Skip to main content

Miss California Alyssa Campanella wins Miss USA pageant

By the CNN Wire Staff
Miss California Alyssa Campanella was crowned Miss USA Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Miss California Alyssa Campanella was crowned Miss USA Sunday night in Las Vegas.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The California contestant beat 51 other women to win the crown
  • Fans were able to participate and help choose semifinalists
  • Campanella succeeds Rima Fakih, the first Miss USA who is Arab-American and Muslim
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- Miss California Alyssa Campanella bested 51 other contestants Sunday night to win the Miss USA crown in Las Vegas.

Campanella wore a green flared dress for the evening gown competition and answered a question from judge and OPI co-founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann during the interview segment about the legalization of medical marijuana.

Campanella, 21, said she was uncomfortable with the idea, but believed marijuana was medically beneficial.

Campanella will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in September.

The 60th Annual Miss USA Pageant took place at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. It was hosted by Andy Cohen, host of Bravo's "Watch What Happens: Live" and Giuliana Rancic, co-anchor of "E! News." They were joined by Kellie Osbourne, daughter of Ozzy Osbourne and co-star of "The Osbournes," and Susie Castillo, who was Miss USA in 2003.

The audience was packed with former winners from years past, going back to 1953. Each had a sash with the year of their win and waved enthusiastically when a camera panned past.

New technology allowed fans to rate contestants in real time as the competition unfolded on television. Fan ratings didn't count toward contestants scores, but fans were able to watch preliminary contests online and help vote their favorites into the semifinals.

From there, however, the judges took over. In addition to Weiss-Fischmann, the panel included actress Mariel Hemingway, rapper and producer Lil Jon, 2011 NBA champion and Dallas Maverick Tyson Chandler, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpiroto and Penn Jillette of the comedy-magic duo Penn & Teller.

Other finalists in the competition included Miss Tennessee, Ashley Elizabeth Durham; Miss Alabama, Madeline Mitchell; and Miss Texas, Ana Christina Rodriguez.

Campanella succeeds Rima Fakih, the first Arab-American and Muslim to wear the crown. Fakih repeatedly faced questions about her ethnic and religious identity. There was also controversy over pictures of Fakih dancing around a stripper's pole that emerged shortly after she won her crown, but Fakih has said the photos were taken during a radio station competition and no clothes were removed.

 
Quick Job Search