The pageant was hosted by Bob Goen for the third and final year, with color commentary by Shari Belafonte and entertainment from The Monkees. This was the only year that the pageant was held in Las Cruces, although Albuquerque had previously played host to the 1987 Miss USA pageant.
Pennsylvania recorded their highest placement in the pageant up to that time.
Michigan placed for the first time. Prior to the pageant, it was one of only three states that had never made the semi-finals. Of the remaining two, Nebraska did not place until 2004, and Montana recorded their first placement in 2006 when Katie Blair won the Miss Teen USA title.
This was Maryland's first placement since 1992, North Dakota's first since 1991, and Arizona's first since 1990.
Texas also made the cut for the first time since 1991, ending four consecutive years without placement. This was the longest period without placement in the state's history, coming after it placed in eight of the nine years since the competition started.
For the first time ever, 6 out of 10 semifinalists were African-American.
Two contestants later competed in the Miss America pageant. Kelly Gaudet (Florida) later became Miss Florida 2001 and Marissa Perez (Connecticut) held the Miss Connecticut title the same year. Gaudet made the top ten in the pageant.
Two other contestants competed in the Miss USA pageant. Amanda Carraway (Kansas) became Miss Kansas USA 1999 and Sarah Cahill (Minnesota) was Miss Minnesota USA 2003. Since 1990, this year had the smallest number of delegates who went on to win a Miss USA state title.
Christie Lee Woods later competed on the fifth season of the Emmy award winning CBS reality show, The Amazing Race, with her boyfriend turned fiance Colin Guinn, and finished in second place. They were deemed by the show's host to be one of the most competitive couples to ever compete.
Patricia Campbell (PA), won one of the episodes of NBC's reality show Fear Factor