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2012 Miss America photos: Miss Texas, Oklahoma lasso victories

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Miss Texas Kendall Morris (lifestyle and fitness) and Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson (talent), winners of the second-night preliminary competition in the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 11, 2012.

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2012 Miss America Pageant: Second-Night Preliminaries

Second-night preliminary competition in the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 11, 2012, with Miss Americas Teresa Scanlan (2011, pictured), Katie Stam (2009) and Kirsten Haglund (2008)  and Miss America Outstanding Teens in attendance. Launch slideshow »

2012 Miss America: Second-NightPrelims

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Miss Nevada Alana Lee in the second-night preliminary competition in the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 11, 2012.

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Miss Americas Katie Stam (2009), Kirsten Haglund (2008) and Teresa Scanlan (2011) attend the second-night preliminary competition in the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 11, 2012.

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Rebecca King Draman, 1974 Miss America, during the second-night preliminary competition in the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Jan. 11, 2012.

It was down to the wire for the three 2012 Miss America Pageant contestants battling one other to pass the $40,000 target of raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the organization’s main cause.

As the cutoff ended with their trip to Las Vegas for Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape, Miss Louisiana Hope Anderson and Miss Mississippi Mary Roark, only $59 separated the three beauties, and all three had surpassed $40,000.

“How do you tell two of the three girls who worked so hard to top that amount that she misses out on a $5,000 scholarship because of $59?“ asked Miss America President Art McMaster. “But how to solve that problem for our Miracle Makers?”

Do you use the Wisdom of Solomon? Do you ponder biblical process and cut the scholarship three ways? Before Miss America officials had to fret for a solution, scholarship sponsors stepped up and made a $10,000 donation so that each one of the three would receive a $5,000 scholarship.

That was one of the onstage highlights at Wednesday night’s second-preliminary pageant in the 91st Miss America Pageant events at Planet Hollywood’s Theater for the Performing Arts.

Looking like a contender for Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” lineup, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson won the talent competition for her Irish step-dance performance to “Warriors” and a $2,000 scholarship.

Also in the spotlight was Miss Texas Kendall Morris, who simply dazzled as the night’s lifestyle and fitness winner in a Monte Carlo Komplique swimsuit. She received a $1,000 scholarship.

1974 Miss America Rebecca King was heroic again for a second consecutive night, making it across the stage with support from the growing parade of champions. She’s no longer on the board because she’s there rooting for her daughter Diana Dreman, Miss Colorado.

Rebecca watched Diane compete in the talent contest last night with an amazing quick-change, costume-dance routine, which ended with her tossing her “serious” glasses, ruffling her hair bun and transforming from serious school girl into sexy dancer.

Another contestant who dazzled last night in the talent section was Night 1’s fitness winner Danica Olsen, Miss Utah, as a sparkling flight attendant dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me.” Weight-loss beauty Bree Boyce, Miss South Carolina, wowed with her operatic rendition, as did Miss Mississippi playing “Nostradamus” at the piano.

Our Miss Nevada Alana Lee lived up to her promise to be a “standout” in the evening gown competition. She was radiant in a shimmering gold, one-strap shoulder gown with thigh-high leg slit. Tonight, it’s her turn to shine with her vocal skills in the talent section. Her dad, State Senator John Lee, and family members will be there to cheer her on in the competition.

We also received an advance look at five possible candidates for next year’s competition when 40 Miss America Outstanding Teens took to the stage for a dance number in silver, mini-mirrored, short dance dresses. The five, who meet the minimum-age requirement of 17, return from Las Vegas to start the state pageant process and if successful will be back at Planet Hollywood in 12 months competing in the 2013 pageant.

Today, I join Miss Americas winners at a luncheon at Vintner Grill with Teresa Scanlan, who’s reign as 2011 Miss America comes to an end Saturday when she crowns her successor. I’ll also meet up with the three Quality of Life scholarship winners who split $12,000 for their community service and charity work.

Tonight, I hear strong rumors that the judges will be pulled onstage again, as they were unexpectedly in Tuesday’s first preliminary competition, and that they will have to perform in an unrehearsed talent contest so that they “feel it” for the pageant princesses in the spotlight. I’m expecting tough competition among Mark Ballas, Lara Spencer and Teri Polo – with Kris Jenner winning!

On Friday, we’ll try to pry additional secrets from Saturday’s new-look, 2-hour ABC telecast, which we’ll post in advance of the pageant. We’ll be reporting via Twitter and live blog as the pageant begins and post winning photographs and the first video interview ASAP, with a wrap of the onstage excitement Sunday.

Incidentally, Kris is featured in next month’s issue of Family Circle with revelations from the candid family. Says Kris: “We wouldn’t be the Kardashians if we censored ourselves.” She reveals that daughter Kourtney was against her marrying Olympic champion Bruce Jenner and didn’t talk to him for the first 6 months after the wedding. She also admits that Khloe is the daughter who now monitors Kris and Bruce’s teen daughters Kylie and Kendall.

“She checks their emails and texting to ensure they’re not up to anything inappropriate in this digital age,” Kris said.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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