ECU's Dalton Named Miss USA

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Miss North Carolina USA Kristen Dalton was crowned Miss USA 2009 on Sunday, beating out 50 other beauty queens in the live pageant televised from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The Wilmington native is an Honors College Psychology and Spanish major at ECU.

The 22-year-old aspiring motivational speaker from Wilmington edged out first runner-up Miss California USA Carrie Prejean, of San Diego, and second runner-up Miss Arizona USA Alicia-Monique Blanco, of Phoenix.

Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in the pageant, aired live on NBC. Contestants were judged by their performance in swimsuit and evening gown modeling contests and their responses to a question asked onstage; unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA contestants do not perform a talent.

The top 15 contestants worked the stage in white string bikinis designed by pop star Jessica Simpson's swimwear line. Rocker Kevin Rudolf performed his song "Let it Rock," followed by The Veronicas, who performed their single "Untouched" as the top 10 beauties showed off their choice of glittering evening gowns.

Dalton's title comes with a year's use of a New York apartment, a public relations team, a two-year scholarship at the New York Film Academy and an undisclosed salary.

She also will go to the Bahamas in August to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, where American beauties haven't been lucky in recent years. Both Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart and her predecessor, Rachel Smith, wiped out on stage during the evening gown competition, becoming accidental YouTube stars.

Asked about the tumble during the show on Sunday, Stewart said it was a lesson in bouncing back from defeat.

"I think it was a true test of my character," said the 27-year-old Texan, who worked to raise awareness for breast cancer as she traveled the globe promoting the beauty contest.

If there is a YouTube moment from Sunday's show, it may be Miss California's answer to a question about legalizing same-sex marriage. The tall blonde stumbled some before giving an answer that appeared to please the pageant audience.

"We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage," Prejean said. "And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

Some in the audience cheered, others booed.

The pageant had enjoyed a scandal-free year until earlier this month, when Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza was skewered for a blog posting from a trip to Guantanamo Bay. The entry described having "aloooot of fun" at a base that houses the notorious military prison; it was later deleted from the pageant's Web site.

The contest, which is owned by NBC and reality TV mogul Donald Trump, was hosted by "Access Hollywood" co-anchor Billy Bush and Nadine Velazquez of the NBC sitcom "My Name is Earl." This year's judges included "Saturday Night Live" cast member Kenan Thompson, "Dancing with the Stars" winner Kelly Monaco and gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

Miss Wyoming USA Cynthia Pate, of Casper, Wyo., was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants. Jessi Pierson, of Milton, W.Va., was voted Miss Photogenic through an online contest on the Miss Universe Web site.

Organizers said Sunday's show kicks off "Green Week" at NBC. As part of the environmental awareness campaign, the Miss USA crown was designed by a jeweler that specializes in conflict-free and eco-friendly jewels. The crown from Diamond Nexus Labs of Franklin, Wis., is worth $202,000.

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  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Apr 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM
    Barry, I know what you mean and your right about the emotional adequacy. I would say both lacks adequate facts and emotional adequacy is what Dave has, I just did not think about the emotional adequacy part to begin with. The way he talks proves that he is jealous. I bet he was that kid that got picked on in school all the time and wants to use Penn State or those Steelers to make him feel good when he is up here. He tells lies on this website and I expect he must have told you a lie when he says he is working on his Master's in Englsh or it's that he is working on his Master's at speaking trashtalk English. That's sounds more of how he is going for his Master's at English. He is senseless and he is like that gay guy that was on the Miss. USA pagent. Those two can relate and be compared. He also talks like he has the same IQ as Mike Tyson, which is probably very low.
  • by Barry Location: Greenville on Apr 22, 2009 at 09:28 AM
    Sam: Excellent points; I concur fully. However, you are trying to reason with Dave under the assumption that he lacks adequate facts. This has nothing to do with Dave's thought process regarding ECU, trust me on this. Dave believes as he does out of a sense of emotional inadequacy. His laments here are simple manifestaion of this fact. Dave, you continue to have me delving into a specialty area out-side of my field of discipline in medical practice. But, it does not take Ol' Freud to figure this one out. No charge today; this one's on the house! Again I ask, when is your graduation from the English program that you muddled through? Has it been delayed from previous estimation and thus keeping you (ney, FORCING poor persecuted you) to stay in our city longer?
  • by Anonymous on Apr 22, 2009 at 09:12 AM
    God forbid that happens, ~Alpha Female~.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Apr 22, 2009 at 08:47 AM
    An ECU fan living in Southern Miss's territory. Did'nt expect it! Sweet!
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Apr 22, 2009 at 08:01 AM
    I forgot to mention one other thing why there are so many more applicants is that at 95 % of the people that have gone to ECU that I've talked with said that they are glad of the decision they made and would not trade it for any other instituion. The word gets spread out. Many of these northerners that come down love it here. It's much warmer than up north as well. I have also been told by an N.C. State Alumni that ECU has the most exciting festivities for games and football and baseball games by far. He also said that the N.C. State games and the UNC games in general are not as fun to go to, and that ECU overall has the most well-respected fans that actually cheer for their team in those sports. Look at the difference in attendance of the baseball games the last several years. For basketball, well I'll have to admit UNC and Duke has it there, but football and baseball, its ECU games that are so exciting. Even Virginia Tech fans respect ECU fans a lot for what they do.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Apr 22, 2009 at 07:28 AM
    Dave, I would not go that far as to say an Ivy league school. That's where you must be out of your mind to carry things too far and you are dead wrong about why ECU has way more applicants than before. The reason why ECU has way more applicants comes from many of these in state kids and many more of the kids raised from up north want to come down here. Why? First of all, location, ECU is closer to all the beaches and other coastal bodies of water than all those schools and yankees love to get as close to the beach as possible. There is also so much opportunity ranging from the amount of majors to extra-curricular activities as well. I wont say its the best education, but it is one of the best for the tuition cost. Mitch FYI, Pitt Memorial and ECU has the best medical research facilities in NC. ECU has the highest passing rate for the last few years for the CPA exam. Better Accounting and Nursing prof. than UNC also. ECU has newer construction/better facilities around it as well.
  • by Elana Location: Biloxi, MS on Apr 22, 2009 at 06:48 AM
    LETS GO PIRATES! LETS GO PIRATES! We are the Pirates of E. C. U !!! PURPLE!!! GOLD!!! PURPLE!!! GOLD!!!
  • by Karen Location: Greensboro on Apr 22, 2009 at 04:48 AM
    I bet she secretly had her finger in a little "hook" as she carried her bouquet of flowers and you KNOW she was saying "AAAARRRRRRGHH" under her breath as the crowd cheered. I bet her ring tone is "Purple Haze" or the Udon Cheek song. ha ha!!!
  • by Robert Location: Greenville on Apr 21, 2009 at 10:42 PM
    Dave, Most people from the North are good people but you really make most notherners look really bad. I really doubt that the North would want to take you back. You may want to try another country. Like Cuba. I bet you are ready to watch the Mr.USA pagent!
  • by ~ALPHA female~ Location: O84P on Apr 21, 2009 at 09:26 PM
    Why do you guys fight like girls? ..Oh well Dalton won.. AND she went to ECU! ..There is nothing any of you can do about it. ..Congratulations... I hope you don't trip and fall in the Miss Universe Pageant. ...Blah blah blah... marry a black NFL football player and live happily ever after!

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