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Miss America

Miss America pageant gets underway in Atlantic City with preliminary competition

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Miss West Virginia, Miranda Harrison, speaks during the preliminary competition of the Miss America Pageant at Boardwalk Hall on Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. The preliminary competitions began Tuesday, which is back in Atlantic City after a six-year absence. (AP)

The 53 women competing for the Miss America crown perhaps know better than anyone that first impressions make a difference, and put a lot of practice into perfecting their appearance and poise.

Preliminary competition for the pageant began Tuesday in Atlantic City, where it was held for decades before moving to Las Vegas six years ago. In the preliminaries, each contestant is introducing herself and her home.

Pageant organizers earlier unveiled the state-themed footwear the contestants will wear in a Saturday parade. The contestants — one from each state and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and D.C. — will be scored in categories including talent and swimwear.

The new Miss America will be crowned during Sunday night's nationally televised broadcast.