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The Associated Press
This Jan. 12, 2012 photo provided by Miss America shows, Miss Hawaii, Lauren Cheape jumping rope and topped the contestants in the third round of the Miss America talent competition in Las Vegas, on Thur. Jan.12,2012. The finals are Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. (AP Photo Miss America)

LAS VEGAS — A group of 53 beauty queens has started its last run toward the Miss America crown with a pageant in Las Vegas.

The 2012 Miss America pageant started Saturday night with contestants introducing themselves from various iconic spots around Las Vegas, including the Hoover Dam, the Fremont Street Experience and the Bellagio fountains.

The women ages 18 to 25 will compete in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions before a panel of seven judges determine a winner.

The pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is the culmination of months of competitions, with more than 13,000 contestants entering at local and eventually state levels.

At the start of the show, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson was announced as a semifinalist selected by an online fan vote.