Miss USA 2017: Everything you need to know

Miss USA 2017 has a tough act to follow.

The Miss USA pageant, which returns this weekend, broke barriers last year by awarding the crown to U.S. Army Reserves captain Deshauna Barber. Not to be confused with its competitor, Miss America, Miss USA is a scholarship portion that also serves as the intermediate competition of the Miss Universe organization, with the winner moving onto the global Miss Universe pageant.

PHOTOS: Miss USA 2017 Preliminary Show 

Ahead of this year's competition, here's everything you need to know.

How to watch

Miss USA will air live from the Mandalay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on FOX on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will stream via the FOX Now app for participating TV providers.

The hosts and judges

This year's panel of judges includes author and trans activist Janet Mock, The Real TV host Jeannie Mai, businesswoman and Dress for Success founder Nancy Lublin, TV personality Carson Kressley, former Miss Universe Brook Lee and the Somali-American model Halima Aden, who made history as the first woman to compete in a Miss USA state pageant wearing a hijab.

PHOTOS: Miss USA 2017 Preliminary Show -- Rehearsal

Dancing With The Stars judge Julianne Hough and actor Terrence J return to the competition this year as co-hosts, with model/author Ashley Graham interviewing contestants as Miss USA's backstage host.

The show will also feature performances from Pitbull and Brett Eldredge.

Photos from last year:

The contestants 

51 women will compete in this year's Miss USA pageant, representing the 50 states and District of Columbia. The pool of contestants include lawyers, entrepreneurs, women's advocates and one newly-minted college grad: Miss Kentucky USA Madelynne Myers, who is skipping her Vanderbilt University graduation ceremony this weekend to compete for the Miss USA crown instead.

The swimsuit portion

Miss Teen USA, another pageant under the Miss Universe umbrella, made headlines by eliminating its swimsuit portion, with the contestants wearing athleisure instead. Miss USA host Julianne Hough told USA TODAY that while the swimsuit portion will still be featured in Sunday's competition, the Miss Universe organization is exploring other options.

"We’re still moving in that direction," she said. "I’ve seen on social media, there’s a huge following in the pageant world and a lot of people like the old-school tradition of swimsuits. We’re not trying to come in and change tradition, but I definitely think that we are trying to be forward-thinking."

The Q&A portion

The 2017 Miss USA pageant will debut a new Q&A format featuring user-submitted questions. In partnership with theSkimm, the competition is asking viewers to send their questions for the Miss USA finalists ahead of Sunday's show by submitting them online.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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