrie Ann Inaba injected the evening with sass and humor.

Instead of a swimsuit competition, the competitors had a interactive session with the judges panel, which included Soledad O'Brien, Randy Jackson, Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Jessie James Decker, Carnie Wilson and Alli Webb.

The Miss America contest was started in 1921 by a group of Atlantic City businessmen who created a week of festivities, including the Atlantic City Bathing Beauty Contest, as a way to extend the summer resort season past Labor Day.

In December, the Huffington Post revealed emails that showed former CEO Sam Haskell mocking competitors with misogynistic language. The theory behind the change was that while the swimsuits highlighted women's bodies in a way that could be perceived as "sexist", a question-and-answer portion would be more likely showcase the female intellect.

Adding to the intrigue was a remarkable letter released by Mund, the outgoing Miss America, who said Carlson and Hopper had bullied, silenced and marginalized her. "And to demonstrate how they are uniquely qualified for the exciting, challenging 365-day job of Miss America". "After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll". Carlson has denied the allegations.

Mund only appeared at the very end of the pageant before the next victor was crowned.