ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- The 53 hopefuls vying for the crown of Miss America have been narrowed down to 15.
Miss Kansas Theresa Vail, the tattooed Army sergeant, was voted into the semi-finals by a nationwide "America's Choice" vote.
States whose contestants advanced to the semi-finals are: California, New York, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Florida, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The pageant had pitted 53 contestants -- one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.
The winner will be crowned at Boardwalk Hall around 11 p.m.