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Strip Scribbles: Mandalay TV commercial shoot and two more major restaurant changes

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Photo courtesy VH1

VH1's "Model Employee"

Two of the supermodels vying for the $100,000 ‘Face of Mandalay Bay’ yearlong contract have now been booted from VH1’s "Model Employee" reality show. Tonight, another model — or maybe two in a surprise twist — get the pink slip and we will be left with just four or five finalists.

Here’s the sneak preview of tonight’s seventh episode:

Those remaining have to write, direct and star in their own commercials for Mandalay Bay and tempers fly as patience wanes when the models realize they are better off in front of the camera and not in charge behind it. Two of the models are on a real collision course with disaster in this “Lights Camera Action’ confrontation.

Publicity and advertising planning began this week at Mandalay Bay for the yearlong activities of the eventual winner and the timeline of her introduction here. The winning model will be a regular on MGM’s M-Life TV shows and M-Life magazine, in addition to the advertising campaign and personal appearances around the hotel.

To date, models Aspen Lea and Britany Tranckino have been fired.

Aspen obviously got spotted by Hollywood talent agents because she instantly landed her first CBS sitcom ‘Two Broke Girls’ and a slew of Nike MAC and Target ad spots.

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Rick Moonen and Tony Abou-Ganim

Celebrity chef Rick Moonen appeared in last week’s episode when his girlfriend, Ronnie, threw her bridal shower there and the models had to plan the food for her party with Mandalay’s executive chef Vincent Pilon. However, in a classic “ Who Can’t Stand the Heat in the Kitchen,” Britany had a kitchen meltdown with her ruined cupcakes and was sent packing.

"Model Employee" airs on the VH1 cable network at 11 p.m. tonight. We should know the eventual winner by mid-July.

RESTAURANT SHOCKERS: Two major restaurant changes are about to send shock waves along the Strip — yet another top television chef is headed to the south end to add to his ever-growing restaurant empire. One of the largest and longest-running family institutions will get its closing notice and be replaced by his fashionable, smarter operation out of New York, more in keeping with its new, hip neighbors. Another venerable legendary mid-Strip restaurant will take its leave, too, and one of our other resident celebrity chefs has been tapped to give it a whole new concept based partly on his success with a similar project at a sister property. I know the names but am sworn to secrecy until plans move further along, but you’ll read it here first once construction changes are approved and opening dates are set.

Made in Vegas: Local product Ne-Yo holds court at 1 Oak this Friday.

Made in Vegas: Local product Ne-Yo holds court at 1 Oak this Friday.

BUSY NE-YO: Our local music industry superstar Ne-Yo has his hands full as a singer and songwriter. He is also an A&R rep for Motown. In addition to his next R&B album, after the summer he’ll start recording singles from his new R.E.D, plus he created a new single and TV spot with Cher Lloyd for the line of Fruttare ice-cream bars. Take a listen by clicking here.

He’s also working on songs for Beyonce’s next album, Jay-Z’s July 4 release of "Magna Carta Holy Grail" and our Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion’s album being recorded at the Palms studio here. Ne-Yo and Celine have already recorded their version of Adele and Daniel Merriweather’s “Water & A Flame” for a fall release.

Afrojack Visits Boys & Girls Club

EDC INVASION: Every global deejay worth his salt has arrived in Vegas for the weeklong Electronic Dance Music events that crescendo with the three-day weekend Electric Daisy Carnival dusk-to-dawn parties out at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Our nightclubs are crowded with thousands of fans packing in to listen and dance to them. The EDC Biz conference began Tuesday, and famed DJ Afrojack kicked off Carnival Week in a unique and much appreciated way, teaching a DJ class at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. Tonight, the star DJs are Dada Life at Hakkasan, Nero and Morgan Page (celebrating his birthday) at Surrender in Encore and Dutch winner Nicky Romero poolside in Mandalay Bay’s new Eclipse nightclub.

