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April 23, 2014

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Miss USA no match for NBA Finals; Donald Trump explains moving his pageants out of Vegas

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Steve Marcus

Miss Connecticut Erin Brady reacts after being crowned during the Miss USA pageant at Planet Hollywood Sunday, June 16, 2013.

2013 Miss USA Pageant

Miss Connecticut Erin Brady reacts as she is crowned by Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether during the Miss USA pageant at Planet Hollywood Sunday, June 16, 2013. Launch slideshow »

More from the Miss USA pageant

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The 51 glamorous girls of Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant Sunday at Planet Hollywood were outscored and outpointed in the TV ratings war by the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat.

Ratings figures released Monday showed Game Five of the NBA Finals walloped the pageant princesses on NBC. The athletes racked up 12.2 million viewers, while the contestants cuddled up to just 5.3 million viewers -- a distant second. In sports terms, that’s a wipeout!

Last year, Donald’s beauties didn’t have to go head-to-head with the NBA stars. However, he can claim he still beat both CBS and Fox outright this year -- their combined totals only equaling his.

Donald told me: “We have 51 of the most beautiful people in the world here. They will go on to become doctors, lawyers and fill great positions. We are really proud of these girls -- probably the best we have ever had.”

Our Miss Nevada, stunning Chelsea Caswell, who returns to her food and beverage management job at the Wynn on Monday, placed in the Top 10 -- but didn’t make it into the top five. Erin Brady, a 25-year-old Connecticut financial analyst, won the title and crown after being awarded Miss Congeniality in the Connecticut state pageant earlier this year. Erin danced to the Jonas Brothers' "Pom Poms" wearing an orange bikini and changed into a strapless fashion outfit with a long white flimsy train and a glittering gold corset for the evening gown segment. Her winning judges’ question dealt with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DNA testing.

Miss Nevada USA 2013 Chelsea Caswell

2013 Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell is seen during the swimsuit portion of the 2013 Miss USA Pageant on Sunday, June 16, 2013, at Planet Hollywood. Launch slideshow »

Among those watching from the audience were TI owner Phil Ruffin and his wife, Oleksandra, Motley Crue rocker Vince Neil, former Playmate Holly Madison, Miss Alabama 2011 Katherine Webb and Jersey Shore reality star turned Vegas resident Pauly DelVechio, who performed his brand new single “Back To Love” as DJ Pauly D for the final six evening gown contestants before the dreaded judge’s questions.

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his incredible galleries of the red carpet, the stage show, the media meets and backstage with Donald.

The big news, though, is that Las Vegas -- which has had three annual televised pageants here since 2005 -- now doesn’t even have one! Donald told me the Miss Universe pageant goes to Russia on Nov. 9, next year’s Miss USA will move to his Doral Hotel and Golf Club property in Miami for three years. Miss America, of course, is back home in Atlantic City as of Sept. 15.

I first tipped Donald’s move to Moscow 12 days ago in our extensive pre-Miss USA coverage, but you can hear Donald directly on this YouTube video as well as this one from videographer Richard Corey who captured all the sights and sounds of the red carpet and on-stage after the telecast.

Donald tells me he expects more than 6,000 people to be seated in the Crocus City Hall on the northwestern edge of the Russian capital for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. The television audience is expected to reach 100 million. It’s the first time the event is being held in Russia, but Oksana Fedorov, a television host, is the only Russian model to have won it -- in 2002. Our newly crowned Miss USA will be competing with more than 70 worldwide beauties including the current Miss Russia, Elmira Abdrazakova, from Kazakhstan.

"We had 18 different countries wanting the pageant -- Russia really wanted it badly. We will be in one of the great halls of the world," Donald told me.

Erin, a Connecticut State University finance major who is a “numbers crunching accountant” said she had to call her office boss to let him know she wouldn’t be coming back to work for at least a year! She plans to continue what last year’s Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, started in bringing the global crown back to America after a 16-year gap.

Her early morning photo session Monday began at the Minus 5 Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay, where she was wrapped with fur coats over a red bikini to get ready for the harsh winter realities of Russia!

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady Meets the Press

2013 Miss USA Erin Brady prepares at Minus 5 Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay on June 17, 2013, for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, which is Nov. 9 at Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia. Launch slideshow »

On Sunday her fiancée, Tony Capasso, her father, Francis, and sister Audrey were all in Planet Hollywood to congratulate her. They revealed that as a youngster she’d take part in pretend Miss America poolside walks with her grandmother! Erin admitted she’d entered her state pageant “on a total whim."

“I’m hoping my finance career disproves negative images held about some beauty contestants. We are intelligent individuals and not a stereotype. It's not all about the hair and the makeup, but our personalities," she said, adding that her fiancee had told her to compete with no makeup. She will help promote Miss USA’s campaign for a breast cancer cure but will also assist children dealing with family drug and alcohol abuse since she’s seen that first-hand.

Donald says the official date for Miss USA’s move to Miami from Vegas will be made at the Miss Universe pageant, but he expects a three-year-run at his Doral property in Florida before any thought of returning to Vegas. “We’ve had great times here and we love having the pageant in Vegas and we’ve done really well here” he told me. "Next year Miami is definite and another couple of years but I’m certain we’ll be back sometime.”

Meantime Miss America, which first came here in 2006 and left after last year’s pageant at Planet Hollywood, has started planning its September broadcast in Atlantic City.

Coming Tuesday: some startling revelations from the Miss America officials on their move back to New Jersey.

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