Nevada, Georgia or Oklahoma were thought to be on their way to win their first Miss USA title, however, in the end, it was Rhode Island who shone, beat the odds, and walked away with the coveted crown for the first time in history.
Olivia Culpo, 20, 1.66 m-tall, Miss USA 2012, received the crown from the hands of Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011.
Nana Meriweather, Miss Maryland, was the 1st runner-up, Miss Ohio, Audrey Bolte, was the 2nd runner-up, Nevadas Jade Kelsall was the 3rd runner-up, and Georgias Jasmine Wilkins finished as 4th runner-up.
The candidates from Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and New Jersey, reached the top 10′. The quarter-finalists (top 16) were Misses Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Maine, South Carolina and Arkansas.
The Miss USA 2012 pageant kicked off live at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The two-hour show featured musical performances from Akon and Cobra Starship, along with comments by special correspondents Jeannie Mai from How Do I Look? and Kelly Osbourne. Cobra Starship performed their number as the beautiful girls walked up and down the stage in swimwear.
Akon performed his latest single as the top five ladies paraded the stage in evening gowns.
The judges were Marilu Henner, Arsenio Hall, Ali Fedotowsky, Rob Kardashian, Dayana Mendoza, Joe Jonas, Cat Cora, and George Kotsiopoulos.
Special awards winners were Miss Iowa, Rebecca Hodge (Miss Congeniality) and Miss Oregon, Alaina Bergsman (Miss Photogenic).
The winner was asked about transgenders competing in pageants, if they deserve to win the crown as much as natural born women. Miss Rhode Island responded: I accept that because I believe it is a free country.
It is the first time the public was able to send in questions via Twitter to the contestants.
Culpo will represent the USA in Miss Universe 2012, in December.