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Cranston's Olivia Culpo Wins Miss USA Competition

Cranston's own Olivia Culpo has been crowned Miss USA.

Miss Rhode Island is going to have to get used to another name:

Miss USA.

Olivia Culpo, a 19-year-old Cranston native, is an honor student at Boston University, accomplished cellist and is now one of the country's top beauty queens after she was named Miss USA tonight.

She impressed the judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas by giving thoughtful responses to questions, displaying poise in her evening gown and of course, flaunting her good looks.

She is now in the running for Miss Universe.

The judging panel for the 2012 MISS USA® Competition included: Cat Cora, Chef, Philanthropist, Author and Co-Host of Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates; Ali Fedotowsky, Host of NBC TV's "First Look" and Former Bachelorette; Arsenio Hall, Late Night Legend and Celebrity Apprentice Winner; Marilu Henner, New York Time Best-Selling Author, Actress, and Producer; Joe Jonas, Actor and Grammy Nominated Musician; Rob Kardashian, TV Personality and Entrepreneur; George Kotsiopoulos, Co-Host of E! "Fashion Police;" and Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008.

During the telecast, Akon performed “America’s Most Wanted” from his upcoming album, “Stadium,” during the “Final Look” portion of the pageant featuring the Top Five Finalists, and Cobra Starship performed a special medley that included both “#1Nite” and “You Make Me Feel” during the swimsuit competition.

Throughout the two-hour event, the contestants competed in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011, crowned her successor at the conclusion of the telecast, before an estimated worldwide viewing audience of more than 250 million.

For the second year in a row, fans voted online for their favorite contestant up until the evening before the telecast. The contestant with the most votes automatically reached the semifinals (Top 16). 

From earlier: 

Tweets from viewers are being displayed on the TV screen. You can tweet your support for Culpo using the hashtag #MissUSA. Olivia's Twitter handle is @RealMissRIUSA.

For a brief bio, check out our . It includes numerous photos of Culpo in her evening gown, swimsuit and enjoying some of the festivities surrounding the Miss USA competition in Las Vegas, Nv.

This year, viewers will be able to interact with the show for the first time. A viewer question will be asked to one of the top five finalists. If you want your question to be asked, tweet to hashtag #AskMissUSA.

In the interview portion, Culpo was asked why music programs are so important in schools.

"I have a few reasons," she said. "Cognitive processes — it's proven to improve mathematics skills and reading skills. It's a great thing if you're trying to work towards a goal."

Culpo noted that she has been played the cello for 13 years.

"Band camp was my summer every summer," she said. You "learn about reaching your goals and pursuing all your dreams."

Later, Culpo was the lucky contestant to get the Twitter question and it was a tough one. 

A viewer asked if she felt it would be fair for a transgendered woman to win the Miss USA title over a natural born woman.

"I do think it would be fair," she said. "But I understand that people would be apprehensive to take that road. There is a tradition of natural born women," but there are "so many surgeries" and people who need to change "for a happier life and I do accept that. We are a free country."

Here are the final results:

First Runner Up:

Miss Maryland USA, Nana Meriwether, will assume the duties of Miss USA 2012 if the titleholder is named Miss Universe 2012 or if for some reason Miss USA cannot fulfill her duties.

Second Runner Up: Miss Ohio USA, Audrey Bolte

Rest of Top Five: 

Miss Georgia USA, Jasmyn “Jazz” Wilkins
Miss Nevada USA, Jade Kelsall

Rest of Top Ten:
Miss Alabama USA, Katherine Webb
Miss Oklahoma USA, Lauren Lundeen
Miss Texas USA, Brittany Booker
Miss Colorado USA, Marybel Gonzalez
Miss New Jersey USA, Michelle Leonardo

Rest of Top Sixteen:
Miss Tennessee USA, Jessica Hibler
Miss Michigan USA, Kristin Danyal
Miss Louisiana USA, Erin Edmiston
Miss Maine USA, Rani Williamson
Miss South Carolina USA, Erika Powell
Miss Arkansas USA, Kelsey Dow [Winner of the Fan Vote] 

MISS PHOTOGENIC USATM Award: Miss Oregon USA, Alaina Bergsma. A blue ribbon panel selected the delegate who exemplifies beauty through the lens of a camera. She was awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

MISS CONGENIALITY USATM Award: Miss Iowa USA, Rebecca Hodge. The award reflects the respect and admiration of the contestant’s peers, who voted for her as the most congenial, charismatic and inspirational participant. She was awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

The MISS USA® 2012 prize package includes: a custom diamond tiara and jewelry designed by Diamond Nexus Labs; a one year scholarship (including housing) from the New York Film Academy; a year’s worth of hair care products and tools from Farouk Systems; an assortment of high fashion bracelets made in Rwanda by women of the Same Sky Trade Initiative; an eveningwear wardrobe by Sherri Hill; a swimwear wardrobe by Kooey Australia; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry; a year’s supply of make-up from Rain Cosmetics; a year’s worth of sun care products from Australian Gold; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a year-long salary as Miss USA; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness and hair services from John Barrett Salon; modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographer Fadil Berisha; dermatology and skincare services provided by Dr. Cheryl Thellman-Karcher; professional health and nutrition consultation by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD and dental services by Dr. Jan Linhart, D.D.S.; casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel opportunities representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various New York City events including movie premiers and screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; year long consultation with Miss Universe Organization’s Official Fashion Consultant, Alisha Crutchfield and access to a personal appearance wardrobe; professional media/public relations training and representation by Rubenstein

Public Relations in New York City and the opportunity to represent the USA at the 2012 Miss Universe pageant. 

Sandy Quadros Bowles June 04, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Congratulations to my fellow BU girl!
LISA perry June 04, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Congratulations to miss Rhode island
Paul Culpo June 04, 2012 at 03:34 AM
That's my Niece!!!!! So proud of her.
Sandy Quadros Bowles June 04, 2012 at 03:40 AM
She's obviously beautiful but if she's attending BU, she's obviously bright as well. Hope she has a wonderful year! You are right to be proud!
Golden June 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Congrats to her on becoming the first Rhode Islander to capture this title! She represented RI well. Good luck going forward in all you do!
Mike Bottaro June 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM
What an accomplishment! Congratulations!
Sharon Girard June 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Congratulations Miss RI and also being the First Miss RI to become Miss USA! That is truly a wonderful accomplishment! Wishing you the Best of Luck and a very exciting year and future!
Michael D. Murphy Sr. June 04, 2012 at 03:16 PM
From a fellow Cranstonian, Congratulations Olivia!!!!!
susiranjer June 04, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Miss USA 2012 Winner is Olivia Culpo, Final Moment Video here http://su.pr/1mXlbU
susiranjer June 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Watch Miss USA 2012 Final Crowning Moment Full Video Here http://tinyurl.com/Miss-USA-2012-Video
Janice Ruggieri June 04, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Very proud....! I think the last time a Rhode Islander won, was 2nd or 1st runner up in '61 or '62!!

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