Suzette Charles - Miss America Talent Competition

Suzette Charles sings "Kiss Me in the Rain" in the 1983 Miss America Pageant.

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Author cloud625 ( ago)
I wish Suzette Charles from New Jersey was Miss USA instead Miss America.

Author John Doe ( ago)
Suzette Charles was in Coming to America looking fabulous.

Author Eastcoaster101 ( ago)
I hear either Barbra or Whitney.... wow what a voice.... most would
probably say Whitney though as she's most recent, and to call it like it
is... they're both black.... but I hear more Barbra than anything

Author pageantconsultant ( ago)
Here are a few tidbits about Suzette Charles. First and foremost to most
people's surprise Suzette tried her hand at News Anchoring back in the late
Eighties, early Nineties for Channel 14 in Columbus, Georgia. After Miss
America she toured with Lou Rawls and worked with Stevie Wonder. She was
originally considered for the role of Sondra Huxtable on the Cosby Show.
Not sure why that never came to fruition. She was cast on the Soap Opera
loving during the 1984-85 season as well as appearing on the show Frank's
Place. She eventually moved to the United Kingdom and began working as a
Music Artist there. She had great success in the U.K. One of her Chart
topping hits was called Free to Love Again. Check it out here on Youtube.
It was a very popular club song played around the world. To many people's
surprise, the tracks on the song was electrifying. Presently, She is the
mother of two and married to a prominent New York Surgeon.

Author Liam Foreman ( ago)
Clearly Suzette had the better voice, but Vanessa was more than just a
voice. She had SS down with her poise and dance background, she was
intelligent, was at least 5 inches taller, and she had a charisma that
Suzette and all the other girls that year just did not have. You couldn't
look away from her. And I met her during the week back in 83. She was
friendly but was definitely NY, so don't get too close! lol. Clearly
Suzette's talent bolstered her to 1RU, but her packaging was horrendous.
Her swimsuit was horrible, I think she wore either a green or rust colored
SS, just no. She can't help her height, but I thought EG was bad, and
let's end with that hair. Any girl in 83 had nothing that looked like her
hair. She was too slick and looked like a casino lounge singer, which she
was. Had she gone a bit more girl next door she might have pulled it off,
but I doubt it. Vanessa was the first person to come to AC that year,
something usually reserved for HI or AK. Nope, NY knew they had a winner,
and she dominated the local papers and created such a buzz right from the
start, everyone wanted to come and see this girl. That being said,
Suzette KILLED it that night. I was there, and she was definitely the most
talented of the top ten.

Author Bryan Edney ( ago)
Vanessa won the crown but Suzette would probably have been a celeb had
there been a show like "American Idol" or "America's Got Talent" or
"X-Factor". For pageant judges, however, Vanessa Williams was the "it girl"
that year. Swimsuit and Interview put her on top...and, oh boy, did Vanessa
have a winning smile!!!
Miss America does more than just sing during her year of
service...interviews, public speaking and signing autographs. Just the Way
I see it. Both are talented, but in different ways.

Author Jay'Rell 4Real ( ago)
With that being said she does have a stronger voice than Vanessa but
Vanessa has the whole package and she won

Author Jay'Rell 4Real ( ago)
Vanessa won so ya'll can forget it

Author jnshot97 ( ago)
Whitney tones!

Author antij1 ( ago)
I like this performance from her also Her
performance starts at about 5:17.

Author ChrisAmericaUSA ( ago)
Suzette was good but just missing that extra something that is not better
than Vanessa's performance.....but Suzette was good

Author Raymond Nolan Scott ( ago)
Suzette Charles
born Suzette DeGaetano
I love her singing.
She was runner up to Vanessa Williams.
Therefore even the runner up was a woman with African descent.
Suzette Charles is the daughter of an interracial married couple of a white
man with Italian descent and a black woman of French West Indian descent.
She had a different background from Vanessa Williams even though they were
both viewed as lightskinned black women back then.
Lightskinned black is such an oxymoron just like darkskinned white is such
an oxymoron.
Vanessa Williams is the daughter of parents with mixed African and European.
Vanessa Williams did DNA testing.
Her ethnic composition was shown to be an even mix of African and European
which is not a surprise to me.
We are so conditioned by the one drop rule which I feel is very irrelevant
in this 21st Century.

