For the Miss America pageant's 90th year, 53 contestants competed in dazzling gowns and bathing suits in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 15, 2011. “The View" host Joy Behar, actress Marilu Henner and country singer Mark Wills were among the seven judges.
Left: Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska waves to the audience after being crowned Miss America 2011 during the Miss America pageant.
Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, is crowned Miss America 2011 during the Miss America pageant. Scanlan won a $50,000 scholarship and a yearlong run with the crown at the competition at the Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas, giving the Cornhusker State its first-ever win at the pageant.
"And I never passed up a cookie on my journey here," Scanlan said.
Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan (R), 17, reacts after being announced Miss America 2011 during the Miss America pageant. Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron (L) prepares to crown her.
Scanlan plans to study American politics at Patrick Henry College in Virginia after her reign as Miss America. She said she also hoped to attend law school, become a judge and eventually a politician.
Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan, 17, is mobbed by other contestants after being crowned Miss America 2011. Scanlan is youngest winner ever in the pageant's history after a night of being judged for poise, talent, fitness and knowledge.
During the interview portion of the competition, Scanlan told the audience that when it comes to the website Wikileaks, security should come before public access to government information.
"When it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people's right to know, because it's so important that everybody who's in our borders is safe and so we can't let things like that happen, and they must be handled properly," she said.
Alyse Eady, Miss Arkansas, performs a ventriloquist act to "I Wanna Be a Cowboy Sweetheart" in the talent competition during the Miss America pageant.
"It's a lot easier to do than it looks," Eady said of ventriloquism in an interview with the Southwest Times Record. "You put your teeth together, but P is a hard letter, and so are B, W and M, because people move their lips on those letters. You have to mix sounds, sometimes, to get those letters and words."
Miss Texas, Ashley Melnick, walks on stage during the swimsuit competition during the 2011 Miss America pageant. Melnick introduced herself as being from "the home of Superbowl XLV, where everything's super in my state."
Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan, 17, plays "White Water Chopped Sticks" on the piano during the talent portion of the Miss America pageant in the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, is filmed as she competes in the swimsuit competition during the 2011 Miss America pageant. Scanlan went on to be crowned the new Miss America. She's the youngest Miss America since the pageant implemented age limits in 1938.
Miss New York, Claire Buffie, walks on stage during the evening gown competition during the Miss America pageant. Buffie competed with her "Straight for Equality: Let's Talk" platform, championing for gay rights.
From left: Emoly Wes, Miss Oklahoma, Kayla Martell, Miss Delaware, Djuan Keila Trent, Miss Kentucky and Jalee Fuselier, Miss Hawaii, wait for their turn to perform in the talent competition during the 2011 Miss America pageant.
The five finalists, from left, Jalee Fuselier, Miss Hawaii, Jacquie Brown, Miss Washington, Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, Emoly West, Miss Oklahoma and Alyse Eady, MIss Arkansas, stand together during the Miss America pageant, Jan. 15, 2011 in Las Vegas.
Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady won $25,000 as first runner-up, while Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier won $20,000 for third place.
From left: Miss Louisiana, Kelsi Crain, Miss Oregon, Stephanie Denise Steers, Miss Ohio, Becky Minger and Miss Kansas, Lauren Werhan, dance during the opening number of the 2011 Miss America pageant.
Miss North Carolina, Adrienne Leigh Core, left, waits for the start of the Miss America pageant, on Jan. 15, 2011, in Las Vegas.