The Eagles have a new cheerleading squad.

Their identities, however, will be kept hush-hush for a few days.

Related stories

Last night, at the soldout Prince Music Theater, 60 young women, including 29 members of last year's team, competed to fill this year's 38 spots.

This morning, 13 newcomers and 25 returnees got the good news. They'll convene for the first time Thursday night - to sign their contracts.

But the official unveiling will happen Saturday afternoon during the Eagles' draft day party at Lincoln Financial Field.

About a month later, the squad will be off to Aruba to shoot the next Eco-Sexy Swimsuit Calendar.

This year, for the first time, fans can join the trip, staying in the same hotel, even taking part in beach volleyball and flag football games with cheerleaders. (For details, go to www.philadelphiaeagles.com, click "Cheerleaders," and look for the Aruba promo.)

Brett "Spike" Eskin, midday host for WYSP (94.1 FM) and yes, son of a certain sports talker, emceed last night's event, in which bikinied women individually strutted the stage; danced in groups of three, wearing mostly shorts and short tops; and then, sporting dresses, talked one by one about themselves before answering judges' questions.

Topics ranged from defining beauty to tackling social issues, from handling embarrassing moments to trading places with anyone for a day.

"Barack Obama," said Amy Mecca, the operating room nurse who was on the cover of last year's calendar.

She elaborated, of course.

The judging panel included former NFL greats Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk, as well as Eagles co-owner Christina Lurie, director of cheerleading Barbara Zaun, squad choreographer Suzy Zucker, and a variety of local notables, including 6ABC sportscaster Keith Russell.

Although the crowd last night didn't learn who made the squad, some prime candidates emerged.

Top vote-getters were announced in four categories, and all were on last year's squad: Alicia Lee for beauty (she also won last year), Jamie Steinberger for fitness (another repeat winner), Jennifer Kaiser for dance, and Amanda Bedford for the interview.

The crowd held up signs and cheered enthusiastically throughout the night.

Only once were boos heard - when Spike, while introducing Sanders, uttered an unfortunate phrase ...

The Dallas Cowboys.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.