Audience braves long lines as part of Las Vegas' show pomp
by: Courtesy of Patrick Prather 
Miss Oregon USA Anna Prosser competes in her choice evening gown at last week’s preliminaries for the 2011 MISS USA Pageant in Las Vegas.

Anna Prosser, Miss Oregon USA, was 'overjoyed and thrilled' with her time at last Sunday night's Miss USA 2011 pageant in Las Vegas.

Prosser did not make it into the pageant's top 16, but she was happy to work with professionals behind the scenes, and with being around 'that caliber of amazing women, so driven and ambitious.'

'I felt so supported by the people following me on Twitter,' Prosser says. 'I want to say thank you to everyone.'

Miss California USA, Alyssa Campanella, won the pageant's crown at the Planet Hollywood Hotel.

Prosser is glad she entered the pageant and notes that the experience has given her some exciting opportunities in expanding her own communications consulting business. It also could help with her consulting work in the video-gaming industry, where Prosser will work with several video-game teams doing media content, interviewing and videos.

A few observations from this year's Miss USA 2011 pageant:

• More than 6,000 people mill around, waiting to get into the auditorium; one security guard warns attendees that they need to get in line early, as it will be 'a mile long.' He isn't kidding.

• A large percentage of the studio audience consists of young women with big hair, tons of makeup, impossibly long legs, skyscraper stiletto heels, no body fat and with scant inches of Spandex wrapped around parts of their torsos. Some have glittery tiaras and sashes that say things like 'Miss American Dream' and 'Queen of Queens.' Then there's the rest of us.

• Minutes before the production begins, producers realize there are too many empty seats in the $150 section at the front of the theater, so they allow the people in the 'cheaper' $100 seats to move into that section. A frantic stampede ensues.

• At last, the live broadcast of the pageant begins; a huge production, orchestrated down to the last second. The director, clad in black, wears white gloves as he uses traffic-cop signals to get the 51 contestants to move quickly onto the enormous stage. Huge men with cameras and loops of electrical cord pirouette around the prancing young women. A massive teleprompter rolls; presenters Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic try to sound sincere.

• The contestants are clad in red, white and blue gowns, signaling a patriotic show for the 60th anniversary of Miss USA. Three days before, Miss California had been declared the odds-on winner, with a small shout out to Miss Alabama and Miss Texas (pageant officials never used the young women's names). No time to waste - 51 is whittled down to 16, and it's bikini time. Teeny little bikinis.

• Misses California, Alabama and Texas make it to the top eight and the evening gown competition. One contestant comes out in a scarlet dress with a ruffle bigger than her head. Big mistake. She is eliminated and we are down to four - the aforementioned three and Miss Tennessee thrown in to make it interesting.

• It's question time: Should burning a religious book be covered by the First Amendment? Should marijuana be legalized? Should bullies be prosecuted? And what do you say to those poor women whose high-profile husbands misbehave? Miss Texas says: 'I'd tell the men to show some respect and the women to find someone who really loves them.' She nails it.

• It does Miss Texas no good however, as she is named third runner up; there are audible groans of shock and dismay. Miss Alabama goes next and we're down to two: Miss Tennessee and, yes, Miss California. The two women are holding hands and profess to be best friends. But only one can be Miss USA.

• It's Miss California! The ultra slender redhead in a teal gown with a futuristic, flying saucer ruffle on the side, barely chokes back her tears. It's over - in September, Miss California flies to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

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