Beauty queens from every U.S. state and the District of Columbia are vying for the crown this weekend, each hoping to be the one named Miss USA.
Reigning queen Erin Brady, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, is set to relinquish her crown Sunday evening when her successor is chosen during a three-hour telecast from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana.
A field of 51 contestants will be trimmed to 15 after the broadcast opens at 8 p.m. EDT, based on competitions and interviews conducted in past days. Remaining contestants are to be judged in swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.
The winner of the 63rd Miss USA title will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition later this year.
Brady recently told The Associated Press that she has worked hard during her tenure to break stereotypes about pageants and the women who compete in them.
A graduate of Central Connecticut State University in finance, Brady said that after the end of her reign she plans to return to New York and pursue a job that can use her knowledge to serve a global market.
"We're very intelligent women with great personalities," she said recently.
Contestants have been in Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital city, for more than a week. During that time they have taken part in preliminaries and also done some sightseeing. They have visited the Louisiana governor's mansion, tasted local cuisine and relaxed by singing karaoke.