26-year-old Texan crowned Miss USA

12Apr08

Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith gave up her crown — and the luxurious New York condo that comes with the title of Miss USA yesterday. The pagent aired live on BC hosted by Donny and Marie Osmond at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Crystle Stewart, of Missouri City, Texas came in as a professional model, party planner, and motivational speaker and left Miss USA 2008. The entrepreneur says she wants to dedicate her life to international philanthropy.

Miss USA contestants are scored in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Miss Alaska USA, Courtney Erin Carroll, was chosen “Miss Photogenic USA” based on voting at the organization’s Web site. The other contestants named Miss Ohio USA, Monica Day, “Miss Congeniality.” Unlike their rival pagent Miss America, Miss USA contestants are not asked to perform a talent.

The panel of judges for Friday’s pageant included Heather Milles, model and former wife of Paul McCartney;

comedian Rob Schneider; Olympic gold-medal swimmer Amanda Beard; and Christian Siriano, winner of

Bravo’s reality series, “Project Runway.”

Contestants from all 50 states and D.C. had been in Las Vegas for three weeks, rehearsing and promoting the 57th annual pageant. This year the agent showed off its edge, with a live performance by the band Finger Eleven, music from Rihanna, and contestants in black bikinis and faux-fur coats.

Although not as big a headliner as her 2006 predecessor, Tara Conner, Smith’s low point was a fall onstage during the evening gown competition of the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City. She was booed by the crowd and Miss Japan won the title.

Stewart will compete in the Miss Universe pageant in Vietnam in July. She will also become a spokeswoman for breast and ovarian cancer awareness and other causes, while traveling to promote the organization.

[Source: AP]

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