Kira Kazantsev won the 2014 Miss America pageant last night, making it the third year in a row Miss New York has won the competition. It probably wasn't the luck of the Empire State that captured the judge's hearts, because we think it was her performance in the talent round that scored her the title.
The 23-year-old stunner devised a unique rendition of Pharrell's 10-week No. 1 smash "Happy" that was inspired in part by Anna Kendrick's beloved Pitch Perfect single "Cups." Sitting on the ground, Miss NY nails the hand-clap routine with a plastic, red cup while singing a somewhat-twangy rendition of Pharrell's hit. The audience's clapping muddles the cup routine a little bit, but Kazantsev doesn't miss a beat and was probably reveling in the fact that the crowd was enjoying it.
There was a bit of backlash over the performance on social media (One Twitter user wrote, "A girl with a solo cup sitting on the ground won #MissAmerica..that's what drunk college girls do freshman year after jungle juice!"), but Miss America isn't sweating the haters.
"It's unconventional; and sometimes people aren't as open to change as some would like," she told The Associated Press. "It's just something different and I hope people take it as a positive. If they can appreciate that and be happy with what I did, then that's all I can ask."
We think it's a genuinely impressive and clever performance. Plus, when was the last time you saw a Miss America contestant sit on the ground? Never. Peep the performance above and then watch a bonus clip of Kazantsev winning the competition below.