Thursday, April 9, 2009 | 3:43 p.m.
*Check out this story with all its accompanying photos and a photo gallery at VegasDeLuxe.com.*
Glamour photographers love to shoot at first light, and this morning, the 51 Miss USA 2009 contestants were up way before dawn busy with hair and makeup!
They selected their Jessica Simpson swimwear, and by 7 a.m. they were parading to the sixth-floor pool of Planet Hollywood. By 9 a.m., official Miss USA photographer Darren Decker had captured that one perfect photograph with the best lighting from the rising early morning sun.
By 10:15 a.m., Darren had looked through more than 100 photos to ensure perfect smiles, posture and poses -- and no blinking. Now here first is the one official photo that later today will be released to worldwide media.
Tomorrow, Vegas DeLuxe will have a photo report of the contestants’ visit to our beloved Opportunity Village, where they helped the challenged children and adults paint a 30-foot mural.
Television cameras have followed the visiting Miss USA 2009 pageant contestants day and night as they’ve trekked up and down the Strip this week. The footage from their charity work and visits to our restaurants and shows will be edited to be shown on NBC’s two-hour live telecast April 19.
Additionally, VegasHD’s fiber-optic links that feed the broadcast live to New York for international transmission also will be used for the first time to display the program on TV screens throughout Planet Hollywood -- and on the world's largest TV billboard right there on the Strip outside the hotel for tourists to watch live!
Miss USA official photographers Darren Decker and Patrick Prather captured this new photo gallery for Vegas DeLuxe when the 51 contestants attended Cirque du Soleil’s Ka spectacular at MGM Grand and Lance Burton’s magic show at the Monte Carlo. Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart was even plucked from the audience to be cut in half by the illusionist! Crystle’s been put back together again safely so she can pass on the reign to her successor in 10 days.
Lance met all the contestants and performed close-up magic tricks for them that still had them baffled even though they were up close and in his face! He posed for a photo with Miss Kentucky USA Maria Montgomery, as Lance hails from the Bluegrass State, too.
Before his magic show at the Monte Carlo, the glamour girls dined at Diablo’s Cantina there, and Miss Missouri USA Stacey Smith, celebrating her 23rd birthday, proved that the calories of an ice cream sundae don’t frighten a beauty queen!
This weekend, the 51 contestants end their fun touring schedule and start five long days of rehearsals for the pageant. They will learn their walking patterns and dance routines and rehearse their introductions and onstage appearances. Vegas DeLuxe will have continuing coverage, and then of course the first interview and photos with the newly crowned champion.
Meantime, our embedded special correspondent Miss Nevada USA Georgina Vaughan will continue to file her reports from inside Pageant Center!
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. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.