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Photos: Miss World 2010

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  1. And the winner is...

    Beauty queens from around the globe competed at the 60th annual Miss World pageant, held on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Sanya, China. Miss United States, Alexandria Mills, beat out 114 contenders to take the crown, shedding tears as she waves to the crowd.

    Mills, who hails from Kentucky, said that the other contestants nicknamed her "KFC" for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is "Ironic", she said, "because I’m a vegetarian." (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Winners embrace

    Alexandria Mills, Miss United States, is congratulated by 2009 Miss World Kaiane Aldorino from Gibraltar, who is wearing a white Galiano gown. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Crowning moment

    Former Miss World, Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, crowns winner Miss United States Alexandria Mills. "I believe that this past month has made such and impact on my life, I can only imagine what the next year will bring … I want to help everyone that I possible can," Mills said in her 30-second spotlight speech before being chosen as Miss World. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Celebrate good times

    The top three -- runner-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus, left, Miss United States Alexandria Mills, and Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini, who placed third, celebrate at the end of the 60th Miss World pageant. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Moment of truth

    Miss United States Alexandria Mills, right, Miss Ireland Emma Waldron, center and Miss China Tang Xiao, left, hold hands while waiting for the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Miss World pageant contest. (Alexander F. Yuan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hi-five

    The top five contestants wait to find out who will win. From left, Miss Venezuela, Miss Botswana, Miss United States, MIss Ireland and Miss China. On her home turf, Miss China Tang Xiao made the crowd go wild when she was announced as a finalist. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pop of color

    Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini struts in her bright, flowing gown. She placed third in the competition. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Kind words

    Miss Botswana Emma Wareus smiles next to Miss United States as she is announced as the runner-up during the Miss World 2010 finals. Before the winner was crowned, Wareus' roommate was asked to describe her. "She is just what you think, beautiful inside and out," she said. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Beach babe

    Miss Puerto Rico Yara Santiago won the title of Beach Beauty before the finals, fast-tracking her to the top 25, but she didn't place in the top seven. (Alexander F. Yuan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Anxiously waiting

    Miss Finland Anne Nurminen, second row on the right, and other contestants wait eagerly to find out the who placed in the top 20. Nurminen did not place. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Preparing for success

    Miss Italy Giada Pezzaioli smiles in a beautiful, glittery white gown. Pezzaioli, 17, is a high school student and says she was learning Mandarin in preparation for the competition. She made it to the top seven. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Big ambitions

    Miss Netherlands Desiree Berg shows off her radiant look at the Miss World finals. Berg, 23, a student at University of Amsterdam medical school, speaks four languages and says she wants to start a fertility clinic. She was chosen for the top 25, but did not advance further. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Pretty in pink

    Strutting her stuff in a pink gown, Miss Bolivia Maria Cordova, 24, describes herself as "a sensitive person and a dreamer with great conviction." (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Black beauty

    Miss Greece Diamanto Gasteratou steals the show with a black studded ball gown. She didn't place in the competition. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Three times a lady

    Miss Mexico Anabel Sosa stands between Miss Mauritius Dalysha Soorga, left, and Miss Moldova Daria Zaiteva, right. None of them placed in the final rounds for Miss World. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Feathered frock

    Decked out in a bright red feathery number, Miss Poland Agata Szewiola, 21, dazzles the crowd. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Colors of the world

    Contestants show off their colorful gowns at the Miss World pageant. Many of them also performed dances from their native countries, wearing traditional grab, during the "Dances of the World" segment. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Beat it

    The Li dancers start off the show, performing with drums and sticks. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Cultural pride

    The dancers and drummers are Li, and ethnic minority group in China who live mainly on the southern Hainan island. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: China Miss World
    Diego Azubel / EPA
    Above: Slideshow (19) Miss World 2010: Beauties take the stage
  2. Image: China Miss World
    Diego Azubel / EPA
    Slideshow (19) Miss World 2010: Beauties take the stage
updated 11/1/2010 3:05:49 PM ET 2010-11-01T19:05:49

The newest Miss World is from the United States.

Alexandria Mills, a soft-spoken 18-year-old, was named the winner in Saturday night's contest in southern China. The tall blonde was a relative surprise winner after speculation focused on other contestants.

According to London's Daily Mail, reports are surfacing that Chinese officials pressured judges into giving lower scores to competitor and early favorite, Norway's Mariann Birkedal. The article suggests that tensions between China and Norway, resulting from a controversial Nobel Peace Prize choice, led to the decision.

Officials were upset that the Oslo-based Nobel Prize committee honored Liu Xiabobo, a democracy campaigner jailed in China, the Daily Mail reports.

Birkedal made it to the top seven, but was cut before the top five.

Second place went to Emma Wareus of Botswana, and Adriana Vasini of Venezuela came third.

The host country's own contestant, Tang Xiao, also was among the final five.

According to a brief biography on the Miss World website, Mills calls Louisville, Ky., her hometown, and she recently graduated from high school. She would like to become a teacher.

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"I've never met a stranger and enjoy meeting new people," she says in the bio.

For the final, she was wearing a shimmering ivory-colored dress slit up the leg.

Mills takes over the title from Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, who was named Miss World 2009 at a ceremony in South Africa last December.

Story: Gibraltar beauty queen crowned Miss World

Women from more than 100 countries participated in the contest, organizers said.

This is the 60th year of the Miss World Competition, and organizers brought back contestants from past decades to give the night a retrospective theme.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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