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Posted at 02:05 PM ET, 06/14/2012

Fox News: Another Miss USA contestant says she heard Top 5 finalists before Top 15 were announced [UPDATED with statements from Miss Universe Pageant and Ernst Young]

Miss USA Pageant (Darren Decker - AP)
Fox News reports another Miss USA contestant says she, too, heard Miss Florida reveal most of the list of Top 5 finalists backstage before the list of Top 15 finalists was announced. But the firm that tabulates the judges’ votes and verifies the results during the live broadcast says that’s not possible.

“I saw [Miss] Florida backstage and she was very, very flustered and upset. I thought it might be because she didn’t make the top 15 cut, but at that point, she was able to reveal to me at least four of the five names who went on to be the top girls,” the contestant said in an interview, according to Fox News. The competitor, who is not named in the report, said that Miss Florida “couldn’t remember the fifth, because she was so upset.”

Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, claimed last week that one of the other competitors told her she’d seen the lists of the Top 5 finalists before NBC’s Sunday broadcast of the beauty pageant even started; she claims the women who were named did turn out, in fact, to be the Top 5 finalists.

Pageant organizers said that the other competitor in question is Miss Florida, Karina Brez, who has denied the accusations, saying that she made a “throwaway comment, in the stress of the pageant” that was “never meant as fact.”

The Miss Universe Pageant — of which the Miss USA Pageant is a part, and which is co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC — has also denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, Ernst & Young — the firm that for years has independently tabulated the judges’ votes and verified the results during the live Miss USA and Miss Universe broadcast — said Thursday, in a long-ish statement, that no one could have seen beforehand a list of the Top 5 finalists.

“Throughout the Miss USA 2012 live broadcast, the eight celebrity judges individually submitted their votes which we independently tabulated,” the company said in a statement.

“Ernst & Young tabulated the list of the top ten Miss USA finalists after the swimsuit competition was completed and then tabulated the list of the final five Miss USA finalists after the evening gown competition was completed. No one could have seen either list beforehand, because they did not exist until they were tabulated by us.”

By  |  02:05 PM ET, 06/14/2012

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