There she is—Miss America!
Well, not quite yet, but one of the 53 beauty queens who touched down in Atlantic City today is going to win the coveted crown in two weeks.
The lovely ladies, representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed out of Boardwalk Hall, where the various stages of pageant will take place next week, and onto a stage set up outside for introductions.
The Miss America Pageant originated in 1921 in Atlantic City but, in an attempt to beef up interest in the nearly century-old event, it moved to Las Vegas in 2006. This year marks the pageant's return to its home shore.
"It's been too long since New Jersey has had Miss America!" Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum (who of course garnered the loudest cheers) told the crowd gathered for the welcome ceremony.
Three nights of preliminary competition kick off Sept. 10, the annual Show Us Your Shoes Parade takes place Sept. 14 and the winner will be named Sept. 15 on national television.
Chris Harrison and Lara Spencer will host the show for ABC, while Lance Bass, Mario Cantone, New York Knick Amar'e Stoudemire, violinist Joshua Bell, Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran, The Chew cohost Carla Hall and 2005 Miss America Diedre Downs Gunn (the last to be crowned in Atlantic City) have been tapped as judges.
Mallory Hagan of New York currently holds the title.