Vote now! Send your state’s contestant to the finals of the 2012 Miss America pageant

We’re less than a week away from Christmas and that means 2012 is just around the corner. The holiday season is always a joyous time with plenty of entertainment opportunities. It’s only natural then, that 2012 “awards season” takes place in January and February and gets the year kicked off right. Recently the Golden Globes nominations were announced and we know the Oscars are just around the corner. But what about the most important awards show of the season. That’s right, I’m talking about the contest that literally crowns a champion – the 2012 Miss America Pageant.

On Saturday, January 14, 2012, 53 contestants from the United States and the surrounding territories, will gather at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to compete for the highly-coveted title of Miss America and forever join the elusive Miss America fraternity. The winner will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and will take the crown from current Miss America Teresa Scanlan.

Caressa Cameron, 2010 Miss America

Once again this year, one contestant will advance to the finals based strictly on fan voting. That means that if you are a California resident and want Miss California Noelle Freeman to advance to the finals and have an increased chance at winning you can vote for Freeman online or via text messaging.

The official rules for voting are, as follows, from MissAmerica.org:

Cast your vote via one (1) of the following two (2) methods:

    • Vote for your favorite contestant’s video on www.missamerica.org/videocontest

OR

  • Visit the “Video Contest” tab at www.facebook.com/missamericaorganization. There is a limit of one (1) vote per person and internet accessible device per contestant throughout the Voting Period, regardless of method of voting.</p> <p>Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. PST on January 12, 2012. <a href=”>Click hereto read Voting Terms and Conditions.

It was in 1921 that Margaret Gorman won the first Miss America crown. Organized by Atlantic City businessman, the pageant began as an “Inner-City Beauty” contest after contestants were nominated through newspaper-organized photo popularity contests. Gorman won the beauty contest, for which the judging was based largely on general appearl in appearance, personality, conversations with the judges and interactions with the crowds. To further establish herself as “Miss America,” a title bestowed upon her in September 1922, Gorman also won the Golden Mermaid trophy given to “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America.”

Now, ready to crown it’s 91st winner, the Miss America organization puts on a very similar show as what took place 90 years ago on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk. Nationally-televised on ABC and taking place in the Las Vegas – the new Atlantic City, you might say – the Miss America pageant has transformed from a newspaper-promoted beauty pageant into a much-hyped and ballyhooed “scholarship pageant” for which the primary prizes for the winner and her runners-up are scholarships to the institution of her choice.

The 53 participants will be judged in five categories: personal interview, talent, lifestyle & fitness in swimsuit, evening wear and onstage question. Onstage question is often one of the most-scrutinized categories while swimsuit and evening wear are often the most popular. The seven judges on the panel, almost all of whom are affiliated with ABC, also fall into categories – seven of them.

From the Field of Beauty – Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashians. From the Field of Performing Arts – Mark Ballas, dancer on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). From the Field of Talent – Teri Polo, actress from Meet the Parents franchise, star of current ABC sitcom. From the Field of Communications – Raul de Molina, host of Univision program “El Gordo y La Flaca.” From the Field of Star Power – Mike Fleiss, executive producer of “The Bachelor.” From the Field of Fitness – Chris Powell,”Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” host. In addition to the ABC-heavy panel of judges, each co-host currently works for an ABC show. Brooke Burke from DWTS and Chris Harrison from The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

Current Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, won the crown as Miss Nebraska last January when she was only 17 years old. Scanlan became the youngest Miss America winner in 74 years. Contestests can range in age from 17 to 24 years old. Scanlan won the crown and, just as all contestents now do, chose a platform from which to research and educate. Scanlan’s researched eating disorders and discovered how rampant they are and now hopes to educate children and adults alike on the signs and risks.

With only three-and-a-half weeks left to vote before the 2012 pageant, vote now or risk letting it slip from your mind as you get lost in the sugar plums and fairies of Christmas and the late nights and celebrations of New Year’s. Award season is quickly approaching and what better way to help your state than by nominating its representative as a finalist in the 2012 Miss America pageant.

Photos courtesy AuburnAlumniOrganization and via Flickr.

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