There She Is, Miss America: 17-Year-Old Miss Nebraska Takes Crown

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Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska waves to the audience after being crowned Miss America 2011

Julie Jacobson / AP

She’s too young for a drink and can’t even cast a vote, but she’s this year’s idol of women across the country.

Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan is the youngest to be crowned Miss America since a 15-year-old won in the pageant’s inception in 1921. She beat out 52 other competitors, including beauties from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to win the coveted title.

(More on TIME.com: Miss America Then and Now.)

Scanlan wowed the judges with her talent, “White Water Chopsticks” on the piano, and beat out the other beauties in the usual swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.

The pageant may be getting up there in years, celebrating its 90th anniversary last night, but its creators continue to innovate. Last night’s program featured two finalists chosen Idol-style, through texting and online votes from the American public. The beauties themselves also had the opportunity to vote in two of their favorites, choosing Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent and Miss Oregon Stephenie Steers.

(More on TIME.com: See the top 10 fashion statements of 2010.)

But in the end, it was Scanlan who got the most votes. She plans to pursue a career as a politician, and pending her high school graduation later this year, she will head out of her home state to attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia. Scanlan will also travel around the country to empower young women everywhere. But NewsFeed is sure she’s most excited about the new bling atop her head.

See more from our friends at PEOPLE.

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