LAS VEGAS - Miss Hawaii Pilialoha Gaison and Miss Nebraska Molly McGrath were the winners Friday in the second night of preliminary competition for the 2007 Miss America Pageant. The televised finals and crowning of Miss America will be Monday at the Aladdin Resort & Casino.
Gaison, 23, of Kaneohe, won a $2,000 scholarship and the crowd's cheers with a high-energy Tahitian dance in the talent competition. She is a business management major at Hawaii Pacific University, and wants to be an entrepreneur in the resort industry.
McGrath, 23, is a graduate of New York University pursing her master's degree in economics at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Her walk across the stage in a pink ruffled bikini won her a $1,000 scholarship in the swimsuit contest.
In preliminaries, the 52 women seeking the crown compete on three consecutive nights, their cumulative scores determining who makes the top 10 on Monday. The preliminary scores account for 30 percent of their totals.
The shows also serve as a sort of dress rehearsal for the Monday pageant, which will be telecast by cable network Country Music Television starting at 8 p.m. EST.
Friday's preliminary winners joined Miss Texas Shilah Phillips and Miss Oklahoma Lauren Nelson, who won in talent and swimsuit Thursday.
The pageant's Monday night time slot is a break from tradition. CMT took the pageant off Saturday night in search of a bigger audience.