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October 21, 2014

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2013 Miss America photos: South Carolina, Oklahoma win first preliminaries

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton and Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, pictured here, win the first night of preliminaries for talent and lifestyle and fitness, respectively, in the 2013 Miss America Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.

2013 Miss America Pageant: First Preliminaries

The first-night preliminaries of the 2013 Miss America Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Launch slideshow »

2013 Miss America Pageant: Miss Oklahoma and Miss South Carolina

Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton and Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers win the first night of preliminaries for talent and lifestyle and fitness, respectively, in the 2013 Miss America Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Launch slideshow »

2013 Miss America Pageant: Seven Judges

2013 Miss America Pageant judges McKayla Maroney and Sam Champion at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Launch slideshow »

2013 Miss America first-night winners

For the first time since arriving in Las Vegas, fans, family and friends got to see all seven celebrity judges and the 53 Miss America Pageant hopefuls onstage together Tuesday night.

It was the first evening of preliminary competition, with our Miss Nevada Randi Sundquist shining with modern ballet in the talent section. The pageant princesses were divided into three sections so that each will be featured over three nights in talent, lifestyle and fitness and evening gown categories.

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue, who was on duty at PH Live for these first-night photo galleries. Check back Thursday for tonight’s second-preliminary competition and Friday for the final third night.

Seven celebrity judges who began their interviews with each contestant Monday also got to see the three category challenges for the first time, and for fun, two of the judges, 2012 Olympic gold-medalist gymnast McKayla Maroney and “Good Morning America” broadcaster Sam Champion, struck the sulking pose she made headlines with in London last summer.

The other judges are Oprah Winfrey’s Glam Squad designer Bradley Bayou; “Dancing With the Stars” pro dancer champion Cheryl Burke; my friend Mary Hart, who anchored “Entertainment Tonight” for 30 years; Daymond John, business mogul and star of “Shark Tank”; and Indiana’s first Miss America in 2009, Katie Stam Irk. I grill them today, and we’ll post that report Thursday.

The first scholarship winners Tuesday night were Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers for lifestyle and fitness in a white Catalina swimsuit trimmed with gold and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton for talent with a tap-dancing performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Amway donated $3,000 in education funds to the two recipients. The Miss America Organization makes available more than $45 million each year in scholarship assistance.

On Thursday, we’ll learn the winners of the Quality of Life Awards. Seven of the girls have been named as finalists for their platforms: Miss Alabama Anna Bryan for her work with autism; Miss Delaware Alyssa Murray for skin cancer advocacy; Miss Idaho Whitney Wood for her work with women in shelters; Miss Maryland Joanna Guy for her Healthy Hearts program; Miss Mississippi Marie Wicks assisting classroom children coping with early blindness; Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson for her Fight Against Child Hunger; and Miss Washington Mandy Schendel for her Youth Leadership work. Three will be named to share $12,000 in scholarships.

The two-hour 2013 Miss America Pageant hosted by Brooke Burke-Charvet and Chris Harrison airs Saturday on ABC and will be preceded by an hourlong “20/20” news special anchored by “GMA’s” Lara Spencer: “Pageant Confidential: The Road to Miss America,” which is filming here this week.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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