A lingerie photo shoot is going to be a part of this year's Miss USA pageant.
Critics say the publicity photos ahead of the pageant in Las Vegas this Sunday are a tawdry attempt to publicize the event. Organizers say they are making the show, which previously frowned on overt sexuality, more modern.
"All the contestants really pushed their envelope," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said on MSNBC television. "We've always been the cutting-edge pageant."
The pictures on the website www.missuniverse.com show contestants, such as Miss South Dakota, Emily Anne Miller, in fishnet stockings, garter belts and often not much else beyond a lot of make-up.
The more traditional headshots, swimsuit photo and ball gown follow.
Penny Nance, at Concerned Women for America, said the project smacked of "tawdriness."
"It's certainly a concern for American moms," she said.
Previous contestants have run afoul of the pageant's blurry policies on what is acceptable. Although contestants strut on stage in tiny bikinis, they have been expected to project a wholesome image.
Last year, the blonde Miss California, Carrie Prejean, got into trouble when topless fashion pictures of her emerged on the Internet.