Miss America pageant to be held tonight in Las Vegas
53 women vying for Miss America crown
The 92nd Miss America pageant will be held Saturday in Las Vegas, NV. 53 women from across the United States will compete for the title that provides scholarship opportunities.
In the first few moments of the live broadcast, 16 finalists will be announced.
Each contestant has already performed for the judges during a week of preliminary evens that included personal interviews, a talent segment, and swimming and evening wear fashion shows.
In 2012, the judges' interview segment counted for 25%, talent for 35%, evening wear for 20%, swimwear for 15%, and on-stage question for 5%. Their combined pre-pageant score became 30% of their total score for the stage competition.
According to the pageant's website, more than 12,000 women across the country compete at some level to reach the Miss America pageant. Each contestant must first win a local competition before competing to represent her state.
The 53 women who will take the stage Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Good Morning America's Sam Champion and Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke are two of the judges for the pageant.
The live portion of the competition airs on Local 10 beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 12.
Who is this year's Miss Florida?
Laura McKeeman will represent the state of Florida at the Miss America 2013 pageant. The Saint Petersburg native won the Miss Florida 2012 crown last July, as she represented Miss Pinellas County. Her community outreach commitments include the Miracle League and advocating for Restoration and Preservation of Florida's Everglades.
The 23 year old is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication News. As Miss Florida 2012, she won more than $17,600 to further her education. She has said that she hopes to get a Master's degree in Mass Communication-Multimedia Journalism.
Her talent is ballet en pointe.
The last Miss Florida to win the overall competition was Ericka Dunlap in 2004. Before that, another Miss Florida won the crown in 1993.
What's the difference?
The Miss America pageant is often confused with that of Miss USA. While contestants have competed in both in the past, they are completely different from one another. Here are some key facts that differentiate the two.
-Miss America began in 1921 as a scholarship competition. Miss USA began in 1952 as an advertising campaign for a swimwear company.
-This Miss America Organization is not-for-profit. It is the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women in the world. The Miss USA Organization is a joint venture between Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal.
-The winner of the Miss America pageant receives scholarship and a chance to travel the country to spread her community service message. The winner of the Miss USA pageant goes on to compete in Miss Universe and receives perks, such as a rent-free year in Trump Towers in New York.
-Each Miss America contestant is judged on evening and swim wear, talent, personal interview and on-stage interview segments. Each Miss USA contestant is judged on evening wear, swim wear and interview competitions.
Copyright 2013 by Post Newsweek. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.