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Miss Hawaii fails to make final 15

By Star-Advertiser staff and the Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 9:06 a.m. HST, Jan 15, 2012

Two days after wowing judges in the talent competition, Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape was eliminated from contention for the title of Miss America.

Cheape, who won her division in the talent competition on Thursday with a jump rope routine set to the theme song for “Hawaii Five-0,” was not among the 15 semifinalists named on the final night of competition at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler was crowned the new Miss America by a panel of seven judges during a live telecast on ABC Saturday. The 23-year-old beauty queen from Wisconsin won the Miss America pageant Saturday in Las Vegas after singing opera and strutting in a white bikini and black beaded evening gown.

Kaeppeler wins a $50,000 scholarship and gets the title for one year. Her platform during the competition was supporting and mentoring children of incarcerated parents.

Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson came in second, while Miss New York Kaitlyn Monte placed third.

The 2012 Miss America pageant started Saturday night with 53 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  compete in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions before a panel of seven judges determine a winner.

As the new Miss America, Kaeppeler will spend the next year touring the country to speak to different groups and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, the Miss America Organization’s official charity.

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

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