LAS VEGAS (AP) – A new Miss USA will be crowned Sunday night after a series of controversies last year with the beauty pageant organization, including a falling out with former owner Donald Trump and the mistaken crowning of Miss Universe.
The 2016 Miss USA competition is being held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip with 52 contestants this year.
In addition to the local winners in the contests of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the beauty pageant this year also named a "Miss 52 USA." Alexandra Miller, a 26-year-old from Oklahoma City, got the most fan votes among a group of finalists chosen by the organization.
The Fox network will carry the broadcast at 7 p.m. EDT. The winner will go on to represent the country in the Miss Universe contest.
A year ago, Trump, the brash billionaire and presumed Republican candidate for president set off an ugly break up with The Miss Universe Organization, then co-owned by Trump and NBCUniversal. The real-estate developer offended Hispanics last June when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House.
NBC, which had aired the pageant since 2003, quickly cut business ties with Trump and refused to carry the 2015 show it had already scheduled. Spanish-language network Univision also pulled out of the broadcast for what would have been the first of five years airing the pageants. Last year's show aired instead on cable's Reelz network.
Trump then sued both Univision and NBC.
He settled with NBC in September and bought the network's stake in the pageants. The talent management company WME/IMG then acquired The Miss Universe Organization.
Trump's $500 million lawsuit against Univision claimed his First Amendment rights were violated, as well as claiming a breach of contract. That dispute was eventually settled, too.
Then, during the Miss Universe pageant in December, host Steve Harvey mistakenly named the Colombia contestant the winner before correcting himself on the stage. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was then given the crown that Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo had already been wearing.
Officials later said it was due to human error, however humiliating. The talk show host said he had re-read the card and noticed it said "first runner-up" next to the Colombia contestant's name before clarifying with producers his mistake.
That Miss Universe contest was also held in Vegas, at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino.