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LIVE COVERAGE of the first night of Miss America Preliminaries

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After a week of rehearsal, production and fabulous field trips including dinners in Atlantic City and a night out at Steel Pier, the 51 contestants of the Miss America competition are now focused on the competition as the first night of preliminaries began Wednesday.

Follow reporter Lauren Carroll and photographer Erin Grugan from the first night of preliminaries in our live blog below. Click here if you can't see the live blog.

Between rehearsals and the panel interview, several contestants took a moment during their lunch breaks to talk to The Press. Miss Iowa Chelsea Dubczak sighed at the pace of the last week saying,“it’s all flying by.”

While most would think lifestyle and fitness would be the most nerve-wracking part of competing, Dubczak was excited to get to take the stage in her swimsuit Wednesday night.

“This is my lifestyle — I haven’t changed my workout, my diet, this is how I am,” said Dubczak, who is a Crossfit enthusiast.

Miss Massachusetts Jillian Zucco said she couldn’t believe she had “just interviewed for the job of Miss America, my dream job.”