Meet the new Miss America

Last updated 09:02 14/01/2013
Mallory Hytes Hagan
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MODERN MISS: Mallory Hytes Hagan, Miss America 2013.

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A tap-dancing blonde has been crowned Miss America 2013.

Miss New York, 23-year-old Mallory Hytes Hagan, scored highly in the talent competition with a tap dance to James Brown's 'Get Up Offa That Thing' and wowed judges with an unadorned, off-the-shoulder white evening gown.

"Oh, my God, thank you!" Hagan, from Brooklyn, said as she was crowned at the end of the two-hour live broadcast from Las Vegas.

The first runner-up was South Carolina's Ali Rogers, followed by Alicia Clifton from Oklahoma, Wyoming's Lexie Madden and Miss Iowa, Mariah Cary.

Montana's Alexis Wineman, who has spoken about having been diagnosed with autism when she was 11, was chosen by fans online and made it to the semi-finals. Fourth runner-up Cary discussed having Tourette's syndrome.

The judging panel, which included teenage Olympic gold-medal gymnast McKayla Maroney, "Dancing With the Stars" dancer Cheryl Burke, former Miss America Katie Stam Irk, former "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart and ABC weatherman Sam Champion, was permitted to return one eliminated contestant to the semi-finalists' pool. They chose Washington's Mandy Schendel.

In the competition's final segment, each of the five finalists answered a question about current events. Hagan was asked whether, in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, armed guards should be put in schools.

"I don't think the proper way to fight violence is with violence," she said.

Hagan, whose crown comes with a NZ$59,000 university scholarship, said education and other measures such as extended waiting periods for gun ownership were more appropriate.

The pageant, held since 1921, is put on by the Miss America Organisation.

Contestants compete in local and state pageants before going on to the national competition. In all, 53 women representing the 50 US states, the Virgin Islands, Washington and Puerto Rico vied for the title.

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- Reuters

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