ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - The 53 hopefuls vying for the crown of Miss America have been narrowed down to 15.
Miss Tennessee Shelby Thompson, whose mother graduated from Central High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, did not make the final 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.