Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez was crowned Miss USA 2014 during the annual beauty pageant competition held in Baton Rogue, Louisiana on Sunday. The 24-year old fourth degree Tae Kwon Do black belter donned the Diamond Nexus tiara above her head on her official journey as the holder of the much coveted title. She was the first contestant from Nevada to ever win the crown.
Miss Dakota Audra Mari grabbed the first runner-up post while Miss Georgia Tiana Griggs got the second runner-up post. Miss Louisiana Brittany Guidry secured the third runner-up spot and Miss Florida Brittany Oldehoff garnered the fourth runner-up position. Miss Iowa Carlyn Bradarich got the fifth runner-up spot.
The annual competition featured 50 ladies from the different states of USA and the District of Colombia. Contestants competed against each other in three major categories namely evening gown, swimsuit, and interview. For the very first time, the annual competition covered a span of three hours. It was streamed live from NBC.
From the 50 contenders, the line-up was narrowed down to 20 in the preliminary rounds. It was further sliced down to top 10 after the second round. The top six contestants were chosen in the final round with the sixth finalist added from the tweets coming from people living in America.
Guiliana Rancic of "E! News" and Thoma Roberts of MSBNC's "Way Too Early" hosted the three-hour traditional competition. Musical guests during the competition included American pop duo Florida Georgia Lines, Nelly, and Home's Marc Broussard.
The judges during the event included American pop singer Lance Bass, American actor Randy Couture, Beverly Hills 90120 actor Ian Zeiring, Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce, NBC's Trainer in The Biggest Loser Dolvett Quince, Miss Universe 2006 Barbara Palacios, American actress Rumer Willis, American comedian Melissa Peterman, and retired NBA star Karl Malone.
The judges asked the top six finalists to answer one interview question and they were given 30 minutes to answer. Judge Rumer Willis shot the question to the crowned Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez. The judge queried: "Why has evidence of sexual assault on college campuses been swept under the carpet?" To which, Miss Sanchez replied: "More awareness of the issue is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves. You need to be confident and be able to defend yourself."
To watch the winning moments of the Miss USA 2014, see the photos in the slideshow.
To watch the full recap in in video, please click here.