Miss Utah gets a second chance to answer 'confusing' question

In the wake of a Q&A flub at Sunday’s Miss USA pageant that went viral, Miss Utah got a shot at redemption on TODAY Tuesday.

Marissa Powell, 21, earned some unwanted attention after a puzzling response to a question about women continuing to earn less than men.

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“I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now,’’ she replied at the pageant. “That’s the biggest problem and I think, especially the men are, um, seen as the leaders of this and so we need to try to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

When Matt Lauer asked the question, Powell fared better.

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“This is not OK,’’ she said. “It needs to be equal pay for equal work. It’s hard enough already to earn a living, and it shouldn’t be harder just because you’re a woman.”

Powell, who was the pageant's third runner-up, said anxiety got the better of her on Sunday night.

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

“I was so excited, and I was so nervous, and I got up to this top-five question,’’ she said. “I was the first one. I got up, and the question was a little bit confusing to me, and I just started speaking without really processing.’’

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The winner of the Miss USA contest, Miss Connecticut Erin Brady, 25, who was standing right behind Powell, told TODAY she understands the nerve-wracking pressure.

“You’re nervous for her because you know that in a matter of seconds, that can be you,’’ Brady said. “You’re going to have a similar question. You are in front of millions of people.”