FINAL MISS USA NOTES: Gorgeous Miss Connecticut Erin Brady, who won Sunday’s Miss USA pageant here, has postponed her planned Nov. 9 wedding. She’s not breaking up with fiancé Tony Capasso — but that’s the day she’ll be competing in Moscow for the Miss Universe crown as America’s contestant. Donald Trump’s rules also make it clear she has to remain single during her yearlong reign as Miss USA. … Turns out that Miss Utah's off-the-rail comments about education and equal pay for working women isn’t the only controversy to have surfaced from the Planet Hollywood pageant. Former Miss USA winners and rival Miss America winners have been outspoken about the contestants being “far too thin — model rail-thin” and that “ribcages were seen protruding from their skin.” One beauty queen in the audience commented, "Their bodies are shrinking. I was shocked how super-thin they are becoming.” Another winner in an online chat added, "If you had tested their BMI’s, that would have been the standard for modeling and fashion but not for a pageant — much too thin and well below normal weight standards.” … Reigning titleholder Olivia Culpo, who won both the Miss USA pageant last year and then Miss Universe, returned from Moscow for the weekend festivities. She told me: “Giving up my crown over there is going to be great. The venue is gorgeous and so unimaginable. It's going to be a wonderful pageant and hosted by a great family people need to know more about.” Olivia told me she will return to continue her acting studies at Boston University after she crowns the new winners. “Can you believe I won three contests in less than a year in a $210 rented dress? I’m wearing one now I couldn’t even dream of affording. I’ve had a lot of luck in Vegas, but now it's time for something extraordinary in Russia.”

CAST PARTY: Every Monday night for nine years in New York City at Birdland, performers from entertainment shows across Manhattan get together for an impromptu cast party that’s open to the public. Now, the tradition gets a Vegas version starting tonight at the Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz Room. The hilarious impromptu variety project by Liza Minnelli’s musical director Billy Stritch and Jim Caruso will repeat in October if successful tonight and then become a regular fixture on the Vegas entertainment scene. Headline stars Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton, Frankie Moreno, along with Mark Shunock and his cast members from Rock of Ages plus Jersey Boys, Vegas the Show and Priscilla Queen of the Desert will join the fun and perform.

It’s a night of showbiz superstars on stage alongside up-and-comers, and even the audience is invited to participate. Billy, who holds court at the piano, said: “It's the bash that would happen if somehow David Letterman and Ed Sullivan threw a hip house party around the nine-foot concert grand piano”.

"Catch Me If You Can" Opens at Smith Center

CRITICS CORNER: Con-man and king of check frauds Frank Abagnale’s real life-of-lies story has been turned into a thoroughly enjoyable “Catch Me If You Can” touring show at the Smith Center for eight performances this week — all based on Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2002 movie. Our Peepshow and Broadway Bares choreographer Jerry Mitchell, who will launch ‘Kinky Boots” at the Smith Center before its Broadway run, has created great dance numbers for the Jack O’Brien-directed musical. The amazing story of the fast-talking criminal who served seven years of a 15-year prison sentence for $2 million of bank lies and imposter careers, is faithfully retold with great music, songs, sets and an enthusiastic, hard-working cast. Abagnale becomes a loveable immoral character who eventually upon release from jail formed his own security company working with the FBI and Vegas casinos for 35 years to protect against the same crimes he got away with back in the '60s. He’s now one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents, and more than 14,000 financial institutions and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs.

TONIGHT'S TIPS: Frank Marino and his Divas cast from the Quad are featured on tonight’s episode of TLC’s hit cable show “Toddlers & Tiaras” as they emcee and judge a “mini-divas” Little Miss Nevada pageant. Frank will host a screening party at Something’s Brewing in advance of the 9 p.m. TLC broadcast … She & Him perform at the Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool … Incubus musician Ben Kenney performs solo at Vinyl in the Hard RockMo Thugs and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony rock the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay with Highdro and Jar R Beatbox.

TOMORROW’S TEASES: Part 2 of our Priscilla Queen of the Desert feature with lead actor Bryan West, who’s grandfather was our Fire Department Chief for 25 years, plus a preview of the re-opening of Atomic Liquors, the oldest bar in Vegas dating back to 1945, and the sexy women of our Las Vegas Sin football team get ready for their first home game of the season.

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