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Miss Alabama Crowned Miss America

September 19, 2004

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Miss Alabama Deidre Downs, an aspiring doctor who put off medical school to compete for the Miss America crown, won it Saturday night.

Downs, 24, of Birmingham, Ala., outsmarted and outperformed 51 other women in a spiced-up version of the 83-year-old pageant that included a head-to-head showdown between the last two contestants left.

Downs, who sang ``I’m Afraid This Must Be Love″ for her talent routine, bested Miss Louisiana Jennifer Dupont, who performed a jazz dance for hers.

Miss North Carolina Kristin Elrod was second runner-up, followed by Miss Arkansas Lacy Fleming and Miss California Veena Goel.

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