Top 20 Evening Gowns from the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Competition

Evening gown is by far my favorite part of the competition. It is signature to the pageant world. Women from all walks of life glide across the stage wearing gorgeous gowns that reflect their own personality and style.

On a national stage like Miss USA, contestants go above and beyond to make sure they feel like a queen floating across the stage. For Miss USA, evening gown counts for 33% of the final score.

The gowns were as diverse as the contestants this year. There were so many different styles, colors, and embellishments it was hard to narrow down. It took watching the preliminary show a few times but I finally have a Top 20!

20.) Miss Indiana USA – Brittany Winchester

Gold one of the most popular colors on the Miss USA stage this year. Luckily, no two gowns were even slightly alike. This is one of my favorites. It looked amazing under the lighting. The all over sequin detailing was a great choice to make this gown her own.

The detailing on the bodice is incredible. The bottom is simple in that it is only sequins. The top is full of intricate beading. The belt detailing really cinches in her waist and creates a gorgeous hourglass figure. Her long, soft, chocolate waves complete the Old Hollywood look.

Miss Indiana USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Indiana USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

19.) Miss Utah USA – Baylee Jensen

She looked like a tall glass of water onstage. At 6’5″ with heels, she towered over all the other contestants. She has the frame to pull off this amazing gown. I love that she paid homage to her mother, Miss USA 1989, by choosing an 80s-inspired gown. Luckily, she choose the good parts about the 80s to her look.

It is is proof that green is not just for redheads as it looks amazing with her golden skin and dark hair. Since the gown has longs sleeves and a modest v-neck and back, the high slit adds just enough sex appeal for the Miss USA stage and prevents her from looking matronly.

Since the gown is very busy, pulling her hair up similar to style Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez wore when she won Miss Universe 2014. Her earrings are simple, but that is perfect considering the gown has so much sparkle.

Miss Utah USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Utah USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

18.) Miss North Dakota USA – Raquel Wellentin

A great example of not only green but a ballgown! Ballgowns are typically reserved for younger age divisions. However, ever since Nia Sanchez won the title of Miss Universe 2014 in a red ballgown, the trend has been appearing more and more in the Miss category in pageants across the board.

The jewel tone of this gown is gorgeous. Jewel tones are universally flattering so Raquel was right to stick with one. The plunging neckline of the ballgown takes the gown from Teen to Miss. The earrings match the detailing in the bodice, an important detail that helps bring the entire look together.

Miss North Dakota USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss North Dakota USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

17.) Miss Kentucky USA – Madelynne Myers

This is another beautiful ballgown that graced the stage. It is not as “sexy” as the other ballgowns. However, Madelynne is only 22 making her one of the younger contestants. Since she is rather young, she can get away with a ballgown that doesn’t have slits or dramatic plunging necklines.

This gown lands on my list because it is the perfect example of “The Girl Wearing The Dress” not “The Dress Wearing Her”. As someone who has competed as well as judged pageants, I have seen beautiful gowns but the girl wearing the gown is lost because the dress is too busy or detailed. The contestant fails to shine. However, from the second Madelynne walked out I could not talk my eyes off of her. She looked like a fairy-godmother gliding down the stage. The look is breathtaking.

Miss Kentucky USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Kentucky USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

16.) Miss Tennessee USA – Allee-Sutton Hethcoat

Another one of my favorite gold gowns of the night. Allee made a smart choice going with a paler tone of gold since she has a fairer skin tone. A tone like Illinois would have washed her out. The halter neckline is ultra flattering and enhanced her bustline to create a beautiful silhouette. She also went with big soft waves but parted her hair to the side to really nail a modern version of the Old Hollywood glamour trend.

Miss Tennessee USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Tennessee USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

15.) Miss New York USA – Hannah Lopa

A redhead in green is never a fail. Hannah was definitely the Jessica Rabbit of this year’s contestants. She was also one of the most stylish and confident. It showed in her sultry walk down the long stage.

I love that she didn’t go with a solid green evening gown. The gown itself is nude but the detailing is done with a mixture of green rhinestones and beading. This made the look stand out from the typical “redhead in green” trend. She had more green at the top than bottom to compliment her red hair. The nude would have washed her out if not for the detailing. It also brings and keeps the attention on her gorgeous face and smile.

Miss New York USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss New York USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

14.) Miss Virginia USA – Jacqueline Carroll

I really love all the ballgowns this year! This one is fantastic for a number of reasons. First, it uses the classy black and white look that helps Jacqueline channel Audrey Hepburn! The extremely deep plunge balances out the sweetness of the tulle skirt. The beaded belt adds just enough sparkle while highlighting her teeny-tiny waist.

Miss Virginia USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Virginia USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

13.) Miss Texas USA – Nancy Gonzalez

This was my favorite gold gown of the night. I am still shocked Nancy did not make the Top 10. Her walk was sultry but still classy. She has golden skin so this tone almost appears to be nude on her. However, the allover shimmer helps distinguish what is skin and what is gown. She is actually very covered. However, the immaculate tailoring shows off every curve of her body which is appropriate for Miss USA.

I also love the deep plunge as it draws the attention to her face. Statement earrings help her complete the look.

Miss Texas USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Texas USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

12.) Miss Alaska USA – Alyssa London

This gown is gorgeous. However, her presentation was odd at first. The train of the gown acts like an overcoat to pay homage to her Native American/Tlingit heritage. However, during the preliminary competition, this was not explained like it was when Alyssa made the Top 10 on finals night.

However, once it was explained, it made sense. The gown is gorgeous. The red is perfect with her big brown eyes and gold skin. The fit is perfect and the high slit adds a lot of sexy appeal. It looked incredible under the lights with the hundreds of sequins and moved great. She was proud to wear this custom gown and it showed in her walk.

