Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 6 p.m.
The lineup of music superstars for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18 and airing on ABC is getting bigger and better.
On Wednesday, Billboard confirmed that Florida Georgia Line will be onstage joining Luke Bryan, plus our Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons, One Republic, John Legend and Jason Derulo.
With Lorde and Justin Timberlake leading the 2014 nominations, don’t be surprised to see them jet in for the three-hour broadcast.
Luke is a finalist in six categories, including Top Male Artist. Overall, Imagine Dragons are tied with Lorde with 12 nominations. In all, there are 35 category finalists all based on sales, airplay, touring and Internet streaming numbers.
Last year’s show with unexpected appearances by Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Ke$ha and Prince, drew the highest ratings in 12 years.
FINAL ROUND: It’s an extraordinary achievement for Avalon Landing, another Las Vegas band. They have made the final round of Hard Rock Rising after more than 10,000 bands entered worldwide, amassing nearly 500,000 votes. More than 700 bands competed in battles at more than 70 Hard Rock Cafes globally.
Rising is the world’s largest battle of the bands competition, and, now among the world’s top winners, Avalon Landing is one step closer to winning an all-expense paid trip to Rome for the first Hard Rock Live Italian music festival this summer. Avalon fans can vote them into the Top 25 by logging onto HardRock.com/LasVegas.
HELENE’S RUN: Long-distance runner and 53-year-old grandmother Helene Neville of Henderson began her 2,000-mile, 72-day run up the East Coast this morning from Florida to Maine. Our April 10 story about Helene detailed how she conquered cancer with three brain surgeries and how to date she’s run half of her challenge to complete 10,000 miles around the perimeter of the contiguous United States. It took her from Vancouver, B.C., to Tijuana and from California to Florida as she became the first runner ever to transect America north to south and west to east.
She vows to complete the run from the Sunshine State to the Granite State by mid-July and then tackle in 2015 the largest challenge of 3,400 miles from the Canada-Maine border to Washington State, making her the first runner ever in the world to achieve that record. Helene’s progress can be followed on her Twitter site @OneOnTheRun.
BEAUTY QUEENS: Dozens of pageant princesses ages 8 to 39 will compete in six categories of the Miss Nevada United States Pageant on Sunday at South Point. It’s not to be confused with Donald Trump’s Miss Nevada Pageant or the Miss America Pageant.
This one with Little Miss, Pre-Teen, Teen and the Miss categories is ranked third best in the nation’s pageant business for the past three decades. Gorgeous Jade Kelsall, who was Miss Nevada in 2012 and placed third runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant, is one of the stunning competitors.
‘PAWN STARS’ SLEUTH: On tonight’s episode of “Pawn Stars,” expert appraiser Brett Maly of the Art Encounter gallery in the Forum Shops of Caesars Palace Forum is called in by Rick Harrison to review a rare work reportedly by Claude Monet.
The episode is titled “Paint the Town Red,” and Brett has the difficult task of determining if it’s fake or real, if it’s worth pennies or millions. Brett has just released his debut book, “The Pocket Picker for Fine Art.”
THIRD JACKPOT: For the third time in a month, the Tropicana has paid out a big jackpot from its penny slot machines. Ms. L. Vincent (first name withheld for privacy) claimed a $794,297 jackpot with a spin on the “Let’s Make a Deal” penny slots. Earlier, there was a $278,000 payout from the Tropicana’s “Clue” penny slots and another $56,035 payout from the casino’s “Monte Carlo” slots.
Hot off the grill! The success of the new Mercadito Mexican restaurant and its sister Tippling Hall bar lounge at Red Rock Resort has prompted an expansion to sister property Green Valley Ranch. Chef partner Patricio Sandoval modeled the original New York, Miami and Chicago venues after the markets he shopped in while growing up in Mexico. It’s a shared, family-style menu in the restaurant, while Tippling embraces drinking rituals from across the globe as a temple to all things alcohol. Next up: Expansions to San Diego and Philadelphia this year.
Former Wynn chef Jeremy Pacheco has returned from his Arizona farm roots to Society Cafe in Steve Wynn’s Encore as its new executive chef. Jeremy was raised on his family’s farm in Arizona before working here at SW Steakhouse and then Encore. He reclaimed his roots in Paradise Valley at Hermosa Inn but now has returned with ingredients from his half-acre garden.
“Charlotte’s Web” actress Dakota Fanning was just a 20-year-old dreamy-eyed fan when she met Britney Spears backstage after watching “Britney: Piece of Me” at Planet Hollywood.
Rio magician headliners Penn & Teller posed with a Madame Tussauds wax figure of Andy Warhol while visiting the new Polaroid Fotobar and Museum at the Linq. The amazing look-alike figure is on loan for the run of Andy’s exhibition “Capturing Celebrity” on view at the museum. In the 1980s, Andy took photographs of Penn & Teller and appeared in their film “Invisible Thread.” Andy, who I knew on the Manhattan party scene, was never without his Polaroid camera and used the big-studio Polaroid for cover shots for Interview.
“True Blood” heartthrob actor Ryan Kwanten watched Jabbawockeez’s “Prism” at Luxor. Ryan tweeted his enjoyment of the show and met the dancers post-show.
Theresa Caputo (“Long Island Medium”) dined at Michael and Jenna Morton’s La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway in the Wynn. Two friends, her husband she enjoyed an early dinner of warm salt-roasted beets, shrimp ceviche, jumbo lump crab lettuce cups, bacon-wrapped dates, beef filet flatbread and mini sliders.
Four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming makes her public operatic debut at the Smith Center performing “Guilty Pleasures.” The pitch-perfect soprano performed the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl in New Jersey.
Lady Tina Green opens Lalique at Crystals in CityCenter.
“Disney on Ice” celebrates 100 years of magic with 65 skating performers at the Thomas & Mack Center through Sunday.
Primus headlines Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq.
Wishbone Ash is at Hard Rock Live! on the Strip.
Comedian Andrew Dice Clay resumes his residency at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
“Fantasy” at the Luxor kicks off Military Appreciation Month for service members from Nevada, California and Arizona military bases with discounted tickets.
American Indian supermodel Ashley Sky host the kick off of “Cheers & Chopsticks” nights at Andrea’s and Encore Beach Club at Night parties with DJ Martin Solveig. Swimwear is encouraged for EBC.
Angelo Cianfrocco and Adam Murra headline Bonkerz Comedy Club at Rampart.
It’s a Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing weekend, and the Strip is filled with stars and after-fight parties. Plus the Las Vegas edition of Broadway Bares as our hometown entertainers shed their clothes with saucy songs for the annual AIDS fundraiser.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.