We'll keep up with Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan of Decatur all week at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.
The finals of the Miss America Pageant will air live on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Anna Laura and the rest of the contestants get a day free of competition today before the finals on Saturday.
The Top 15 will be announced at the beginning of the 8 p.m. live show. The judging panel's preliminary round scores determine the finalists.
Since Monday, the 53 contestants competed in five categories. The preliminary categories and how much they count toward the total score are: lifestyle and fitness, 15%; evening wear, 20%; talent, 35%; private interview, 25%; on-stage question, 5%.
Miss North Dakota and Miss Washington picked up prizes Thursday, the third day of preliminary Miss America competition in Las Vegas.
Miss North Dakota Rosie Sauvageau of Fargo took top honors after her piano and vocal rendition of "To Make You Feel My Love."
Miss Washington Mandy Schendel, 22, of Newcastle took the trophy for the third round of the Lifestyle and Fitness category after modeling a strapless white Catalina swimsuit. Anna Laura also competed in the lifestyle category on Thursday.
Contestants are divided into three groups and compete in different categories during three nights of preliminaries. Their scores factor in the finals that will be broadcast live on Saturday.
The Miss America Organization named Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan the Quality of Life Award winner.
She won for her service platform “PAWS for Autism: People and Animals Working Side-by-side." The veterinarian's daughter explained during her preliminary on-stage interview competition Wednesday night the role service dogs play in the life of a person with autism.
Bryan was one of seven finalists for the award, which recognizes community service and a contestant's commitment to her platform.
From Wendy Ellis, mother of Brayden Ellis, today: "Anna Laura spoke so beautifully about her platform during her on-stage question last night.
"The judges asked her why having the service dogs in schools outweigh all the people who say they shouldn't be allowed. She talked about what a difference Puah (Brayden's service dog) has made in Brayden's life. Brayden went from having several meltdowns a day to two the entire year after we got Puah. Anna Laura also talked about how Puah is used to calm down the other kids.
"People around me were saying that they didn't know about autism service dogs before the question, but after Anna Laura's answer, they understood it completely.
"For Anna Laura to be recognized for her platform and to win the Quality of Life Award is huge. This, above anything else, speaks to her character. This morning, Anna Laura spoke about getting the bill to allow service dogs in schools passed. She said no matter what happens on Saturday night, my platform will continue."
More about the Quality of Life Award: Second place went to Miss Maryland Joanna Guy. Her platform is “Heart to Heart: Raising Awareness for Healthy Hearts.”
Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson finished third. Her platform is “Feed Hope: Fight Child Hunger.”
Anna Laura is the fifth Miss Alabama to win the award since its creation in 1988. Other recipients were Kim Wimmer in 1993, Alison McCreary in 1997, Catherine Crosby in 2004 and Deidre Downs in 2005.
Also noteworthy: Tonight, Anna Laura will compete in the lifestyle and fitness preliminary, which accounts for 15 percent of the score.
Anna Laura Bryan's parents and brother arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday and were in the audience for Tuesday night's preliminary talent competition.
From mom Kathy Bryan on Wednesday: "Anna Laura brought the house down last night and looked unbelievable!
"However, a tap dancer won talent, Miss Oklahoma. Miss Oklahoma had been in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most turns on tap shoes. It was a good performance.
"People from other states were coming up congratulating the Miss Alabama Delegation on Anna Laura's performance. She was incredible. We were told she had to have scored a lot of points. Also I was reminded these are star judges and they are looking to put a show together for Saturday.
"Say a prayer that she will be in the top 15 so we will get to see her more on Saturday."
Notes for Wednesday: Anna Laura will compete in the on-stage question preliminary. The on-stage question counts for 5 percent of the preliminary score.
As one of the seven finalists for the Miss America Quality of Life Award, Anna Laura Bryan will interview with a separate panel of judges for that award.
The award recognizes outstanding community service and commitment to a contestant's platform. Bryan's platform is “PAWS for Autism: People and Animals Working Side-by-side." The award winner will be announced Thursday.
The 53 contestants are split into three competition groups. On Monday, Bryan participated in the private interview and on Tuesday she competed in talent.
Judges named Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton as Tuesday night's preliminary talent winner for her tap performance to "Money Can't Buy Me Love." Bryan was recognized with a Duke of Edinburgh's silver award, based on community service, physical fitness and personal interest development.
Along with Bryan, two other contestants received the silver award, one received the gold award and 12 received the bronze award.
Preliminary competition for Miss America kicks-off tonight. Anna Laura Bryan will perform “Sempre Libera” for the talent preliminary, which accounts for 35 percent of the total score.
Bryan's delivery of the classical aria earned her the overall talent award at Miss Alabama the past two years.
From Kathy Bryan: “I talked with Anna Laura for a long time last night. She is having the time of her life! Her big interview is today at 5:24 p.m. She feels calm and prepared and ready to do it! She has asked everyone to say a special prayer for her at that time. Thirty-five contestants will interview today and she is the very last one.”
The private interview accounts from 25 percent of the preliminary score.
From Anna Laura on Facebook: “Today’s the big day!!!! I have the biggest interview of my life today — applying for the job of Miss America, something only 86 Miss Alabama’s have done before me. No pressure right? Haha! I feel good today. I’m pretty sure I got around 8 hours of sleep last night, been taking my vitamins, drinking TONS of water, and constantly thanking God for allowing me to be here. My official interview time is 5:24, the last interview of the day. Please pray for me! My desire for the day is that they see my heart, stay true to myself and that everything I say is pleasing to Him.”
For more updates, follow Catherine Godbey's Twitter feed.
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