Donald Trump reveals Baton Rouge will host Miss USA competition

by Scott Stump /  / Updated 

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The Miss USA competition is headed to the bayou this year. 

Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, announced Thursday that this year's contest will be held in Baton Rouge, La., on June 8. The contest will air on NBC from 8-11 p.m. ET. 

"[It's] just a place that really wanted us,'' Trump said on TODAY Thursday. "We had about 12 places that were fighting for the rights, and we just decided that's sort of the home of pageantry, it's sort of the home of the whole beauty thing. They're terrific people, and they're going to put on a great show. Usually we go to Las Vegas. We never fail in Las Vegas. It's great, but we thought we'd move it." 

Baton Rouge hosted a Miss Teen USA competition in 2005, but the pageant couldn't return in 2006 due to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, "when the population doubled overnight due to people in damaged areas seeking safety and shelter,” Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart said in the release. “The sense of community that Baton Rouge has is incredibly inspiring and the hospitality shown to us while we were there was second to none. I am looking forward to bringing an event back to Baton Rouge to experience the charm of the Capital City.” 

The competition will feature contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, who will be judged in the categories of swimsuit, evening gown and interview. 

"It is an honor to host the Miss USA pageant in Louisiana," Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said in a statement. "It is an incredible opportunity for Baton Rouge to shine on a national stage and I expect the delegates will enjoy our unique culture and joie de vivre." 

Last year's champion was Miss Connecticut, Erin Brady, who appeared alongside Trump on TODAY Thursday to discuss her future plans with her reign set to end in just over two months. 

"I'd love to get involved in the entertainment business,'' Brady said. "I do have a finance background, so I'm hoping to kind of embrace the best of both worlds and take that a step further." 

Marissa Powell, Miss Utah, also made headlines last year for an incoherent answer during the interview portion. She later appeared on TODAY for a second chance at the question. 

Fifty-one hopefuls were whittled down to one winner after the swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.

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