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January 13, 2011

ULM's Kelsi Crain continues preliminaries as she vies for Miss America crown Saturday

ULM's Kelsi Crain, Miss Louisiana 2010, vies for a new title and crown this weekend when she competes in the finals for the 2011 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.

Crain, 20, a junior kinesiology major from Monroe, made the trip to Las Vegas last Thursday , Jan. 6 , to begin preliminary competition this week. Preliminaries will be followed by the live televised finals on ABC television network beginning at 7 p.m., CST, Jan. 15 . The 2011 Miss America Pageant will be held again this year at the Planet Hollywood Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Crain is scheduled to perform in the swimsuit and evening gown portion of preliminary competition tonight in Las Vegas, having already concluded an interview session with the judges on Monday, as well as a performance of her talent on Tuesday, and the on-stage question on Wednesday, Jan. 12 .

"She did really well in her on-stage question last night ," said Darris Waren, Miss Louisiana Organization vice president. "The judges asked about her platform, Heart for the Arts, and Kelsi explained how dance is not just another form of art to her, but also a way of teaching people life skills. She spoke eloquently about how critical the arts are in children's lives."

Miss America Judges also recently asked Crain about two national news stories affecting Louisiana and their long-lasting ramifications – Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As Miss Louisiana, Crain was able to personally tour the BP Command Center and see firsthand the affected wetland area, as well as visit with south Louisianan fishermen to hear their emotional take on the spill that has affected so many lives.

This year's panel of judges include: Joy Behar, co-host of ABC's The View and host of The Joy Behar Show on HLN; Miss America 1990 Dr. Debbye Turner Bell, a veterinary doctor, motivational speaker and broadcast journalist; Marc Cherry, creator and executive producer for the ABC network; Tony Dovolani, competitive ballroom dancer and judge on the hit ABC series, Dancing with the Stars; actress and movie star Marilu Henner; Taryn Rose, an orthopedic surgeon turned shoe designer; and multi-platinum selling country music star Mark Wills.

Waren indicated that between family, friends and numerous officials within the Miss Louisiana Organization, there more than 50 supporters are in Las Vegas this week to cheer Crain on through the rigorous schedule of preliminaries leading to Saturday 's main event.

"It's great to see so many supporters from northeast Louisiana here," said Waren. "And I know Kelsi is so appreciative of the effort."

Before taking the Miss Louisiana crown, Crain was named Miss University of Louisiana at Monroe in October 2009. On June 16, 2010 , Crain earned the state title and has been diligently working ever since to prepare for the national crown.


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