Author Mike Bibeault ( ago)
STILL one of the best talent performances in MA history, if not the best! A
gorgeous arrangement of a standard song, and she simply nailed it….

Author Nicole Dawn ( ago)
Extra makeup makes you look SO much older - can you believe she was only

Author ben caraballo ( ago)
Her mom was my music teacher in school when i was a kid!! I still remember
her like it way yesterday!!

Author Felix Papadakis ( ago)
Goosebumps.....she killed it.....the arrangement was beautiful...her
singing was amazing.....

Author Just Me ( ago)
Gorgeous! That pageant hair is everything, though. ^_^

Author Stage Aurora ( ago)

Author CreoleLiveDoll ( ago)

Author Michael Blackmon ( ago)
It's obvious she was the better singer

Author Bruce Powell ( ago)
Vanessa is quite lovely, but always thought SC was slightly more
beautiful. And just a slightly better voice. Fitting that both of them
were Miss Americas, I guess.

Author ValentineGirl81 ( ago)
Her voice is GREAT, but Vanessa picked a better song.

Author josbo51715 ( ago)
Vanessa chose a more popular song. Suzette Charles was too soulful and
Vanessa was just right.

Author StubbornMook ( ago)
Mike Tyson was hittin that...

Author 100abovetheinfluence ( ago)
Vanessa probably edged her in interview, swim suit and evening gown.

Author runner6500 ( ago)
I'm sorry, Suzette looks better and sings better than Vanessa. I wonder why
she went no further than MA.

Author JudahLord ( ago)
This has Whitney flavor, emotion, vocal power. Vanessa is more sweet
Broadway' Show Tune style .

Author singers333 ( ago)
love it!

Author EbonySings4u ( ago)
WOAH!!! She was great!!

Author neilbruce123 ( ago)
Where is she?

Author Jay M ( ago)
She sings great but not that great, she's trying too hard for what she has.
But Vanessa is way prettier anyway.

Author MultiFierce ( ago)
vanessa is still recognized as miss america on the list of all miss america

Author DaxShaw ( ago)
I would have picked Vanessa for Miss America too but Suzette did sing
better that night. Vanessa's singing wasn't as good then as it is now.

Author SeanL71 ( ago)
@VTMCompany I worked with the Miss NJ pageant for years. The "one point
loss" was a rumor for years. I highly doubt that was a case. Back then the
final ballot each judge ranked the top 5 in order of preference. First
place got 10 points, second place 5 points, third place 3 points, fourth 2
points and fifth 1 point. So there is no way it would have been a 1 point
difference if NJ and NY toggled between first and second place on ballots.

Author hoyageorge ( ago)
@Adizero7000 She did sing too loudly, and she was just a bit too plain
looking when you put her side by side with Vanessa. She was an awesome
contestant, but first runner up was the perfect spot for her ... Vanessa
clearly outshone everyone the entire week. It was sort of a foregone
conclusion on Saturday afternoon leading up to the final night of
competition that it was Vanessa's to lose. i'm happy Suzette was able to
take over for Vanessa after she stepped down.

Author hoyageorge ( ago)
@Adizero7000 No ... she took over for Vanessa Williams after she resigned.
Suzette only served for a month or two before she crowned the next year's

Author butler372 ( ago)
My co-worker was a musician for the Miss America Pageant. He said the
judges believed Vanessa was sexier and had more star quality!!! He also
said it was so very close that they could have tossed a coin to pick the
winner. LOL

Author RickZed ( ago)
Nice performance but she did loose a bit of control when pushing her voice.
Also she should have pulled the mic away during loud passages of the song.
Vanessa Williams had the better performance.

Author PoppaSweet ( ago)
She Nailed That Song... Wonderful...

Author josbo51715 ( ago)
@Adizero7000 No, she didn't win Miss America the year after. Vanessa
Williams had her crown taken away 11 months afterwards. Suzette got to
serve as Miss America for one month because she was the runner up.

