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2009 Miss America Pageant Puts the Spotlight on National Judges
by Tara Becker

Almost as American as apple pie is the Miss America Pageant. Most girls, when I was growing up, are glued to the television that night to bask in the glamour and anticipation of this special event.

The 2009 Miss America Pageant, which airs this Saturday, January 24, 2009 promises to be an exciting event with the announcement of the strikingly diverse panel of national judges. This yearapostrophes panel of seven esteemed judges includes a Broadway star; a renowned denim designer; a Miss America turned philanthropist; an Olympic gold medalist; a casting genius; a celebrated entertainment news reporter and anchor; and the hottest hairdresser in Hollywood. They will evaluate the contestants from the preliminaries through the final night of competition, which will be premiering live from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegasthis Saturday 8:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed, exclusively on TLC.

This yearapostrophes panel of judges is comprised of experts in each of the fields that a young woman must excel in, in order to be named Miss America. Miss America must be beautiful, talented, intelligent and well-spoken, a leader, have a commitment to her community, be contemporary in her style and fashion -- a relatable and individual apostropheit girlapostrophe who can connect with todayapostrophes modern woman, as well as being physically fit. To determine who will be Miss America 2009 the following panel of judges has been selected:

  • From the Field of Fashion -- PAIGE ADAMS-GELLER -- Adams-Geller is a former fit model turned denim designer who was once lauded as "the perfect body for jeans fitting" and the most-requested fit model by the top denim designers in the industry. She is now the owner of Paige Premium Denim, PPD for men, Paige Petites, Paige Maternity, Paige Kids and Paige Black Label.
  • From the Field of Entertainment -- LAURA BELL BUNDY -- Most notably known for her role as Elle in "Legally Blonde: The Musical," this triple threat has received nominations for a Tony and Drama Desk Award and has received a Drama League Honor. Bundy has several film and small screen credits and has released two albums.
  • From the Field of Community Service -- NICOLE JOHNSON -- Johnson is Miss America 1999 and has spent her time since her year of service educating and raising awareness and funds for Type I Diabetes. She has won several awards for her advocacy and has created her own foundation to continue her commitment towards this terrible disease.
  • From the Field of Fitness -- CULLEN JONES -- Jones is the second African American in history to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming and also helped his team win additional gold medals and set world records in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Jones is also involved with the USA Swimming Foundationapostrophes Make A Splash program, helping minorities learn how to swim.
  • From the Field of Talent -- BETH KLEIN -- A renowned casting genius, Klein is the Senior Vice President, Talent and Casting for Showtime networks. She currently oversees casting on all Showtime series including Weeds, The L Word, Dexter, and The Tudors.
  • From the Field of Communications/Interview -- JIM MORET -- Moret has covered entertainment news for over 20 years and is currently the chief correspondent for Inside Edition. He is a regular guest contributor both as a legal analyst and entertainment reporter for CNNapostrophes Headline News, Fox News Channel, Court TV, and MSNBC.
  • From the Field of Beauty -- KEN PAVES -- Dubbed by the media as one of the hottest hairdressers in Hollywood, Paves has remained one of the most sought after hairstylists in the world for the past 12 years. His work has appeared in all of the top industry magazines and his celebrity clientele include Jennifer Lopez, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Celine Dion, Kerry Washington, Marcia Cross, Eve and Jessica Alba.

So, if youapostrophere home (or you can always record for later) tune into the 2009 Miss America Pageant to see who will be representing your country.