Outcry over racy Miss USA snaps

00:51, May 26 2010
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TOO MUCH? Miss California USA Nicole Michele Johnson poses in lingerie to promote the upcoming Miss USA pageant.
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WATER BABES: Contestants prepare for the Miss USA pageant.
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COVER UP: Contestants prepare for the Miss USA pageant.
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POOL SIDE: Contestants prepare for the Miss USA pageant.
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FIX IT RIGHT: Miss Nebraska USA Belinda Wright gets the finishing touches prior to stepping on stage in Las Vegas.
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GOLDILOCKS: Miss Mississippi USA Breanne Ponder and Miss West Virginia Erica Jade Goldsmith have the finishing touches done to their hair prior to stepping on stage in Las Vegas.
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HEY GOOD LOOKING: Miss Missouri USA Ashley Strohmier checks her appearance prior to stepping on stage in Las Vegas.
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ROUCH UP: Miss Pennsylvania USA Gina Cerilli adds the finishing touches prior to stepping on stage.
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HEY GIRLS: Donald Trump meets contestants in the Miss USA pageant during rehearsals in Las Vegas.
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SHAKE ON IT: Donald Trump meets contestants in the Miss USA pageant during rehearsals in Las Vegas.
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ME? REALLY? Miss Michigan Rima Fakih reacts as she is crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas.
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CROWING MOMENT: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih reacts as she is crowned Miss USA 2010 by Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton in Las Vegas.
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THIS ONE'S FOR YOU: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih reacts as she is crowned Miss USA 2010 by Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton in Las Vegas.
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FLOWER POWER: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih reacts as she is crowned Miss USA 2010 by Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton in Las Vegas.
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BIKINI BABE: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih competes in the bathing suit portion of the Miss USA 2010 pageant.
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BLONDE VS BRUNETTE: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, right, stands next to first runner up Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard after being named Miss USA.
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HITCHING A RIDE: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA during the 2010 pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
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HAND ON HEART: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA during the 2010 pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
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GOOD FIT: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA during the 2010 pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
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STEADY AS SHE GOES: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih struggles for balance after nearly tripping during the evening gown portion of the 2010 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
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HOT GIRL HONGI: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, right, and Morgan Elizabeth Woolard wait to hear the final result of the Miss USA 2010 pageant.
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TEARS OF JOY: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, centre, with contestants Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, left, and Jessica Hartman during the Miss USA 2010 pageant.
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SWINGING AROUND: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih competes in bathing suit portion of the Miss USA 2010 pageant.
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LET'S EAT: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih competes in evening gown portion of the Miss USA 2010 pageant.
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DANCING QUEENS: Miss USA contestants perform.

Pageant owner Donald Trump has defended a series of controversial photos taken of scantily clad Miss USA contestants.

The racy snaps of the contestants, showing the girls posing provocatively in lacy lingerie, were released to promote the upcoming Miss USA pageant being broadcast in America on Sunday night (Monday, NZ time).

In the past, contestants have been disciplined for having sexy photos taken of them. Carrie Prejean had her crown taken off her over a series of misdemeanours, including topless photos surfacing on the internet.

Pageant officials called the photos tasteful and Trump said they were "a little bit sexy".

"I think they've gone maybe a little over the top this year," Trump told Ryan Seacrest, E! Online reported.

"These pictures are pretty wild. But the girls are incredible."

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Miss Universe spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton told E! Online the photos showed only one side of the contestants.

"We are in the business of beauty, and the contestants who compete for the title of Miss USA are not afraid to be sexy.

"These ladies are the full package - smart, accomplished, relevant and sexy."

-With AP

Watch footage from the photo shoot below:

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