Monday, June 13, 2011 | 3:55 a.m.
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
- Check out VegasDeLuxe.com for more celebrity and arts and entertainment coverage.
Rehearsals began Saturday for this Sunday’s 60th anniversary 2011 Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood and airing on NBC, and we’ll post the first shots today right here at Vegas DeLuxe. Meantime, the 51 contestants spent their last few hours at play before this week’s intense and relentless judges’ questioning, the preliminary pageant Wednesday and grueling rehearsals for the telecast itself.
Miss USA officials confirmed Saturday that legendary and veteran broadcaster Dick Clark’s production company will be the executive producer of the pageant and also the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant from Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sept. 12. The new 2011 Miss USA crowned next Sunday will compete in that pageant for the joint title.
Barry Adelman, who has received eight Emmy nominations for producing and writing shows including So You Think You Can Dance, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve With Ryan Seacrest, the American Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, will mastermind the broadcast. Dick himself hosted the Miss USA Pageant from 1988 to 1993.
“Viewers will see a brand new way of experiencing the pageant like never before,” Miss Universe President Paula Shugart said. ”With it being our 60th anniversary, it’s the right time to adjust our format to better engage with our fans and create an emotional connection with our contestants. No one does a better job implementing new technologies for TV than Barry.”
The pageant will be the first to use the new IPOWW application, which will be unveiled this week for viewers to interact in real time with judges on the telecast. This year’s pageant also will incorporate popular reality TV series elements and eliminations to add to the suspense. For the first time, viewers will select their favorite contestant as one of the Top 15.
Over the weekend, the contestants attended Human Nature at Imperial Palace and worked with Best Buddies, while fitness guru Richard Simmons led them in a Hula Hoop contest at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile for footwear sponsor Chinese Laundry.
2011 Miss Florida USA Lissette Garcia won, narrowly defeating 2011 Miss Nevada USA Sarah Chapman, one of the last women standing. Lissette won a $1,000 donation in her name to her charity the American Cancer Society and a $1,000 shopping spree.
Lissette told me: “I learned how to Hula Hoop when I was 8 years old. But this was only the second time I did it after leaving school. It all came back immediately. It’s great exercise because it gets you going, the heart rate gets elevated, and you’re really pumped. I do Latin dance workouts for normal exercise and fitness.”
She told me that this was her eighth visit to Las Vegas and that she has been coming here regularly on family trips and modeling at MAGIC since she was 15. “In all that time, though, I’ve never seen an Elvis Presley show. I am the biggest fan. If I don’t win, I’m staying on so I can finally see Viva Elvis. I’ve missed out seeing it every time I’ve been here since it opened.
“I’m feeling great about where we are in the competition. … No nerves yet, but I bet they kick in when we go onstage for the first Wednesday preliminary.”
Vegas DeLuxe will start off the week leading up to Sunday’s pageant with photo galleries of rehearsals, the fashion show at Fashion Show with host Matt Goss, the 51 evening gowns and the 51 high fashion glamour shots by the controversial Fadil Berisha.
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.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.