A 23-year-old New Yorker has won the Miss America crown. Mallory Hagan won the beauty pageant held Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Hagan captured the pageant's top prize after tap dancing to James Brown's "Get Up Off of That Thing" in the contest's talent competition.
She also answered a question about whether armed guards should be placed in schools in the wake of last month's deadly shooing spree in Newtown, Connecticut.
Her reply was violence should not be fought with violence.
Hagan won a $50,000 college scholarship. She is expected to spend her title year-long reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, Miss America's official charity.
She finished ahead of Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who took second place, and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton, who finished third.
Hagan also came out ahead of several other notable competitors whose life stories grabbed headlines this year.
Miss District of Columbia Allyn Rose has decided to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer, the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and great aunt.
Miss Montana Alexis Wineman was the pageant's first autistic contestant.
Miss Iowa Mariah Cary has Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder whose symptoms include multiple involuntary motor and vocal tics.
Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden once wrestled pigs for scholarship money.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.