Miss Virginia Wins 2010 Miss America Crown

By: Oskar Garcia - AP Writer
By: Oskar Garcia - AP Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron won the 2010 Miss America title Saturday night after strutting in a skintight yellow dress, belting Beyonce's "Listen" from "Dreamgirls" and telling kids they should get outside more often.

Cameron, a 22-year-old from Fredericksburg, Va., won a $50,000
scholarship and the crown in Las Vegas after a pageant that started
with 53 contestants. She outlasted her opponents in swimsuit,
evening gown, talent and interview competitions.

Cameron is broadcast journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth
University, and wants to become an anchor.

When asked during the interview portion of the competition her
thoughts on fighting childhood obesity, Cameron said parents should
curb television and video games.

"We need to get our kids back outside, playing with sticks in
the street like I did when I was little," she said. "Expand your
mind, go outside and get to see what this world is like."

Miss California Kristy Cavinder was the first runner-up, winning
$25,000.

The young women who came out on stage at the beginning of the
pageant and danced to "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas
are from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico.

After a week of preliminary competition, they each introduced
themselves to the crowd Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort &
Casino.

"From the home of the Governator, I am here to pump you up,"
Cavinder said as she was introduced.

The judges, the public and contestants themselves then trimmed
the field over the next two hours.

Actor and "Extra" host Mario Lopez hosted the 89-year-old
pageant with help from Clinton Kelly of TLC's "What Not to Wear."
The pageant was broadcast live on TLC.

The panel of judges included radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh,
actress Vivica Fox, musician Dave Koz, Miss America 2002 Katie
Harman, gymnast Shawn Johnson and former "American Idol" finalist
Brooke White. Comedian Paul Rodriguez was set to be a judge, but
organizers said he pulled out because of a family emergency.

Cameron, crowned by 2009 Miss America Katie Stam, will embark on
a yearlong run with the title to represent the organization and
raise awareness for her chosen platform.

Cameron, Cavinder and Miss Michigan Nicole Blaszczyk each won
$2,000 earlier in the week for winning talent competitions among
three split fields of contestants. Miss Oregon CC Barber, Miss New
York Alyse Zwick and Miss Puerto Rico Mimi Pabon each won $1,000 in
nightly swimsuit competitions.

Miss Oklahoma Taylor Treat won the $6,000 Quality of Life award,
given to the contestant judged to excel most in volunteerism and
community service.

Scores based on a week of preliminary competitions were added to
Saturday's competitions to determine the winner. Each judge ranked
their five favorites in order, and their ballots were used to pick
the winner.

In all, the Miss America Organization awarded $340,000 in
scholarships at the national level. The organization says its
national, state and local chapters gave more than $45 million last
year in cash and scholarships.

The pageant was preceded by a one-hour television special on
TLC, "Miss America: Behind the Curtain."

The contestants picked 12 women from their own ranks who faced a
public vote for one of three spots among the 15 finalists. Stam, a
Seymour, Ind., native, was one of four finalists chosen by viewers
last year.

The crowning of a Miss America began in 1921 as a publicity
stunt to persuade tourists on Atlantic City's Boardwalk to stick
around after Labor Day.

The bathing revue blossomed in the age of television into an
American pop icon before fading in later years and losing it place
on network TV in 2004. It moved to the Las Vegas Strip in 2006 in
an attempt to reinvent itself and has found a home on cable
television.


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