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November 24, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: 2013 Miss USA Pageant; L.V. chef Phillip Dell wins ‘Chopped’


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2012 Miss USA Nana Meriwether and 2013 Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell attend a meet-and-greet sponsored by Chinese Laundry at The Exchange at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Miss USA, Miss Nevada USA at Nellis AFB

2012 Miss USA Nana Meriwether and 2013 Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell attend a meet-and-greet sponsored by Chinese Laundry at The Exchange at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Chef Phillip Dell.

Shania Twain Is Welcomed at Caesars Palace

Shania Twain arrives horseback at Caesars Palace on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, and Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner (in glasses), AEG West chief John Meglen and fans were on hand to greet the Canadian superstar. Launch slideshow »

Golden Rainbow Human Awareness Ribbon at Smith Center

Golden Rainbow creates a human awareness ribbon with more than 100 volunteers at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Las Vegas on Monday, June 3, 2013. Launch slideshow »

It’s the first official look at the 51 Miss USA Pageant contestants today. The glamour girls were put through a grueling weekend of wardrobe fittings for gowns, swimsuits and stage outfits, plus, three days of official portrait and poolside glamour photo sessions in sparkling flapper outfits by controversial photographer Fadil Berisha.

Now they face the public and location film cameras today for the first time. They appear at Catalyst bar in The Quad, where headline entertainers Recycled Percussion will have them banging pots and pans cheering on Miss New Hampshire USA Amber Faucher. As a flair bartender, she will manipulate liquor bottles and bar tools with the flair bartender team of tricksters.

We’ll have our first daily report here Tuesday from the event. We’ll announce the celebrity judges this week and also post the dramatic Fadil photos. Our Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell, a 23-year-old stunner from Wynn Resorts’ F&B department and a manager at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore, represents our Silver State.

WINNING CHEF: Congratulations to Las Vegas chef Phillip Dell, who won the latest episode of The Food Network’s “Chopped” with his healthy cuisines and one-year weight loss of 92 pounds. He defeated three chefs in the “Cook Your Butt Off” contest. Philip, who moved here in 2005 to work as a pastry chef at Wynn, competed against Elizabeth Mwanga, Chris Avtges and Joel Gargano, all sharing emotional stories of transformation to a healthy diet and lifestyle and weight-loss statistics.

In the first mystery basket, they had to contend with a fatty protein that challenged them to stick to their health philosophies. In the entree round, they broke down fish and transformed snack foods. Philip made it into the final round where he “took the cake” for his angel food creation. Philip, who won an American Heart Association endorsement for his cooking style, taught classes at Creative Cooking School here but is now a private chef with his “Tasty Transformations.”


Negotiations, as I previously reported, are complete except for the full dates to bring Tim McGraw & Faith Hill back to The Venetian this winter with a similar schedule as their first mini-residency.

Which sports star is bringing in a celebrity entourage for a weekend of high-roller golf with a group of bikini models to help out on the greens?

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is officially closed from today until June 27 for the Electric Daisy Carnival. Seating and stage construction start today.

Former Mayor Oscar Goodman tells me he’s definitely going to be the second “victim” of the next “Showbiz Roast” at Stratosphere but has to pin down a date for next month’s hot seat.

Oddest sight at The Tenors in The Smith Center on Sunday night: reality TV show polygamist Kody Brown, his four wives and one of his mothers-in-law.

The Home Shopping Network is returning in November to broadcast another ambitious pop-star concert to sell records.

Which weekend entertainer was none too happy with the venue selected for his shows, saying he didn’t know he’d been booked there until he arrived?

Which entertainer has sold his sprawling estate and closed on a new home that despite less square footage still has amazing gardens with waterfall and pool features?

Is a new TV studio coming to the Strip inside a major hotel?

Reader spies say the “American Idol” tour stop at Mandalay Bay in July has been scrapped, plus, several other cities.

What new late-night, ultra lounge will take over Mario Barth King Ink in The Mirage now that officials have moved his Starlight Tattoo venue into the retail promenade?

SHANIA’S SCENTS: Caesars Palace headliner Shania Twain has been awarded a Scent World Award given to a fragrance owner who uses her scent in a new and unexpected way. Apparently scent machines in The Colosseum spray out her signature fragrance as audiences arrive; there’s a campfire aroma for that onstage scene and a leather-and-vintage odor for the saloon song-and-dance number.

Shania also revealed that the secret to her moist skin in the Las Vegas dry desert near-zero humidity; she told Now Magazine that she uses Bag Balm, a mix of petroleum jelly, lanolin and antiseptic that farmers use to soften cow udders.

‘ROCK VAULT’ EXPANDS: “Raiding the Rock Vault” at LVH is doing so well with crowds that expansion is underway. John Payne and Robin McAuley were on my friends’ “Robert & C.C.’s” online radio broadcast over the weekend and revealed that talks are underway for not only tour dates to Japan but also a traveling version with a portable stage structure set up for when they have off nights here. “Our first-year contract with LVH will be extended, and, on off nights, we get a touring-specific band version,” said show mastermind John.

RIBBON OF LIFE: This morning’s human awareness ribbon led by Smith Center President Myron Martin for Golden Rainbow kicked off a 27-day countdown to the 27th annual “Ribbon of Life” show June 30. Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was at the early morning event where the volunteers wore red. “Ribbon of Life” is HIV/AIDS nonprofit Golden Rainbow’s largest fundraiser and main revenue source.


We get a first look at the inaugural 2013 Life Is Beautiful Downtown festival as the music lineup is announced at the Downtown Fremont Country Club.

Comedians Drew Thomas and Quinn Dahle headline at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand.

DJ John Dahlback spins the decks at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.


A preview of the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” opening at The Venetian on June 20, plus, an exquisite photo tour of the new summer garden displays at Bellagio, and Celine Dion resumes her residency at Caesars with a run through September.

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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