LAS VEGAS (AP) – Miss Illinois was among the top five finalists, but lost the Miss USA title to a 25-year-old contestant from Connecticut Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Erin Brady won the beauty pageant at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino after strutting in a white sparkly gown and answering a question about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding widespread DNA tests. Asked if she agreed with the decision, Brady said she did.
Brady gets the crown and a New York apartment for one year.
She is expected to spend her title reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising breast and ovarian cancer awareness, the organization’s official cause, and will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in the winter.
Unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA does not ask its queens to perform a talent or choose a charity mission. Contestants cannot have been married or have children, and they must be younger than 27.
Miss Illinois Stacie Juris of Tinley Park, a junior at Columbia College where she is studying fashion, admitted during the show that she once attacked her sister for borrowing her clothes without asking.
The judge’s panel included over-the-top fashion designer Betsey Johnson, “Biggest Loser” star Bob Harper and “Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me” personality Mo Rocca.
Rocca praised the pageant as a prime example of Americana backstage. He said he was looking to appoint a new Miss USA who reminded him of Abraham Lincoln “without the beard.”