Clap along if you feel like a cup without a beat: Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America on Sunday night, thanks in part to a bizarre talent segment involving a red Solo cup and Pharrell‘s soulful pop smash “Happy.”
The performance above finds the 23-year-old Manhattan native sitting cross-legged on the stage, banging that frat party staple on the floor while attempting the song’s ubiquitous vocal riffs. In an homage to Anna Kendrick’s audition scene from the 2012 musical-comedy Pitch Perfect, Kazantsev claps her hands and smacks the cup in “time,” building to a messy breakdown wherein the downbeat dissolves into pure rhythmic chaos.
“The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life,” Kazantsev told The Associated Press. “I literally in that minute and 30 seconds had the most fun I’ve ever had, and that’s because I stayed true to myself and I did what I wanted to do for my talent, no matter what everybody else told me, and it paid off. I’m very happy about it.”
Kazantsev may have taken home the crown (and a $50,000 scholarship) on Sunday night, but the decision wasn’t unanimous on Twitter: As noted by New York Daily News, the hashtag #solocup became a trending topic after her controversial cup performance, with viewers weighing in on the merits of such a skill.
Popular on Rolling Stone
Other contestant talents included the usual variety – playing the piano, acting, dancing. But Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart took a less conventional route, becoming the first ventriloquist on the show in 50 years with her creepy version of the Mary Poppins tune “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” assisted by a wisecracking puppet named Roxy.