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January 26, 2010

ULM’s Katherine Putnam shines as 2010 Miss America preliminaries begin

A panel of Miss America Pageant judges began their first round of preliminaries on Monday, Jan. 25, putting University of Louisiana at Monroe senior and Miss Louisiana 2009 Katherine Putnam through a series of questions for her Interview Preliminary in Las Vegas.
The talented and beautiful 23-year-old reported that the process was conversational and filled with Miss America-related questions.  
“I was able to talk about my values and the judges really seemed to listen!” said Putnam, in an E-mail Tuesday morning. “Lots of smiles, I felt like I really connected with them.”
Putnam shared that the session flew by as it focused on her platform, the Miracle of Music. She also had to delve into what she would do to shine a new light on the position, should she bring home the 2010 Miss America crown.
“I talked about the importance of having a vision and a cause as a leader,” said Putnam. “And I expressed the importance of making a difference in the life of one person to reach the many.”

Inevitably, there were also questions about the upcoming Super Bowl Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts, as well as highly charged political questions. Putnam said she held her own.
“They did maybe two scripted questions, which were about how I would be a role model and what one piece of advice would be for kids today,” said Putnam. “That was the first question, so we were off to a great start.”

This year’s panel of judges include actress and producer Vivica A. Fox; operatic vocalist and philanthropist Katie Harmon; Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson; Grammy nominee Dave Koz; conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh; and singer/songwriter Brooke White.
On Tuesday morning, Heather and Byron Putnam looked on with pride as they watched their oldest daughter perform during rehearsals for the Talent Preliminary, which will be judged Tuesday night.
“It’s almost surrealistic. It has been such an awesome experience and our phone has been ringing constantly with folks back home wanting updates,” said Heather Putnam. “We are just so grateful for the support of our pageant family and the ULM campus family. It’s been an incredible journey.”
Before this week’s grueling 16-hour workdays, Putnam enjoyed one final evening of relaxation with her fellow contestants. Forty-seven of the pageant queens participated in high speed thrills at Pole Position Raceway as they raced around the indoor track at speeds as fast as 35 mph.
Television personality Robin Leach blogged that at one point he broke up a mock fight between Putnam and Miss Indiana Nicole Pollard, about which team will win — the New Orleans Saints or the Indianapolis Colts — Super Bowl 44. The new Miss America will make one of her first-week appearances as hostess of the Taste of the NFL in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., according to Leach.
Leach also reports that he has exclusively learned that a major change is in place for this year’s pageant. All 53 contestants are to vote whom they think should be in the final 12.
Clinton Kelly, co-host of TLC's hit series What Not to Wear, hosts the one-hour special Miss America: Behind the Curtain, airing at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29, on TLC. He will take viewers behind the scenes of the iconic pageant, sharing exclusive insight about the 53 contestants and never-before-seen footage from the preliminary competition that lead into the live event.

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