ATLANTIC CITY — The stage in Boardwalk Hall will officially open for spectators and candidates Wednesday as the 51 hopefuls get closer to competing for the “Miss America 2.0” crown.

The Miss America Organization is pushing forward with the competition, the mission and re-branding of Miss America after months of uncertainty following months of controversy. That includes the ousting of past leadership in December, controversy with the elimination of the swimsuit segment, and calls for the resignations of top two MAO leaders, Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and President/CEO Regina Hopper.

The 2019 Miss America Competition preliminary competitions will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week at Boardwalk Hall. They lead up to the final night, which will be broadcast live from 9 to 11 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

Carlson, speaking publicly at the arrival ceremony for the candidates on Thursday afternoon, reiterated the new mission statement: “To prepare great women for the world and to prepare the world for great women.”

“There she is, Miss Neurosurgeon, Miss Social Activist, Miss Jet Pilot, Miss Investigative Journalist, Miss Expert Coder, Miss CEO, Miss-whatever she wants to be,” Carlson said, citing the organization’s vision statement. “There she is, Miss America. No wonder she has a crown — she rules.”