Meet the 2019 Judges

Vinnie Politan
Master of Ceremonies

Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan is an EMMY® Award-winning legal journalist who was a popular face on the original Court TV, leading the network’s coverage of the nation’s most compelling trials. A lawyer and former prosecutor, Vinnie has been covering the world of crime and justice for over 20 years, also hosting legal and news programs on HLN, Sirius XM and most recently NBC in Atlanta. Vinnie’s father was a federal judge and his older brother a partner at a large national law firm. Their influence was a driving force in leading Vinnie to law school. Vinnie earned his law degree from Seton Hall University after doing his undergraduate work at Stanford University. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in his home state of New Jersey before entering private practice, where he handled a multitude of complex cases. Moving from the courtroom to television, Vinnie’s long and successful career has included covering trials involving Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case where Vinnie was the first to do a national interview with the parents of Trayvon Martin.

Mark McKay

Smilin' Mark McKay is live every six minutes on News 95.5 & AM 750 WSB guiding metro Atlanta motorists around trouble spots and delays during "Atlanta's Morning News with Scott Slade" weekdays from 4:30am-9:00am. McKay is also heard every ten minutes reporting traffic alongside Mark Arum on "Channel 2 Action News This Morning" weekdays from 4:30am-7am on WSB-TV.

With the "Airborne Advantage" in the WSB Radio SkyCopter, Smilin' Mark can quickly be "up and over" problems that plague drivers and pass along quick, easy, and time saving alternative routes.

The late Captain Herb Emory gave McKay his nickname, Smilin', and it's with great pride that he and the WSB Traffic Team continues to carry on the Captain's legacy of commitment to the community and public service. Smilin' Mark joined WSB in 2001 while working full-time in Atlanta with CNN Sports. In a CNN career that spanned over 28 years, McKay won an EMMY award and reported from some of the biggest sporting events in the world including five Olympics, four Super Bowls, three N-B-A Finals, and a FIFA World Cup Final in Germany.

Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter is a familiar name in Atlanta, after spending 20 years in morning radio on 99X, Q100, and B98.5. She has also written for Huffington Post and currently serves as a Columnist for the Georgia Voice. Her children's book, Whale of an Idea, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Melissa also hosts her weekly podcast, "She Persisted," which is available on iTunes.

Melissa underwent a life-saving transplant in 2002, and later established the Melissa Carter Transplant Fund at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

Tara Hanover

Behind every show stopping, jaw dropping celebrity red carpet look, there’s an expert who put their talent, time and major skills into making the magic happen…meet Tara.

In addition to being a wife and mother of three amazing children, Tara is the senior hair & make-up artist for CNN, on-air beauty expert for HLN, host for the Gem Shopping Network, published style columnist, corporate trainer/speaker specializing in professional presence and women empowerment speaker.

Due to her gift of story telling, superpower of likability, eye for style and vast knowledge of the professional/celebrity beauty industry, she is now being refereed to as one of the top influcers in the world of style.

You can watch her 24 hours a day on as the in-house celebrity stylist offering style tips and trends or catch her live on The Gem Shopping Network as she hosts an entertaining and informative fashion based jewelry show. Tara’s work has been seen throughout the world, in billions of households on CNN, CNN International, CNN Spanish and HLN. Her many talents have also been featured on TBS, Cartoon Network, The Weather Channel, ESPN, FOX, and HBO.

As an expert in her field, she has personally been featured on the cover and centerfold of the prestigious industry magazines 1st Hold and On Make-up and her work is displayed on the pages of Forbes, Fortune, Southern Living, Jezebel, Star, Atlanta, Hairstyles, Coiffure Q, Passion and Inspire.

John Scroggins

John Scroggins has spent the last 20 years performing all over the world with… Busch Gardens, Holland American Cruise Line, Princess Cruise Line, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Six Flags Over Georgia, Les Follies Bergere, Rio Las Vegas and much more. He also has won an IAAPA and Rising Star Award for Show Production with Six Flags and MAGNUM Productions. He is excited to support Loving Arms Cancer Outreach and see the amazing performances tonight at Dancing with the Stars!