Author shaqimianj ( ago)
Yall must of forgot this back in the days all white judges u have to sing
with less soul and vanessa did it she played her cards right lol

Author bkttkb3214 ( ago)
@thesinger. I agree with you. My daughter was in a pageant over this
weekend and that's what I told her. If she wants to win pageants, she is
going to have to be middle of the road. She said, "momma, I'm not gonna do
that." Here in America, you have to or you aren't gonna get nothin'. You
have to know how to play the game in order to get the scholarships you need.

Author antij1 ( ago)
I don't know why she didn't make it big. She's both prettier and a better
singer than Vanessa, who can barely sing at all, imo.

Author thesinger ( ago)
@TheCounslor 1st let the record reflect I AM BLACK..too her vocals where
less mainstream (meaning able to cater to black and white audiences) than
Williams' vocals...Charles..was point blank blowing like a sister from the
back of the church! Williams' was more subtle like a Pop(ular) Artist!

Author jenna thesingingdraghagdiva ( ago)
SHE SINGS BETTER HANDS DOWN! But we all have our own opinions.. I love them

Author thesinger ( ago)
I think the difference first off...Vanessa did a Barbara..America Loves
Barbara...Second....Suzette Charles...sang with TOO MUCH SOUL..she didn't
take it easy...and though sometimes her notes were big i think she over did
it...and of course her stage prescene wasnt as elegant Vanessa! Lastly too
much Blackness in her vocal.......!!

Author kevseb66 ( ago)
@aloofbooks "A slightly better vocal quality". You need a box of Qtips for
those jammed up ears of yours. Suzette's voice is far better then Vanessa
W. not to mention her delivery and song selection. I always thought Suzette
got robbed but it either of them winning would have made me happy being a
person of color.

Author Bruce Beckford ( ago)
I'll never forget watching t his pageant and when the last two ended up
being Vanessa Williams and Suzette Charles I was already on cloud nine. I
loved this song then and it still hasn't lost it's flavor after all these
years. I also remember seeing her do guest appearance on Frank Place with
Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid. I wish her career had taken off she would
have been a true asset to the entertainment community.

Author sh8kit ( ago)
I really think she sang better than Vanessa Williams that same night...WOW

Author SHARN ( ago)

Author Tryinitonmyown ( ago)
Thank you sooooo much for posting this. I've been looking for this
performance for years!

Author kennedy campbell ( ago)
@maddwitch i agree just look at britney spears, she's def not the best
singer out there by a long shot yet very popular.

Author MavNL43 ( ago)
omgsh! she's good! O__O

Author MavNL43 ( ago)
omgsh! she sure can sing! O__O

Author Mylam O'James ( ago)
Stunning performance! One can see just how strong a singer she was that
night. Brava!! Mylam O. James

Author djsfw ( ago)
wow, what a gorgeous woman. One of the best singers in pageant history.

Author Liam Foreman ( ago)
I was there that night in 1983, and backstage afterwards. There is
positively NO WAY that Suzette was 5'3". Just look at any video where the
top ten is standing together. Suzette was several inches shorter than the
next shortest girl. From day one Vanessa stood out. She won talent in her
bracket, but it wasn't just about her singing, it was the look, the
confidence, and her arrogance. She defied anyone to turn away from her, she
just commanded your undivided attention.

Author hupyt ( ago)
she had an awesome. i can see why she can in 1st runne up. either way that
was the first time we had to blk women hold the title in the same year.

Author wntoply6 ( ago)
@Karmaizabytch15 how fantastic you have suzette charles, a former miss
america as you're cousin. i do hope you get to meet this history making
woman. she is to be greatly admired. bless you khadijah!

Author MrStyle23 ( ago)
Suzette sang with more soul than Vanessa Willliams but I wouldn't say she
had a better voice. The voices are about equal but Suzette has more of a
distinctive voice based on this performance. Vanessa was and is just
breath-taking beautiful. I guess she showed us who had the most distinctive
voice with her long career in singing.

Author Beau Art ( ago)
Clearly had the pipes. Vanessa had the overall better package--she has that
little something extra than Suzette, I was a little kid watching and
Vanessa was mesmorizing to watch. Vanessa also chose a better song to
perform than Suzette, so no mistakes were made in the final outcome of this

Author gsoglenn ( ago)
Her "Wet" album.

Author josbo51715 ( ago)
I didn't know that this was a Barbra Streisand song.

Author laarbe ( ago)
Suzette Charles definitely could out sing Vanessa. Why did not Suzette's
musical career take off or become explosive like Vanessa's. I think Vanessa
won the pageant because people said she was more well rounded and gave
better interviews and stuff. They both were beautiful and talented. They
both were so light skinned that I remember the African American community
not being so impressed saying neither one of them were truely black, with
complete black features. That took awhile.

Author Fmacden ( ago)
She was just outstanding. I am sure she's been very successful in life, but
I sure wish she'd had a bigger singing career. I would love to hear more
from her. Come on, Suzette, share your talents with us.

Author misshoneybear1998 ( ago)
For those who thought Suzette outdid Vanessa, don't forget the interview
which counted for a large % of the total score. I suspect Vanessa took the
crown with her interview - she always seemed more personable in interviews
than Suzette, although I liked Suzette a lot. I also thought Vanessa had a
bigger presence in general. Lastly, Suzette was technically a better singer
than Vanessa, but Vanessa poured more into her performance, IMO.

Author MrRodgers78 ( ago)
GREAT!!! In perfect pitch and singing effortlessly and flawlessly!! Vanessa
Williams is great but Suzette crushes her! As for the 1983 MA title,
Vanessa should've won...Suzette has the pipes, but it's the collective
package that gains the crown. But still...I'm blown away by Suzette's
talent...label worthy!!!

Author norman vail ( ago)
We were ingaged but Miss Williams stole me away from her...It was horrible
being loved by these 2 at the same time...

Author dadevi ( ago)
Nobody does old school singing like this anymore. *cries*

Author EBertnyc ( ago)
Sing it Cuz!!!!

Author jeffreyBboy ( ago)
Kevseb66 you are sooooooo right, My mother to this day still thinks that
she was robbed.

Author Jonathan Richards ( ago)

Author kevseb66 ( ago)
Not to take anything away from the sucess of Vanessa Williams but I always
thought Suzzette shsould have won Miss America 1983. She's just as
beautiful as Vanessa but a much more talented vocalist.

Author cushion93 ( ago)
It's not but you also have to have a special something that makes you a
star, there are a lot of wonderful session vocalist and backup singers that
could blow a number of stars out of the water but for whatever reason they
never caught on. Vanessa had the "it" factor Suzette didn't.

Author cushion93 ( ago)
Suzette's dress was uglier then sin. Williams has a much prettier dress and
was much better in swimsuit. Williams was top 2 in every category that
night that's why she won. Suzette was a great vocalist but had zero

Author maddwitch ( ago)
I don't care much about this who's better business, but I just wanted to
comment on your statement. Since when is popular success a measure of real
talent? People eat up crap all the time while some real talents fall by the
wayside for varied reasons. Being the most popular singer, doesn't always
mean you are the better singer. It just means the masses liked you better.

Author dayg715 ( ago)
well, they both launched solo careers in entertainment, and we all know how
that story ended. so what does that tell you about who's talent was better?

Author DriveAustra ( ago)
Outside of Charles' talent, she did not shine the whole week at Miss
America. Also, she did not fit the stature of a Miss America back then. She
was like 4 ft. 11 of something like that. Vanessa had the strawberry blonde
hair and blue eyes and was more the Miss America type being the first black
to wear the crown. Obviously times have changed and all that foolishness
doesn't matter any more. But even today, Suzette could not beat out Vanessa
in a pageant.

Author butler372 ( ago)

Author butler372 ( ago)

Author lorimneal ( ago)
call me crzy, but i think the cosmos were on to something when vanessa was
crowned. i am a huge fan of hers--more so because of her personality than
her talent, cuz her acting has always left something to be be desired, and
her singing is best on vinyl. Charles is definitely the superior
vocalist...BUT..had Charles won she would have only been know as the 1st
black Miss America. Vanessa winning ended up putting the entire pageantry
circuit under the microscope, even to this day.

