The Miss America pageant airs tomorrow night on TLC, and four of the finalists will be selected by viewers after tonight’s conclusion of Countdown to the Crown, which airs at 10 p.m. ET. That’s the reality series that “follows 52 state title holders as they live together on the Queen Mary luxury ocean liner and face a series of team and individual competitions to help them prepare for the pageant,” as TLC says on its web site. (The whole series repeats Saturday starting at 9 a.m.)
Miss America President Art McMaster said that they’re dealing with objections from pageant purists by arguing that nothing has changed except the addition of additional contestants. “With pageant people, we just explained to them that rather than having a top 10, we’re going to have a top 15. It’s a win-win for both sides,” he told the AP.