The 2012 Miss America pageant is set to take place on Saturday in Las Vegas and some of the contestants shared some of their talents and anticipations with OnTheRedCarpet.com.
The esteemed competition, premiering on January 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC , will showcase 53 young women representing their home states, all vying for the opportunity to be crowned Miss America.
According to the organization's official website, Miss America must be "talented, intelligent and well-spoken, she is a leader with a strong commitment to her community, she understands the importance of health and fitness, and she is a role model for millions of women not only for her spot-on sense of style and fashion, but also because she has become a relatable 'it girl' who can connect with today's contemporary woman."
Some of the contestants talked to OnTheRedCarpet.com and shared some interesting talents, as well as personal details, fears and hopes for the competition.
Miss Michigan, Elizabeth Ann Wertenberger, talked about an auto-immune disorder she has suffered from since she was 13, which inspired her platform. Wertenberger is channeling her optimism in the competition, and told OnTheRedCarpet.com, "I was a girl that they said would never be able to walk, and here I am."
Miss Hawaii, Lauren Cheape Lauren Cheape, let OnTheRedCarpet.com in on her talent for the competition: jump roping on her backside. The 24-year-old beauty and seasoned roper dished on her jump roping talents, and even displayed a sneak peak of her moves, which earned her the top spot in the 3rd round of the Miss America talent competition on Friday and a $2,000 scholarship. The talent portion is 35 percent of a contestant's score.
Miss Texas, who won round two of the Miss America swimsuit competition, Kendall Morris, explained how she may have broken a Miss America record. The 20-year-old contestant told OnTheRedCarpet.com that she brought what was a record nine suitcases for her stay in Las Vegas, joking that she didn't know how the other contestants "fit all of their clothes in their luggage." The beauty went on to say, "I brought my whole closet - why not?" The fitness and lifestyle category, which is determined with the swimsuit competition accounts for 15 percent of a contestant's score.
The diverse team of seven judges includes reality star Kris Jenner, Univision's "El Gordo y La Flaca" host Raul de Molina, executive producer of ABC's "The Bachelor" Mike Fleiss, "Dancing With the Stars" pro dancer Mark Ballas, actress Teri Polo of ABC's "Man Up," Chris Powell of "Extreme Makeover" and Lara Spencer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
Chris Harrison, host of ABC dating reality show "The Bachelor," and "Dancing With the Stars" co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet will co-host the pageant for the second year in a row.
Reporting by Tony Cabrera, correspondent for KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).