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Graceland To Host Miss USA & Miss Teen USA 2020 In November


 Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst gets crowned by last year's winner Sarah Rose Summers after winning the 2019 Miss USA final competition in the Grand Theatre in the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on May 2, 2019.

Cheslie Kryst of North Carolina was crowned Miss USA 2019 last May 2.

The Miss USA competition will be held Nov. 9 at Graceland.

Organized to be "an innovative event that prioritizes the health and safety of the contestants, audience, and crew," the nationally televised pageant and related events will take place in the Exhibition Center and the Soundstage at Graceland, two concert-and-event spaces located at the Elvis Presley's Memphis complex across the street from the Presley mansion.

The Miss USA event will be preceded on Nov. 7 by its younger sibling pageant, the Miss Teen USA competition, for young women ages 14-19. This will mark a return visit to Memphis for Miss Teen USA: The second pageant in the competition's history was held at the old Memphis Cook Convention Center on April 3, 1984.

The contestants will arrive in Memphis days before the competition, where they and their entourages will be ensconced at The Guest House at Graceland hotel.

Prior to the pageants, they'll take part in various travelogue segments that promote the host city, filmed at such locations as the National Civil Rights Museum and Elvis Presley's Memphis, where they may pause in front of Elvis' prophetically titled 11th feature film: "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

"You're going to see Instagramable moments from Memphis, Instagramable moments from Graceland," Weinshanker said. "You can think about seeing them in the mansion, seeing them at the Civil Rights Museum..." He said some contestants would travel to Memphis "weeks" in advance, to shoot promotional segments.

The productions surely will show Memphis in its best light, but the competitions are not the ratings powerhouses they were in years past: Miss USA will be televised live at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 on FYI, a cable network that focuses on "lifestyle programming." Miss Teen USA will not be televised but will be streamed live at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 via the Miss Universe Organization social-media accounts. Both pageants will take place in the Soundstage, where seating will be limited to about 25% of the venue's 2,000 capacity.

Weinshanker said protocols for the pageant will be similar to those instituted for staging basketball games in the so-called "NBA bubble," the isolation zone at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, that was created to keep players safe during games. Although it would make for some novel swimsuit and evening gown photos, the contestants will not wear masks during the competitions, he said, just as players don't wear masks during games.

“The Miss Universe Organization and the team at Graceland have created an innovative event that prioritizes the health and safety of the contestants, audience, and crew who will join us in Graceland,” said Paula M. Shugart, president of The Miss Universe Organization, in a statement.

“We look forward to crowning a new Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in the historic city of Memphis. While this year’s competitions will look a little different as we adhere to crucial safety guidelines, we are excited to bring the thrill and excitement of the iconic Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions to homes across America.”

Added Weinshanker, in a statement: “Working with the Miss Universe Organization, a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals, is extremely important today. We very much look forward to being part of the broadcast and events.”

Created along with the Miss Universe pageant in 1952 as a glitzier, sexier rival to the then 31-year-old Miss America competition, Miss USA in recent years has probably been mentioned in the news most frequently due to its association with Donald Trump, who owned the Miss Universe Organization from 1996 to 2015. 

The Miss USA pageant was on CBS and NBC until 2015, and often topped the Nielsen ratings in the 1980s. Last year's pageant was on Fox. 

The Miss Teen USA pageant started on CBS but has been a "streaming" event since 2008. Both 2019 pageants were held in Reno, Nevada.

The winner of Miss USA will move to New York City, "to represent the brand and various philanthropic organizations during her reign," according to a Graceland press release, while Miss Teen USA will carry out her duties from her home state.

Source: CommercialAppeal.com, Aug. 31, 2020

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