Laura Kaeppeler, the 23-year-old beauty from Wisconsin, has been crowned Miss America 2012.

The pageant, which was held in Las Vegas, saw the winner wowing the judges singing opera and strutting in a white bikini and black beaded evening gown, The Associated Press reported.

Asked if beauty queens should declare their politics, Kaeppeler said: "Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well. And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all."

Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson became the runner-up while Miss New York Kaitlyn Monte came third.

Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan crowned the winner, who will hold the title for one year and bags a cash prize of $50,000.

Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler competes in the swimsuit portion of the 2012 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.Reuters
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler is crowned by Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan after being named Miss America 2012 in Las Vegas.Reuters
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler is crowned by Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan after being named Miss America 2012 in Las Vegas.Reuters
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler competes in the swimsuit portion of the 2012 Miss America Pageant in the Theater For The Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood Resort Casino in Las Vegas.Reuters
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler reacts after being named Miss America 2012 in Las Vegas.Reuters
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler waves after being crowned Miss America 2012 during the 2012 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.Reuters