Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 | 9:45 p.m.
See all of the Sun's 2010 Miss America Pageant coverage.
Tonight’s Evening of Dreams gala of the 2010 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood became the Evening of Engagement for 2009 Miss America Katie Stam: Brian Irk, her boyfriend of four years, proposed to her at the end of the event!
Originally, Katie was to sing the Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole hit “Unforgettable,” but as was the case a year ago, she is suffering from laryngitis. Instead, I asked her to speak her two favorite lines from the song. I told her she was unforgettable, and her yearlong reign also was unforgettable.
It definitely called for a toast. We raised our glasses to toast, and then I stopped and said it would be unfair for Katie to be onstage alone with me, and I asked her boyfriend Brian to join us. When he came onstage, as we had prearranged it, Brian dropped to his knee and popped the question. Katie said yes!
Katie was in tears and took off her Miss America ring to move it to her right hand so that the square, multi-carat diamond engagement ring was alone on her left fourth finger. The room erupted in cheers and applause, and everybody grouped around her afterward to offer congratulations.
Katie said, “I’m shaking! I can’t tell if it’s as much as it was when my name was called for Miss America, but I’m lucky to have the right man. He’s a keeper. I couldn’t be happier. I had no idea at all this was going to happen! It’s a Miss America first. I will never forget it, and ‘Unforgettable’ will now always be our song.”
Brian said, “She’s the best girl in the world.” He revealed that on their first date four years ago, she kissed him first! You can view photos of the proposal on my Twitter account.
A year ago, I chatted with LaPorte, Ind.-born Brian, who at the time lived in Indianapolis as a fitness trainer. Katie and he had been dating for three years. I asked him what he was now prepared for with her title and crown.
“I will wait the year out patiently. It is only one year in a lifetime,” he told me. “I wanted her to win this. She has my full support. I know I’ll be doing a lot of flying, so I can intercept her during her free moments in faraway places, so we will have plenty of reunions together over the year. I’m very close with her parents, so I’ll also be spending a lot of time with them.”
Katie admitted to me: “My life has completely changed. Brian and I have been dating for three years, so it’s really wonderful and very serious. He is a real blessing in my life. I love him dearly.
“Brian is one of my greatest supporters, and he’s willing to make the trips to catch up with me whenever we can. We had a conversation right before I came out to Las Vegas. ‘Whatever happens,’ and he told me I want this for you because you want it. He’s such a great supporter of mine.
“It will work out. This won’t weaken what we have. This will strengthen what we have. I am a great believer that if two people want something to work, it will work.”
Vegas DeLuxe congratulates Brian and Katie on their engagement!
More Miss America news
The 53 Miss America Pageant contestants on tonight’s TLC special Miss America: Behind the Curtain chose their Top 12 hopefuls who are now up for vote by the public at TLC.com to comprise the Top 15 for tomorrow night’s telecast. The “America’s Choice” Top 12 are Miss Kentucky, Miss Michigan, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Arkansas, Miss Oregon, Miss Washington, Miss Colorado, Miss Wisconsin, Miss North Carolina, Miss Ohio, Miss California and Miss Hawaii. Start voting!
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.