Miss America is getting ready to transfer her crown again to one of 53 pageant queens looking to prove they've got a winning combination of looks, talent and smarts to justify a yearlong run with the title.

A panel of seven judges was set to pick the next Miss America on Saturday night during a live telecast on ABC, the culmination of a week of preliminary competitions and months of preparations for the titleholders from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Teresa Scanlan, a Nebraskan who won Miss America last year at age 17 to become the pageant's youngest winner ever, said contestants nerves will likely be at their highest point just before the pageant.

But the young women have already given judges a first impression, she said, and largely shaped their fate through three nights of preliminary competitions at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. "You can always breathe a sigh of relief" once the live pageant begins, Scanlan said.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)