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Here she is, Miss Indiana takes home the tiara

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Miss Indiana Katie Stam won a scholarship in the fitness and lifestyle competition on the first night of preliminary competition in the 2009 Miss America Pageant.
Miss America Organization

Katie R. Stam, has just been announced as the 83rd Miss America at the Planet Hollywood Theatre for the Performing Arts. Miss Georgia, Chasity Hardman, was first runner-up.

"I'm going to thank all these amazing girls behind me," a stammering Stam said when asked by host Mario Lopez what she would do first as Miss America.

A capacity crowd of more than 7,000 watched the event live. It will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Pacific time on TLC.

More from the show:

The questions for the Q&A segment were asked by purportedly randomly chosen people, and a young woman asked Miss New York, Leigh-Taylor Smith, "During the presidential campaign, the media made a big deal about Sarah Palin being a Miss America contestant. Do you think that was fair?" Wrong! Palin, as Miss Wasilla, was a Miss Alaska contestant and didn't advance to The Show ...

Strange moment: A Venetian gondolier asked Miss Georgia, Hardman, about the federal government's economic bailout package. ...

One of the more curious facets of the contest is that all 12 finalists are summoned to the stage for the talent competition, but only the final 10 finalists perform. That means, of course, two contestants are all dressed up with nowhere to go. That would have been particularly inconvenient for Miss Hawaii, Fox, who wore a lavish, white-feathered costume for her native Polynesian dance number. This was when Lopez got off his best line, eyeing the ensemble and saying, simply, "Aloha." ...

Seating for the event was often confused, as fans who got up to hit the concession stand or, if you will, loo, found their spots taken by some strange seat-filler holding a "Miss California Jackie Geist" sign, and yes this happened to me ... Speaking of signs, there were dozens ringing the theater, but they were fairly unimaginative this year, as most were in the "We (heart) Miss New Jersey!" vein. My favorite is still the sign from the 2006 show, a nod to the show's then-cable outlet CMT. It read: "CMT - Chasing My Tiara!" ...

Spotted chatting up Planet Hollywood chief Robert Earl was Carrot Top (real name: Scott Thompson), who looks like he's prepping to compete in a contest of his own, Mr. Olympia. ...

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