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SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss USA 2013 Finals: Winner, Gowns

 OMG! --Erin Brady Miss Connecticut USA gets crowned Miss USA 2013 by Nana Meriwether Miss USA 2012--PH Live Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas

Last night were the Finals of the 62nd annual Miss USA pageant. The winner was the beautiful 25-year-old 5' 8" tall Erin Brady "Miss Connecticut USA". She beat out 50 other lovely women representing all the United States plus the District of Columbia for the coveted title. Erin is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in Finance and a minor in Criminal Justice and according to her Miss USA bio, she would like to pursue an MBA in the near future.

 Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady

Also, according to her bio, she is a Financial Accountant, well up until last night. Now, she will spend a year traveling around the country as Miss USA 2013, and calling a NYC apartment home. She will also represent USA in the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which announced last night--will take place in November in Moscow Russia.

 Neon Girl: Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady (and new Miss USA) as she introduced herself at last night's Miss USA 2013 Finals--PH Live Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas

 Ab Fab: Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady, during last night's Miss USA 2013 Swimsuit Competition

The new Miss USA, Erin Brady reminds me slightly of ...
 Dayana Mendoza Miss Universe 2008--In addition, a fellow pageant aficionado and friend of mine also pointed out how the new Miss USA looks a lot like the current Miss Venezuela Earth 2012 Alyz Henrich

The Final Two: Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady (left) and Miss Alabama USA Mary-Margaret McCord (right) hold on for dear life as the winner is announced. Miss Alabama USA was a top favorite among pageant watchers to win the top title. But alas, it was Miss Connecticut's win. Besides being so pretty, having great stage presence, I think Erin won the title by just being REAL. Especially during the Q&A and Final Question, Miss Connecticut USA (the eventual winner) answered without sounding like a robotic or way-too-pageant-trained contestant; she sounded real. And that is what made the judges give the title to her. At least, that was my observation as a viewer. Now, speaking of Final Questions and Bad Pageant Coaching...let's discuss...

The #EpicFail #FinalQuestionTrainWreck Moment of Miss USA 2013 Finals:

Oooh Gurl! Co-host Giuliana Rancic is counting how many jaws have dropped in the audience as Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell tries to answer-or shall I say--fumbles answering her Final Question...

You Blew It Huney: Giuliana's face is priceless, especially next to Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell's. Giuliana knows what just happened and yet Marissa is doing her best Pageant Betty smile. Miss Utah USA was one of the top favorites to win the entire thing (she had one of the Most Beautiful Faces in the pageant and in fact won "Miss Photogenic" last night), but it was this Final Question moment which made her say "Bye Bye" to the crown. Judge Nene Lekes asked Marissa a question about income inequalities between men and women in the US. Miss Utah USA then went into a fumbling answer about Education and jobs. It became her "Miss South Carolina Teen USA 'And such as...' YouTube #EpicFail Moment". I have a feeling that she just drew a blank and went into her "Pageant Auto-Pilot Mode" and decided to answer something about Education since that's what she was trained to answer. It was a great example of Being Trained Too Much. These coaches need to let these girls BE REAL. In the end, however, it didn't really matter because somehow the judges still awarded her with a 3rd Runner-Up title--4th place out of six.

Here's Miss Utah USA's Final Question Moment:

Now, let's discuss The Evening Gowns:
Top Six Gown Girls: A "twist" in the finals came when Giuliana announced that in addition to the Top Five, one contestant would be "added on" via Twitter--and that was Miss Texas USA Ali Nugent on the far left in red.

Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady: The eventual Miss USA 2013, Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady, wore a strapless gown featuring a heavily sequined applique bustier and an ivory satin floor-length skirt with side front-and-back pleated drape detail. Initially I thought the asymmetrical fullness of the bottom from the waist down might have made her look bottom-heavy. It did, slightly, but for the most part, she looked quite regal and elegant. It wasn't one of my favorites of the night but well done. Oh and kids, notice NO HOOCHIE slit. And she still won.

