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Posted at 11:30 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Live from Las Vegas: Three local pageant queens vie for Miss America title

By The Reliable Source

Caitlin Uze, left, happy after being crowned Miss Virginia 2010 by Chinah Helmandollar, who took over as Miss Virginia after Caressa Cameron became Miss America last year. (AP/The Roanoke Times, Don Petersen)

Updated, Sat, 1/15: Miss Nebraska takes the crown

It's tiara time! Not the British royals (that's three months away), but the annual parade of wholesome womanhood: The Miss America pageant.

2011 marks the 90th year for the iconic contest, which is back on network television (ABC) after years of wandering in the wilderness of cable TV. That's good news and ratings for producers and fans as their hometown favorites vie for the rhinestone crown. The three local contestants are already at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas -- rehearsing like crazy and competing in the preliminary rounds -- hoping to catch the eye of the judges for Saturday's finals:

  • Miss District of Columbia, Stephanie Williams: Med student at George Washington University, straight A grad of Wagner College in New York. Like most contestants in the D.C. contest, didn't grow up here; won on her second try. Talent: singing. Platform: preventive medicine.

  • Miss Maryland, Lindsay Staniszewski: University of Maryland student, La Plata High grad, won the Montgomery County title. Talent: singing. Platform: building self-esteem in girls.

  • Miss Virginia, Caitlin Uze: James Madison University student, grew up in Arlington but won her title by competing in Richmond. Talent: Irish dancing. Platform: building positive self image.

    Stephanie Williams, Miss DC 2010. (Tom Donoghue/PictureGroup)

    All three are brunettes: part of a dark-haired trend, reports Teri Galvez, director of the D.C. pageant. "There are a lot of prettier girls this year," she told us. "Less girl-next-door."

    Galvez, in Las Vegas for the festivities, is pretty excited about everything, especially Williams. Local contest organizers skipped the sequins and gave the 5' 10", size 2 medical student clothes from Neimans and Saks for a modern edge. "She looks more like a supermodel than a pageant girl," said Galvez. More edge? Williams grew up in Atlantic City, the pageant was held there for decades, and the very first Miss America was from Washington -- all, said Galvez, "good karma."

    She also calls Miss Virginia a "serious contender. . . really, really pretty." Uze is getting plenty of love, even from strangers on her trip West: "Thank you to flight 591 for an unforgettable ride in!" she wrote on her blog. "Never have I had an entire plane cheer for me and been serenaded with "there she is" over the speaker."

    Uze has plenty of good karma going in, too: Last year's Miss Virginia, Caressa Cameron, went on to win the Miss America title.

  • By The Reliable Source  | January 12, 2011; 11:30 PM ET
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    Does anyone still watch that contestant?

    Posted by: jab00 | January 14, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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