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Miss California Alyssa Campanella was crowned Miss USA Sunday night on the 60th anniversary of the pageant. Campanella, a redheaded 21-year-old model originally from New Jersey, told judges she's a bookworm and history buff "obsessed with the Tudor and Stuart era."
"I can't believe I won!!! A big thank you to all my supporters...I couldn't have done it without you all!!" Campanella tweeted about 20 minutes after the pageant ended.
Bravo's Andy Cohen and E! News' Giuliana Rancic co-hosted the live event, which is jointly owned by Donald Trump and NBC. Trump did not appear.
When the competition was down to Campanella and her "best friend" Miss Tennessee Ashley Elizabeth Durham, the pair turned away from the judges and held both of each other's hands. And when Miss California heard her name announced, she did exactly what we want our pageant winners to do: cry and partially cover her face with shaking hands.
Miss Alabama Madeline Grace Mitchell came in second runner-up and Miss Texas Ana Christina Rodriguez was third runner-up.
Twitter users thought Campanella's answer to a question about the legalization of marijuana had blown her chance at the crown. The site exploded with #missUSA tags after Campanella answered the hardest questions of the night: whether she supported the legalization of marijuana and what impact she thought it had on the drug wars.
Campanella said she supported the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
"I think medical marijuana is very important, you know, medically," she said. She said she was not sure about the impact of legalization on the drug wars.
"Miss California lost vote cuz of the marijuana question," one tweeter typed after her answer aired.
The other three remaining contestants fielded questions about whether burning religious books should be protected speech (Miss Tennessee said no), whether bullies should be prosecuted if their targets kill themselves (Miss Alabama said yes) and how publicly wronged wives should respond ("Stay positive and find someone who really, truly loves you," Miss Texas said).
Miss USA, which is separate from rival pageant Miss America, has courted controversy in recent years for asking contestants questions about political and social issues. In the 2009 pageant, Miss California Carrie Prejean told pageant judge and gay gossip blogger Perez Hilton she believed in "opposite marriage," not same-sex marriage.
In an act of "American Idol"-style democracy, this year's pageant allowed viewers to vote online for one contestant to make it to the semi-finals. Fans chose Miss New Mexico Brittany Toll, a 24-year-old Teach for America teacher from Las Cruces, N.M.
The eclectic panel of judges included rapper and producer Lil Jon (?!), actress Mariel Hemingway, "Real Housewives of New Jersey" personality Caroline Manzo and Penn and Teller magician Penn Jillette.
For the swimsuit competition, the contestants pranced onstage in Kandy Wrappers bikinis (the night was chock-full of product placement) to a loop of the Ke$ha song "Blow." Campanella strutted in a blue bikini with white polka dots. For the evening dress portion of the contest, she wore a beaded dark green gown.
Miss USA travels the country to advocate for breast and ovarian cancer education, awareness and legislation, according to the pageant's website.