Miss America pageant whittles to 15 semifinalists - Emirates24|7

Miss America pageant whittles to 15 semifinalists

The Phantom of the Opera cast members Anthony Crivello, Kristi Holden and Andrew Ragone join the 2012 Miss America Pageant contestants onstage after a performance of "Phantom of the Opera" at the Venetian. (AP)

Judges and fans of the Miss America pageant have picked the 15 semifinalists who are still in the running for the 2012 title.

The semifinalists are: Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce, Miss Florida Kristina Janolo, Miss New York Kaitlin Monte, Miss Iowa Jessica Pray, Miss Texas Kendall Morris, Miss Virginia Elizabeth Crot, Miss Illinois Hannah Smith, Miss Arizona Jennifer Sedler, Miss Alabama Courtney Porter, Miss Tennessee Erin Hatley, Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, Miss North Carolina Hailey Best, Miss California Noelle Freeman and Miss Louisiana Hope Anderson.

The semifinalists rushed backstage to change into bikinis, preparing to strut onstage at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

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

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