Luxe Life Blog
Live blog: Miss California Alyssa Campanella crowned Miss USA 2011
By Don Chareunsy and Robin Leach
The 2011 Miss USA Pageant at the Theater for Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood gets underway at 6 p.m. PT for a live East Coast telecast (it airs tape delayed on NBC on the West Coast at 9 p.m. PT), and this year’s telecast is co-hosted by E! Entertainment’s Giuliana Rancic and Bravo’s Andy Cohen, with color commentary by Kelly Osbourne and Susie Castillo.
The 51 hopefuls have been in town for two weeks for official pageant events, and Vegas DeLuxe has been covering all the events with reports and photo galleries, from the official welcoming ceremony at Planet Hollywood hosted by 98 Degrees singer and founder Jeff Timmons to this week’s official photo galleries of Sherri Hill evening gowns, Kandy Wrappers swimwear and high fashion shots by Fadil Berisha.
The Silver State is represented by 2011 Miss Nevada USA Sarah Chapman, a day school director in Henderson. Robin Leach will be tweeting live from the pageant (@robin_leach). Also follow our live blog here until 2010 Miss USA Rima Fakih of Dearborn, Mich., crowns her successor at 7:55 p.m. PT.
6 p.m.: The parade of 51 hopefuls is to Jennifer Lopez’s dance hit “On the Floor.” Cohen is wearing a tux, and Rancic is ravishing in red. Five contestants are named Britney, Brittany and other spellings, Cohen said. 2003 Miss USA Susie Castillo also is providing commentary with Osbourne. Entertainment is Tinie Tempah and Eric Turner.
6:10 p.m.: The contestants are onstage arranged by geographic regions. The Top 15 quarterfinalists are Miss Georgia Kaylin Reque, Miss Arizona Brittany Dawn Brannon, Miss Maine Ashley-Lynn Marble, Miss Utah Jamie Lynn Crandall, Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham, Miss Indiana Jillian Wunderlich, Miss Texas Ana Rodriguez, Miss South Carolina Courtney Hope Turner, Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell, Miss New York Amber Marie Collins, Miss Hawaii Angela Byrd, Miss Florida Lissette Garcia, Miss Missouri Hope Driskill, Miss California Alyssa Campanella and Miss Maryland Allyn Rose.
6:17 p.m.: TV and online voters choose a 16th contestant, Miss New Mexico Brittany Toll.
6:23 p.m.: The judges are introduced: actress Mariel Hemingway, Chef Rocco DiSpirito, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, rapper Lil Jon, Dallas Mavericks star Tyson Chandler, The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo, Rio headliner magician Penn Jillette, NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and 2006 Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera. This is the pageant’s 60th anniversary, and a retrospective is played before Fakih takes the stage in a beautiful white beaded gown. Miss USA winners are introduced seated in the audience.
6:33 p.m.: The parade of 16 in swimwear is about to begin. All contestants are back onstage to Ke$ha’s “Blow.” The 16 hopefuls wear short white wraps and take them off as they walk onstage. Osbourne likes Miss Maine Ashley-Lynn Marble’s striped bikini. For the first time, viewers at home are voting live for their favorite contestants. Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell survived a car accident, and scars are visible on her torso.
6:47 p.m.: The Top Eight semifinalists are Miss Maine, Miss Tennessee, Miss Texas, Miss South Carolina, Miss Alabama, Miss Hawaii, Miss California and Miss Maryland. A video is played of each semifinalist.
6:59 p.m.: Miss Kentucky Kia Ben-et Hampton was named Miss Congeniality, and Miss Arizona Brittany Dawn Brannon was named Miss Photogenic. A video of the 51 hopefuls’ site visits in Las Vegas is played.
7:01 p.m.: Tinie Tempah and Eric Turner perform “Written in the Stars” during the parade of evening gowns. Miss Maine is wearing a black gown with white and black embellishment that Osbourne says is dated. Miss Tennessee is wearing glittering silver. Miss Texas is in all white, and Osbourne loves the gown. Miss South Carolina is in striking red, and Osbourne says it could’ve been tailored better. Miss Alabama is wearing red, too, and Osbourne says it’s a bit revealing. Miss Hawaii is wearing white and “looks like a princess,” Osbourne says. Miss California is wearing emerald green, accenting her red hair, and Osbourne and Castillo love it -- it’s their favorite. Miss Maryland also is in red -- a Golden Girls dress, Osbourne says.
7:14 p.m.: The USO celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, and a video tribute featuring Bob Hope is played. The U.S. military members in the audience receive a standing ovation.
7:23 p.m.: The Top Four finalists are Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell, Miss Texas Ana Rodriguez, Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham and Miss California Alyssa Campanella. Mitchell is asked by the hosts about education and how she’ll inspire children. Her answer is instilling hopefulness. Rodriguez fell down a flight of stairs during her first pageant and talks about it. She won the pageant -- “I was the first one down the stairs.” Durham spent a summer studying in Paris and talked about it -- “it was a life-changing experience.” Campanella collects history books. “I’m obsessed with the Tudor era. … I’m a huge history geek.”
7:34 p.m.: It’s final questions! Manzo asks Miss California about the legalization of marijuana. She says it’s OK for medical use. DiSpirito asks Miss Tennessee about burning religious books. She says no! Hemingway essentially asks Miss Texas about New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. She says the humiliated spouse should move on and find someone who respects and loves her. Chandler asks Miss Alabama about bullying in schools. She says bullies who kill should be prosecuted.
7:46 p.m.: The Miss USA Pageant crown is from Diamond Nexus Labs. Highlights from Rima’s reign are shown, and she makes her final walk in a revealing red gown. Cohen says he’s getting emotional.
7:54 p.m.: The third runner-up is Miss Texas Ana Rodriguez. The second runner-up is Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell. The first runner-up is Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham. The new 2011 Miss USA is Miss California Alyssa Campanella.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and arts and entertainment editor of LasVegasSun.com.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.