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Spoiler Alert: The 51st Miss USA Contestant Is Not From Puerto Rico

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Nov. 10 2020, Updated 12:25 p.m. ET

It's almost time for 2019's Miss USA to be crowned, and we're honestly here for it, even though some of the details of the pageant might be a bit confusing for those of us who didn't grow up aspiring to be beauty queens.

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Like, what is the difference between Miss USA and Miss America? And why are there 51 contestants when there are only 50 states? Plus, is it really all that to win the competition? How much do the winners make? Keep reading for the answer to those questions and more.

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So, why are 51 contestants competing for the title when there are only 50 states?

We're glad you asked because this one confused us too. At first, we imagined Puerto Rico might be the odd one out, but it turns out that is not the case because Puerto Rico has its own dedicated beauty pageant: Miss Puerto Rico.

As it were, the 51st spot is reserved for the District of Columbia, because yes, the country's capital finally gets its moment to shine in this two-hour event which will be taking place at Reno Tahoe, right between Lake Tahoe and Vegas. 

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Who won Miss USA 2018? And what's the difference between Miss USA and Miss America?

This one had been plaguing us ever since we covered back in the fall. While the competitions are largely similar, the biggest difference is what happens to the winner once she wins the crown.

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In the case of Miss America, her competition circuit ends when she is crowned and she has to take on the job of being the face of the Miss America Organization for the following year. Therefore, she has to "positively [advance] the goals and objectives of MAO as well as her own Social Impact Initiative."

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In the case of the Miss USA winner, who we'll get to see later this week, securing the crown is just the first step in a much longer journey. Once Miss USA wins the crown, she has to go on to represent the United States of America in the Miss Universe pageant, which will take place in South Korea later this year.

This year's Miss USA will be crowned by 2018's Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers of Nebraska. Sarah was previously crowned Miss Nebraska Teen USA in 2012, then went on to become the first woman from Nebraska ever to win Miss USA. She placed in the Top 20 at Miss Universe, a competition that Phillippines' Catriona Gray went on to win. 

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How much does Miss USA make?

We're starting to understand how cutthroat this competition is behind the scenes because winners don't just take home the title, sash, crown and flowers that you see them walk away with at the end of the night. In fact, they get a whole year of privileges, perks and even free rent.

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But it's not just free rent in their home state. No, these ladies get to live it up at a luxury apartment in New York City, all expenses paid. Additionally, they also get a year-long salary and living expenses, plus, paid travel. One former Miss USA shared her experience of winning and it sounded pretty enviable. However, she didn't give details of exactly how much her salary was.

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When does Miss USA air?

Plus, if Miss USA makes it all the way to Miss Universe, her lifestyle becomes even cushier. Miss Universe gets to take home a year's supply of hair products and styling tools, a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry, free cosmetics, free personal training and free hair appointments from John Barrett Salon. Plus, she gets personal healthy, nutrition, dermatology and dental services.

Plus, she gets personal healthy, nutrition, dermatology and dental services. Wow, sign us up. If you think you've got what it takes to become the next Miss USA, apply for next year's competition here.

For the moment, don't miss the chance to see who gets to wear the Miss USA crown when Vanessa and Nick Lachey host the two-hour event. Tune into FOX this Thursday, May 2 at 8 p.m. EST. 

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