|Date April 19, 2009|
Owner Donald Trump
|Broadcaster NBC, Telemundo|
|Presenters Billy Bush, Nadine Velazquez|
Entertainment Kevin Rudolf, The Veronicas
Venue The AXIS, Las Vegas, Nevada
Miss USA 2009, the 58th Miss USA pageant was held at the Theatre for the Performing Arts in Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 19, 2009. At the conclusion of the final night of competition, Kristen Dalton of North Carolina was crowned by outgoing titleholder Crystle Stewart of Texas.
- Historical significance
- Preliminary judges
- Telecast judges
- Background music
- Controversy over gay marriage question
- New crown
- Pageant crossovers
The event was hosted by Billy Bush of Access Hollywood and actress Nadine Velazquez; Bush returned to host the pageant which he last emceed in 2005. He had previously co-hosted Miss USA 2003 with Daisy Fuentes and Miss USA 2004–2005 with Nancy O'Dell. Entertainment was provided by Kevin Rudolf who performed "Let It Rock" during the swimsuit competition and The Veronicas performed "Untouched" during the evening gown competition.
The competition was broadcast in High Definition for only the second time in history.
Delegates representing the fifty states plus the District of Columbia competed in the pageant, and arrived in Las Vegas on April 2. Miss USA Kristen Dalton represented the USA at the Miss Universe 2009 pageant, where she reached the Top 10.
Pageants were held from June 2008 to January 2009 to select the representative for each state. During the final show on April 19, the fifteen delegates with the highest average scores from the preliminary competition were announced. The top fifteen competed in the swimsuit competition. The top ten delegates from swimsuit competed in evening gown. The top five delegates from the evening gown competition (not averaged composite scores from both competitions) competed in the final question round to determine the winner. The judges' composite score was shown after each round of competition for only the third time since 2002.
The Miss USA 2009 delegates were:
Controversy over gay marriage question
During the 2009 Miss USA pageant, Miss California Carrie Prejean, was asked by openly gay pageant judge, Perez Hilton, whether she believed every state should legalize same-sex marriage. She responded that she did not. After the pageant Hilton made negative comments about the contestant and told ABC News: "She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that," leading some to believe that the answer directly had caused her to lose the competition. Prejean stated that Miss California USA officials had pressured her to apologize for her statement and "not talk" about her Christian faith.
Several politicians and commentators assailed Hilton and defended Prejean for honestly stating her personal beliefs.
Following the pageant, Prejean hired a Christian public relations firm, and appeared in a television advertisement by the National Organization for Marriage. However, on June 10, 2009, Prejean again stated that her question caused her to lose her title when she learned she was fired by Donald Trump. Miss California USA officials state that her answer had nothing to do with her termination, citing continued breach of her contract instead.
In keeping with co-owner NBC Universal's "Green is Universal" environmental initiative, the Miss Universe Organization announced that Diamond Nexus Labs would become the official jewelry sponsor for the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. DNL 's man-made gemstones are "all synthesized in clean labs using environmentally friendly processes". Diamond Nexus Labs will create a custom-designed crown for Miss USA 2009, as well as for the Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants later this year.
Nine former Miss Teen USA state titleholders competed at Miss USA 2009, the highest since 2007 and the second highest since 2003. For the first time five of the former teens competed at the same pageant, Miss Teen USA 2004. Aureana Tseu will become the first former Teen to represent her state at Miss USA ten years after competing at Miss Teen USA. This is also the first year that a Miss Teen USA 2006 contestant competed at Miss USA.
Nebraska crowned one of their former Teen USA state titleholders for the first time, and Florida crowned only their second. In Rhode Island, consecutive Teen titleholders (Amy Diaz and Alysha Castonguay) won consecutive Miss titles, the first time this has occurred in the history of the two pageants.
Unusually, there were no former Miss America competitors, but Lacey Minchew (Louisiana) won the title of Miss Teen America 2002. Minchew later crowned Alysha Castonguay (Rhode Island) Miss Teen America 2003. The Miss America and Miss Teen America pageants are not affiliated with each other.
The former teens competing at this Miss USA pageant are:
Despite the high number of former Miss Teen USA competitors, this became the first time since 1994 that not a single former Miss Teen USA competitor managed to place.
In addition to the winner, Kristen Dalton of North Carolina competing at Miss Universe 2009, three other contestants went on to compete in Miss Universe, after winning national titles from other countries. They are: