A week from today, 15-year-old Henderson student and pop singer Ellie Smith will represent Nevada in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Florida. Ellie arrives in Orlando on Saturday for events, preparations and rehearsals with the 53 talented, bright and beautiful girls ages 13 to 17 for the competition at Chapin Theater in the Convention Center.
Here are Ellie’s official Miss America photos and a first look at the official photo of “big sister” Randi Sundquist, a UNLV who will represent Nevada in January’s Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood.
Ellie will be judged on scholastic achievement, creative accomplishments, healthy living and community involvement, plus a personal interview, evening wear, lifestyle fitness in active wear and that dreaded onstage question! Ellie will take part in the talent segment performing a classical vocal while promoting anti-bullying as her platform issue. She should do well, having racked up success with her YouTube video and record.
Ellie will visit Orlando’s Planet Hollywood on Sunday, Medieval Times on Monday and take part in the Evening of Stars extravaganza. All of us at Vegas DeLuxe wish her much success in competing for the national title.
LIBERACE SHOW FOR LONDON: Today’s sad news of Marvin Hamlisch’s death is a setback for the HBO movie about Las Vegas legend Liberace. Marvin was composing the film score for the project based on former chauffeur and lover Scott Thorson’s book “Behind the Candelabra” with Michael Douglas, Matt Damon and Debbie Reynolds starring.
New York producers of the Liberace life-story musical have blasted the HBO pic as “appalling, degrading, demeaning, salacious and crude” (even though the film has not wrapped). They say that their musical is solely about the greatest showman’s world appearances and that the first full-scale presentation will be performed in a concert version in London in October.
My condolences to Marvin’s family and friends. He and I often appeared together on TV back in my Big Apple days. He truly was a great gentleman and a talented musical genius.
ROCK AWARDS SHOW ON LIVE TV: TV host and DJ Ryan Seacrest has teamed with regular Las Vegas visitor and mogul Mark Cuban on the changeover of the former HD TVNet to the new AXS channel, and one of its first live specials will be Aug. 26 at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel for the third annual Vegas Rocks! Magazine Awards. It’s the eighth-anniversary celebration for publisher Sally Steele, who’ll host the show honoring Sammy Hagar, David Coverdale (Whitesnake), Michael Schenker (The Scorpions) and Geoff Tate (Queensryche). Here’s Sammy’s personal invitation via video.
Scheduled presenters and performers including Vinnie Paul (Pantera) , Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno, Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie and porn king Ron Jeremy. I’ve heard that spectacular rock dance numbers will be performed by the ICandy troupe from their new Planet Hollywood show and the temptresses from Vince Neil’s Girls, Girls, Girls adult playground.
SPACE MYSTERIES & UFOs: With all the interest this week on space mission Curiosity’s landing on Mars, organizers of a three-day conference starting Oct. 5 at the Tropicana are expecting an onslaught of delegates. My UFO pal Lee Spiegel from AOL/Huffington Post will be one of the speakers joining a lineup of scientists and professors organized by respected UFOlogy expert Alejandro Rojas.
Lee tells me that the conference will reveal the latest fascinating work going on with the search for life in the cosmos and how it relates to UFOs. Alejandro is hoping to raise funds via the Kickstarter Project website to record the conference and make it available on DVD. Two Las Vegas experts, retired Army Col. Dr. John Alexander and 19-time Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist George Knapp, are among the 11 speakers.
QUICK NOTES: Bravo to Flamingo headliner comedian George Wallace and the Hard Rock Cafes of Las Vegas in raising $10,000 for the Operation Smile campaign helping change the lives of children born with facial deformities. And wild and wacky magician Amazing Johnathan moves to Bally’s in a few weeks and shares a new showroom with “Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding.”
Newly released from prison boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. was spotted with rapper pal 50 Cent at Planet Hollywood. Former welterweight champion Frank Trigg watched the UFC fights at Republic Bar and Kitchen in Henderson and regaled fellow diners with his own fight exploits. “CSI: New York” star Gary Sinise and wife Moira Harris attended Terry Fator’s ventriloquism show at the Mirage while here to speak and perform at the Disabled American Veterans. And reality TV star and Vegas DeLuxe fashion correspondent Laura Croft was at the Luxor for the Temptations pool party with J.Son of NakedBoyNews.com and Chippendales dancers Jaymes Vaughan and Jon Howes.
Comedian Jeff Garcia headlines at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday. Sommeliers from four winemakers and chef Mario Batali’s business partner Joe Bastianich host a one-hour wine tasting every Tuesday this month at the Palazzo’s waterfall and atrium gardens. KISS by Monster Mini Golf launches its eight-week run of rock trivia contests with Oz Fox, lead guitarist from Stryper, in the hot seat for the debut of “Are You Smarter Than a Rock Star?” The finale is Sept. 25.
The impact of Robin Gibb’s recent death was felt by the Australian Bee Gees tribute band at the Excalibur, and for the first time actor-singer David Scott, who portrays Robin in the show, talks about how the death has affected all of them. Plus, Rao’s owner Frank Pellegrino Jr. celebrates the success of his new summer grilling book and shares culinary tips.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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