Miss Rhode Island wins Miss USA crown

Story highlights

Olivia Culpo, 20, of Rhode Island is the new Miss USA

Miss Maryland, Miss Ohio, Miss Nevada and Miss Georgia are the runners-up

Online voting from viewers returned this year

Judges included chef Cat Cora and Arsenio Hall

CNN  — 

Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, won the title of Miss USA 2012 on Sunday night, beating a field of 50 high-heeled contestants at the pageant held in Las Vegas.

Wearing a purple, flowing gown, the 20-year-old Boston University sophomore looked at ease in the final rounds of competition, dancing alongside singer Akon during his live performance with the five finalists.

A cellist for 13 years, Culpo emphasized the importance of music education. She has performed at Boston Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The first runner-up was Miss Maryland, Nana Meriwhether. The remaining three finalists were Miss Ohio, Audrey Bolte; Miss Nevada, Jade Kelsall; and Miss Georgia, Jasmyn “Jazz” Wilkins.

For the first time, viewers were able to ask Miss USA contestants a question via Twitter during the show. The pageant was broadcast live from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Contestants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions. Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella, crowned the winner.

This year’s panel of celebrity judges included chef Cat Cora; talk-show host and “Celebrity Apprentice” winner Arsenio Hall; musician Joe Jonas; actress Marilu Henner; television personality Rob Kardashian; Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008; George Kotsiopoulous, co-host of E!’s “Fashion Police”; and Ali Fedotowsky, formerly of “The Bachelorette.”

Culpo will represent the United States in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.