BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Contestants are preparing to take the stage in the Miss USA pageant, putting behind weeks of controversy generated by Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants.

Nick Teplitz, left, and Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez co-host the preliminary round of the Miss USA Pageant in Baton Rouge, La., (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The pageant co-owned by Trump takes place Sunday night in Baton Rouge for the second year in a row.

Trump's comments bashing Mexican immigrants during his presidential campaign announcement sparked a backlash against the business tycoon.

Broadcasters, judges and performers pulled out of the pageant.

Reelz television stepped in to air the contest, and a slew of former winners from Miss USA and Miss Universe are standing in as judges.

Contestants are judged in three categories: evening gown, swimsuit and a personality interview.

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