Author Gary Jaffe ( ago)
you're more than entitled to your opinion -- but of course i said "dynamic
singer and actress" -- i was talking about the whole package, the star
quality, the warmth, etc. -- of course Vanessa cannot be compared to the
famous singers I mention -- but next to Suzette, I don't think there's even
a reason to have the conversation as to "who is better" after all these
years . . . BE WELL! Hey - trivia - the pageant was 25 years ago this
week!!! September 17, 1983!!!

Author Gary Jaffe ( ago)
I'll save "spectacular" for Louis Armstrong, Edith Piaf, Patsy Cline and
Ella Fitzgerald. I'll stick with "nice" for Suzette.

Author Gary Jaffe ( ago)
hey everyone -- i think Vanessa's fantastic career as a dynamic singer and
actress has proven "who should have won" that year -- suzette has a nice
singing voice, but Vanessa has enormous gifts and star quality -- she is
also an outstanding mother and an all-around delightful (and GORGEOUS) woman

Author adelgado75 ( ago)
The microphone looks bigger than her. I am a Vanessa fan but Suzette's
vocal was outstanding. Where is she now?

Author victortalkingmch ( ago)
suzette versus vanessa: to me the edge was given to vanessa williams
because she was a double winner in both talent and swimsuit preliminaries.
suzette did not win her swimsuit competition. this is not to take away from
her enormous talent, though. i personally think if both girls had competed
the same night in talent prelims, suzette would have bested vanessa.

Author Devon3579 ( ago)
It's amazing how similar these posts are to American Idol. People always
assume negative things about a contender's attitude when it's obvious their
favorite is inferior. Suzette Charles' performance is the best vocal I have
EVER heard on the Miss America pageant! She went from the bottom to the top
of her range with no scooping or tonal changes. Very hard to do! I respect
Vanessa's win as it's an overall scoring process, but vocally she ain't in
the league. I know singing. This is it!

Author jb26508 ( ago)
I dont know how were related because I blacker than night and shes white
mixed with african american and italian

Author jb26508 ( ago)
Thats my cousin i think 5th shes related either to my grandmother or
grandfather I forgot

Author DriveAustra ( ago)
I remember that night I don't remember Suzette winning talent. She won
talent the night of her prelim and so did Vanessa who was on a different
night. Suzette just didn't fit the Miss America image in 1993. She wasn't
statuesque enough.

Author NubbyG05 ( ago)
I watched this Miss America pageant that night and Suzette Charles had me
spellbound during her talent segment. She brought a soulful style to the
song. It was a historical moment to witness two African Americans win 1st
runner up and the title for the very first time. I haven't seen this in
over 20 years and bless you for posting it!

Author Sweeti4672 ( ago)
where talents limited to 1:50 - 2 minutes?

Author intre94 ( ago)
Suzette won the talent portion in the finals, which actually moved her from
10th to 2nd.

Author lexlib ( ago)
in terms of voice i have to agree her voice is great but Vanessa is a
balanced singer and performer.

Author lexlib ( ago)
Vanessa was around 5'6.

Author lexlib ( ago)
does anyone have vanessa'a talent competition video? i'm also looking for
Angela Perez Baraquio's talent and coronation video.

Author PaiSLEE777 ( ago)
True, her stage presence was lacking, though she has a nice voice. I too
heard that she had a bad attitude. I know when they took the crown from
Vanessa, she too spoke not too kindly of her (of Vanessa). Oh well, cest la
vie. I am sure she is happy wherever she is.

Author hoseala ( ago)
Thanks so much for posting this...I've never forgotten about this
performance....Her voice is Sooooo supple and pure....LOVE it...beautiful
song and rendition. Shame she didn't become bigger star...she deserves it.

Author Abcdefghijklmnop ( ago)
Vanessa´s hair is sandy-blond and she has green-grey blues eyes, and
honey-colored skin complexion.

Author SEFYH ( ago)
She did such a beautiful job!!

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