Miss Alaska USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Alaska USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

11.) Miss New Jersey USA – Chhavi Verg

This gown is gorgeous. I love that she choose an off-the-rack Sherri Hill. It proves you do not have to have something custom for a national stage. It fits her to a T and the gown truly let her shine.

I love New Jersey, but she landed lower on the list for a few styling errors. First off, straight long hair is a risk in evening gown. With a halter neckline and black color, her straight hair fell flat for me. It blends into the gown and takes away from the look. Even a simple half-up-half-down style would have taken this look from an eight to a 10.

As I said, I love off-the-rack and I love black. However, I think with the very high level of competition this year, the true beauty of this gown was lost in dramatic trains and custom detailing. I think it is a great gown for any state level pageant. However, I do not think it was quite to par for Miss USA this year.

Miss New Jersey USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss New Jersey USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

10.) Miss Missouri USA – Bayleigh Dayton

Bayleigh said she wanted a gown that highlighted her small waist and boy did she find it! This gown hugs every curve of her body. The ruching is strategically placed to highlight certain parts of her body, like her waist, to highlight her amazing figure.

Red is a power color. It commands attention and the stage. Combined with the structure of the gown, there was not much need for sparkle. She added just enough with the simple long rhinestone earrings.

Miss Missouri USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Missouri USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

9.) Miss Connecticut USA – Olga Litvinenko

The best ballgown of the night in my opinion. The royal blue looks stunning with Olga’s red hair. It is a fresh look compared to the more common green gown on a redhead. The full princess skirt is balanced out with an extreme plunging v-neck. The sparkle in the bodice keeps the focus on her face and torso.

Miss Connecticut USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Connecticut USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

8.) Miss Colorado USA – Sabrina Janssen

My favorite green gown of the night! Colorado went with unique side cutouts and extreme shimmer to help her be memorable as she was one of the first contestants. The emerald jewel tone is great with her pale skin and dark hair. The faux belt falls across the narrowest part of her waist giving her an envious hourglass figure.

She finished the look off with big waves and earrings to keep the attention towards her face. She has a beautiful smile and floated across the stage.

Miss Colorado USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Colorado USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

7.) Miss Florida USA – Linette De Los Santos

This gown is a fantastic fit for Linette! It is similar to the gown she wore at Miss Florida USA 2017 where she was first runner-up but later crowned after the original winner was dethroned. The nude/lace overlay is the exact type of gown she wore for state. However, she takes it up a notch for the national stage by choosing a unique lace and dramatic fabric train. Her perfectly styled hair complemented the feel of the gown. The white also popped against her skin.

Miss Florida USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Florida USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

6.) Miss California USA – India Williams 

I am shocked she did not make it to the Top 5. She looked incredible in this armor-inspired look. The armor look is a direct contrast to her sweet, bubbly personality but it works.

The long sleeves are balanced out with an exposed v-neckline. The belt at the waist breaks up the busy pattern just enough to prevent her hourglass figure from appearing boxy. Beautiful long locks and simple earrings add just a touch of sweetness to the tough look.

Miss California USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss California USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

5.) Miss Idaho USA – Cassie Lewis

As with my swimsuit article, this photo does not do Cassie justice. This wine red looked AMAZING onstage. The pattern on top created beautiful curves and shined under the lights. The material was light and flowed across the stage. Her shoes matched the detailing in the top and the earring mimicked the beautiful scalloped edge. The slit was the perfect length to balance against the plunging neckline.

Miss Idaho USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Idaho USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

4.) Miss Nevada USA – Lauren York

I gasped when she walked onstage. This gown has a beautiful broken glass look. The rhinestoning across the body was extremely flattering. The white is perfect to achieve this look and looks great against her tan skin and blonde hair.

Miss Nevada USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Nevada USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

3.) Miss South Carolina USA – Megan Gordon

This gown was stunning onstage. The royal blue was perfect. During the evening gown phase on the final night, the hosts said Megan has always dreamed of competing on the Miss USA stage in a royal blue evening gown. She is living her dream and beams onstage.

The cut of the gown makes her look like a modern princess. The slim column of the gown flatters her envious figure and highlights her height. The long attached train further elongates her frame. It also adds drama and detail to help the gown stand out.

Miss South Carolina USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss South Carolina USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

2.) Miss Ohio USA – Dinaleigh Baxter

I have said before it is really hard to wear a pink gown and not look like a gumball. However, one way to wear pink onstage is in the detailing of a gown. Dinaleigh chose a sexy, low-cut, black gown with a bright pink shoulder train. The pink was still appropriate for the Miss division.

Since the shade was bright, she only used a small amount of pink to help make the look stand out to the judges. The shoulder train glided behind her as she walked and gave her an a glamorous look. The half-up-half-down hairstyle is also a hit. It adds height to elongate her frame and balances out the long shoulder train.

Miss Ohio USa 2017 Evening Gown
Miss Ohio USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

1.) Miss District of Colombia USA – Kára McCullough

There is a reason she is our new Miss USA. Kára looked like a goddess onstage. The gold and white combo gives off a Greek Goddess vibe. The bedazzled gold top looks like armor. The toughness of the heavily studded top is balanced out the the beautiful, flowing white train. She looked like she was walking on air.

I also love that she embraced her natural hair. Her Afro is gorgeous and healthy. Her long earrings elongate her neck and highlight her gorgeous facial features. Her turn halfway during her walk was also on point.

Miss District of Columbia USA 2017 Evening Gown
Miss District of Columbia USA 2017 during the 2017 Miss USA Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. Photo: Pageant Update

What do you think? Did your favorite make the cut? Comment below!

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