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2012 Miss USA: One-night-only preliminaries at Planet Hollywood


Tom Donoghue/

The 2012 Miss USA Pageant preliminaries at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

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The 2012 Miss USA Pageant preliminaries at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

2012 Miss USA Pageant: Preliminaries

The 2012 Miss USA Pageant preliminaries at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Miss Nevada USA 2012 Jade Kelsall

Miss USA 2012 Pageant preliminaries

Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella

Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella

It’s glamour at its most glittering and comes packed with a 24-karat-gold punch. It’s sexy at its most spectacular and shown at its maximum in thigh-high slits and see-through gowns. It’s fitness at its finest with hard bodies in brilliant bikinis featuring nature’s beauty at its best.

Welcome to a war waged with sensational smiles, long legs, dizzying dentistry, magnificent makeup, luscious lips, bronzed and bountiful bodies and high-voltage hairstyles.

It’s the 61st Annual Miss USA Pageant, where the emphasis is on looks, physical presence and amazing attributes all shown to their bombshell best. How Wednesday night’s preliminary judges voted the 51 contestants down to a possible 15 semifinalists for Sunday’s live NBC telecast at Planet Hollywood is difficult, challenging and remarkable because anyone could win the title.

And that’s if they get through the dreaded final question, which this year includes one viewer asking via Twitter. Viewers also will have the opportunity at the start of the show to add one contestant to the semifinalists.

Wednesday night at Planet Hollywood was the first time the hopefuls were all on parade onstage, and it was possibly the most impressive lineup since the pageant began six decades ago. Glamour with a capital G! Stunning with a capital S!

Miss Nevada USA 2012 Jade Kelsall received raves. Nevada pageant co-producer Shanna Moakler, Miss USA 1995, told me: “Jade is amazing. She’s doing fine, and I think she nailed her preliminaries with her confidence. I am excited and proud of her and more than happy with her accomplishment tonight. Jade could become the first Miss Nevada in the Top 15 since Miss USA moved here.”

Here’s a Miss Ranking YouTube video of Jade’s evening gown presentation.

Miss Teen Nevada 2013 Katie Eklund, who will enter a future Miss USA Pageant, told me: “Jade killed it. She did so well, it made me cry. Her stage presence was unreal.”

Jade, 26, said afterward: “Rocking that stage for Nevada made me proud. I had such an amazing time.” Her mom Donna told me that Jade’s family, including cousins, a brother and her 68-year-old grandfather, are flying in from their New Jersey home to attend Sunday’s 6 p.m. show. Jade moved here five years ago; three weeks before she won Miss Nevada, Jade underwent heart surgery to correct a condition that was diagnosed when she was 17.

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his extraordinary gallery of the onstage action and to Richard Corey for his YouTube video.

The opening number, music acts and the final evening gown parade were not included in preliminary judging hosted by Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella and Las Vegas Morning Zoo KLUC DJ Chet Buchanan. Here’s Alyssa’s official Miss USA farewell video:

Akon and Cobra Starship are set to perform on the telecast hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic and including roving correspondents Kelly Osbourne and Jeannie Mai and celebrity judges Arsenio Hall, Joe Jonas, Rob Kardashian, Ali Fedotowsky, George Kotsiopoulos and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza. Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola also will attend and walk the red carpet with pageant owner Donald Trump before the show.

With only 72 hours remaining before Alyssa turns over her crown, Miss USA fans at Miss Ranking put together a video of her reign. “We could not have asked for a better Miss USA,” pageant President Paula Shugart told me.

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.

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