I have opened eyes.''
Jones made it into the top 5 wearing a bedazzled knee brace. She tore knee ligaments Thursday while rehearsing her baton-twirling routine, which she executed flawlessly Sunday night.
The pageant had pitted 53 contestants - one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.
Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization, said he was thrilled it all played out in Atlantic City after a six-year stint in Las Vegas.
"This is where we belong,'' he said. "This is the home of Miss America, and this is where we're going to stay.''
The pageant started in Atlantic City in 1921 as a way to extend the summer tourism season for an extra weekend.
The pageant may have crowned Nina Davuluri, but what has been highlighted is America's cultural diversity, which is exactly what the Indian-American was herself promoting.