Miss Alabama Mary Margaret McCord almost won the top title at Sunday's Miss USA 2013 pageant.
She modeled a swimsuit and evening wear, advanced to the final six contestants and answered an interview question about government tracking of phone records.
In the final moments of the pageant, she and Miss Connecticut Erin Brady were the last contestants standing.
Brady got the crown. McCord, a University of Alabama graduate student from Gadsden, was first runner-up.
Never miss a local story.
Some things that may dominate post-show conversations: There were no blondes among the final six contestants. There was only one blonde in the top 10.
Also, Miss Utah's final interview answer wasn't exactly the most coherent thing in the world.
Was it a total disaster? Watch the video here and decide for yourself.
Back to the winner: Miss USA winner Erin Brady "is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in finance and a minor in criminal justice," according to her bio on the Miss USA website.
It adds, "Erin was raised in a home heavily influenced by alcohol and substance abuse and she sadly remembers the lack of support and places to turn to for the children of addicts...It is her goal to help break the cycle of addiction as she plans to be an advocate for children of alcohol and substance abuse."
In the final interview round, Brady was asked if criminal suspects should be subjected to a DNA test after arrest. She said yes.
Katherine Webb, who hails from the Columbus-Phenix City area, was in the audience at the pageant.
She competed as Miss Alabama in last year's Miss USA pageant and reached the top 10. Since then, she's made national headlines after watching her boyfriend, starting quarterback AJ McCarron, play for the University of Alabama in the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship. During the game, ESPN’s camera turned to Webb and sportscaster Brent Musburger gave some remarks admiring her beauty.
Here's a full recap of Sunday's pageant, which took place in Las Vegas and was hosted by Giuliana Rancic and Nick Jonas.
Remember, this pageant is different from Miss America. The Miss USA pageant advances its winner to the Miss Universe pageant. Donald Trump and NBC own the Miss Universe Organization.
Awkward line from Giuliana: "We've got a great show for dads and the whole family."
Top 15: Miss Texas, Miss Ohio, Miss Louisiana, Miss South Carolina, Miss Pennsylvania, Miss Alabama, Miss Massachusetts, Miss California, Miss North Carolina, Miss West Virgina, Miss Maryland, Miss Illinois, Miss Nevada, Miss Connecticut and Miss Utah.
Fun fact: There's only three blondes in the top 15. Let me know if I counted incorrectly.
Time to meet the judges. Um, yeah...NeNe Leakes is on the panel. But more importantly, I think Katherine Webb and AJ McCarron are sitting in the front row!
The Top 15 contestants model swimsuits and the Jonas Brothers perform.
Miss Congeniality is Miss Oregon and Miss Photogenic is Miss Utah.
Top 10: Miss Connecticut, Miss South Carolina, Miss Ohio, Miss Texas, Miss Illinois, Miss Nevada, Miss Louisiana, Miss Utah, Miss Alabama and Miss North Carolina.
For what it's worth, there's only one blonde in the top 10: Miss Nevada.
Exciting news: YOU have the opportunity to advance a contestant into the final round via Twitter. To vote for Miss Alabama, tweet #nextmissusaAL. The other contestants' hashtags follow the same pattern.
In a pre-taped segment, Miss Alabama says she was born with a hole in her heart and now she has a unique heartbeat.
The Top 10 contestants model evening wear.
Top 5: Miss Utah, Miss Alabama, Miss Illinois, Miss South Carolina and Miss Connecticut.
But wait...one more contestant will advance based on viewers' tweets. Miss Texas wins that honor. So we're down to six finalists. No blondes, by the way. Interesting.
In a non-judged interview, Miss Alabama says she's really organized. Um, OK.
Now, for the dreaded interview questions. Here are the questions, as well as excerpts from the contestants' responses. Note: I was typing quickly, so please forgive me if I missed a word.
Miss Utah: Study results suggest many women are primary family breadwinners, but men still out-earn women in the workplace. What does this say about society?"I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs...We need to try to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem." (She had a fairly noticeable pause during her answer.)
Miss Alabama: Government tracking of phone records -- invasion of privacy or necessary measure?"I would rather someone track my phone messages and feel safe wherever I go than feel like they're encroaching on my privacy."
Miss Illinois: Some people say lowering the drinking age would help reduce binge drinking among young people. Could lowering the drinking age make more people drink responsibly?"I think if you're going to drink irresponsibly, you're going to do so whether you're 18, 19, 20 or 21." You still have a responsibility to encourage responsible drinking.
Miss South Carolina: Should people who leak classified documents as public information be tried for treason? "I don't believe that they should be charged with treason...If we feel the need to have to show those documents, then I feel like we should have to show them."
Miss Connecticut: Should criminal suspects be subjected to a DNA test after arrest? "I would agree with this...if that's one step closer to finding out who has (committed a crime), then I think we should do it."
Miss Texas: Amid a religious group's protests, a recent pageant banned its bikini competition. Should religious groups have that kind of influence?"I think we live in a country where we have freedoms...They have the right to stand up and vote against whatever they feel is not necessary."
WOW. That was intense. Thankfully, DJ Pauly D is in the house to spin some mad beats while we get one last look at the finalists.
Fifth runner-up: Miss South Carolina
Fourth runner-up: Miss Texas
Third runner-up: Miss Utah
Second runner-up: Miss Illinois
First runner-up: Miss Alabama
WINNER: Miss Connecticut