Miss North Carolina USA Kristen Dalton was crowned Miss USA 2009 on Sunday, beating out 50 other beauty queens in the live pageant televised from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The 22-year-old aspiring motivational speaker edged out first runner-up Miss California USA Carrie Prejean and second runner-up Miss Arizona USA Alicia-Monique Blanco.
Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in the pageant, aired live on NBC. Contestants were judged by their performance in swimsuit and evening gown modeling contests and their responses to a question asked onstage; unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA contestants do not perform a talent.
The top 15 contestants worked the stage in white string bikinis designed by pop star Jessica Simpson's swimwear line. Rocker Kevin Rudolf performed his song "Let it Rock," followed by The Veronicas, who performed their single "Untouched" as the top 10 beauties showed off their choice of glittering evening gowns.