Miss Texas USA Ali Nugent: Ali wore on my favorite gowns of the night (she also wore this for the Preliminary Competition on Wednesday night). It was a red fitted crepe gown with a plunging neckline, sheer front panel, and featuring oversized silver and mirrored paillettes. It was designed by Venezuelan fashion designer Gionni Straccia and very reminiscent (in the mirrored sequined detail) of these other gowns he has designed for past Pageant Girls in his native Venezuela:

Mirrored Paillette Girls: (left to right) Irene Esser Miss Venezuela 2011 in iridescent silver lame gown with silver and mirrored paillette accents; Miss Falcon 2012 in the Miss Venezuela 2012 pageant, wearing a canary yellow Gionni Straccia gown with--you guessed it--mirrored paillette torso detail

 Marelisa Gibson Miss Venezuela 2009--in raspberry-colored Gionni Straccia gown with silver and mirrored paillettes
It has become his signature and in my estimation, nobody does it better.

Miss Alabama USA Mary-Margaret McCord: I LOVED this gown that 1st Runner-Up and almost Miss USA 2013, Miss Alabama USA wore. It was a strapless mermaid shaped dress, UBER fitted to an 1/8 of an inch of her teeny-tiny figure, with layers upon layers of gathered and fan-pleated organza at the bottom. It was dramatic and Pageant Fab. An almost 10 in my book. She also accessorized it perfectly with Emerald Green crystal drop earrings.

Miss Illinois USA Stacie Juris: Stacie was one of my favorites of the night for her beauty, poise and presence. I also liked her fitted steel blue sheath gown  featuring sequined applique. I liked the simplicity of this dress and also the unique color, but I did wonder to myself if the judges would pick a Miss USA who was wearing such an unusual shade. Sounds silly, but when was the last time you saw someone win in this color?

Miss Louisiana USA Kristen Girault: Kristen also wore a gown from Venezuelan Pageant Go-To designer Gionni Straccia. This gown was one of my Top Gowns from the Preliminary Competition. I thought the stark ivory color against the golden jeweled midriff and harness accents were very "Cleopatra". 

Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell: Chelsea looked great in this fully sequined strapless gown with high side slit. It fit her perfectly and looked amazing against her skin tone and blond hair.

Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell: When she walked on the stage during the evening gown portion--in this gown, she took my breath away. This sequined ivory and dusty rose-colored solid-to-sheer gown was a perfect frame to her STUNNING face and dark hair. She looked VERY "Miss Venezuela" at the Miss Universe pageant. But then, she had that Final Question...

Miss Ohio USA Kristin Smith: Kristin wore a canary yellow gown with a V-neckline, sequined waist and full multi-layered skirt. I liked the silhouette, the color and the on-trend embellished waist detail. Miss Ohio USA probably banked on the fact that last year's Miss USA Olivia Culpo (before she won Miss Universe 2012) wore a similar looking gown when she won the title (above photo) and maybe, just maybe, the same could happen to her...

Also, I liked it because the sequined waist detail reminded me of one of my NV Nick Verreos dresses (above photo).

 Miss South Carolina USA Megan Pinckney: Megan wore a fully sequined sheath gown with a halter neckline featuring a very peek-a-boo keyhole. She looked very "Red Carpet Ready" in this and the halter style highlighted her oh-so-pretty face. Speaking of...

This year's Miss South Carolina USA Megan Pinckney reminded me so much of the beautiful Meagan Tandy Miss California USA 2007 and 3rd Runner-Up to Miss USA 2007 (wearing my NIKOLAKI gown above). They could be sisters!

Miss North Carolina Ashley Love-Mills: Finally, in my Miss USA 2013 Finals Evening own Recap, I must end it all with Miss Ashley. I gave Miss North Carolina USA the "Drag Queen Evening Gown Award" for wearing this same gown for the Preliminaries. I am so happy that she wore this dress for the Finals last night. And yes, kids, it has a sequined hot-pant leotard underneath all that fan-pleated chiffon. A Figure Skating Costume Designer is jumping up and down with joy right about now! You Go Ashley!

Congrats Erin Brady, the newly-crowned Miss USA 2013, and Best of Luck at November's Miss Universe 2013 pageant. PS: Since it's being televised LIVE and needs to be shown at 9pm NYC time, that means the actual Miss Universe pageant in Russia needs to begin LIVE at 5 AM. Now, this I gotta see!

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