In the second episode of my new podcast “Hey, Really Excited,” I recap my trip to Las Vegas for last weekend’s “Billboard Music Awards.” Guests this week include Robin Leach, Hozier (again), Tori Kelly, Prince Royce and Ludacris.
Hey, Really Excited
“Hey, Really Excited” is a weekly-ish podcast of mine where I offer some present-day thoughts on what’s happening in music, my life and career – along with a featured artist(s).

In the inaugural edition of “Weekend Scoop,” we catch up with the four acts that played this year’s “Summer Kick-Off” at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant, N.J. and find out what they are looking forward to with the unofficial start of summer. To see more from this year’s Kick-Off, click here.
JENKS1
“Weekend Scoop” will feature different artists, magazines, TV stations and more every week – reporting on subjects ranging from celebrity news to events you need to know about. Catch it every Friday on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Unlike other artists looking to release their sophomore albums on a major label, the one thing singer ZZ Ward doesn’t have to worry about is if the LP will actually see the light of day. This Means War already has a street date of September 18 and is available for pre-order now, a lengthy three-and-a-half months ahead of the album release.

“If I was a fan, that’d make me feel good,” Ward told “Ralphie Tonight” of the advance. “I’d be like, ‘Yes! I have it on lock. Like I know I’m getting it as soon as it comes out.’”
zz
The pre-sale was announced in conjunction with a headlining tour and the release of a new single.

“’Love 3X’ is kind of about the ups-and-downs and the good and the bad and all of the imperfections that make your relationship the perfect mess that it is,” described Ward of the track.

The Oregon native, who has lived in Los Angeles for the past five years pursuing her music career, wrote the song herself. That also comes as a surprise, as her manager is a GRAMMY Award winning songwriter with a number of big radio hits to his credit. Despite this, Evan Bogart only contributed one track to the artist’s debut effort. Ward says that they wrote together “a lot” this second time around, but that she enjoys the creative and collaborative freedom afforded to her by Bogart.

“(Evan) has the ability to really guide you as a writer in the sense that, he doesn’t have to be like writing on everything or be up in all the videos,” Ward explained. “He can kind of let you do your thing, and so that’s been really great working with Evan.”

Could you imagine hanging out at a Cinco de Mayo party with friends, sipping on a beverage… and then checking your phone to find out that you have an email from Adam Levine?

Rozzi Crane doesn’t have to “imagine” that because it happened to her in real life.

“I was like, ‘I gotta go!’” Crane recalled telling her friends at the party during a chat on “Ralphie Tonight.” “I didn’t tell anyone for like, six months.”
ROZZI_PLJ
Crane waited until the paperwork was signed before informing everyone that she was in fact, the first signee to Adam Levine’s 222 Recordings, an imprint on Maroon 5’s home label of Interscope Records.

The 24 year-old attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and met a mutual friend of Levine’s in a songwriting class. They started working on music with another mutual friend who was managed by Maroon 5’s manager. That is who sent “The Voice” coach a YouTube link of Crane performing.

For all intents and purposes, Levine “turned his chair around” and signed the near-USC grad. She walked, but is a semester’s worth of credits away from a degree.

“I’ll do it at some point. I’ll finish it.”

In the mean time, Crane is promoting and touring behind her EP, Space, which features the single “Psycho.” No the song is not about an ex, but rather those who perhaps think you’re a little crazy for attempting to achieve your dreams.

And if your dream is to one day receive an email from Adam Levine, then maybe this is the song for you.

Play

In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva highlighted a trend she spotted on the Billboard Music Awards’ Red Carpet, sexy slits.

Photo: instagram.com/meghantrainor

Photo: instagram.com/meghantrainor


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Taylor Swift was most visible and Kanye West was nearly invisible during a 2015 Billboard Music Awards broadcast that set a 14-year ratings high mark on Sunday night.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the big night belong to Swift. The superstar entered the evening leading all finalists with 14 nods. Swift took home eight awards, including Top Artist, and also world-premiered the music video for her next single, “Bad Blood,” to kick off the show.
TS1
In what proved to be an omen of what was to come over the next three hours, Swift also led the segue from her video to a performance by rock legends Van Halen. The showcasing of past, present and future was a prevalent theme throughout the broadcast. Another notable routine came from Simple Minds, who had the entire MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas singing “Don’t You Forget About Me” in tribute to the 30 anniversary of “The Breakfast Club.”

A tribute of equal crowd participation came courtesy of Imagine Dragons. The Las Vegas-natives covered “Stand By Me” in honor of the late Ben E. King. Little Big Town also offered a nod to a legend, as the band invited Faith Hill on stage for a “one-night-only” performance of “Girl Crush.”

Representing for the present: Ed Sheeran, who with multiple loop pedals and two microphones put on one of the night’s best performances, Hozier, Nick Jonas and a duet with Meghan Trainor and John Legend.

Kia’s “One To Watch” artist was Tori Kelly, and her acoustic rendition of “Nobody Love” nearly stole the show.

According to TMZ, Kanye West was one of two artists not to attend the show’s dress rehearsal (the other was Mariah Carey). West closed out the BBMAs with a medley of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead.” Not only could he barely be seen due to the lighting and pyrotechnics, but he was also barely heard due to the censoring of his explicit lyrics.

The Billboard Music Awards were co-hosted by Ludacris and Chrissy Teigen and produced by dick clark productions. Early numbers from Nielsen indicated that an average of over 11 million people tuned in to the broadcast over the three-hours.

Ralphie’s Look – Suit: H&M; Shirt, Tie, Boots: John Varvatos; Tie Bar, Pocket Square: The Tie Bar

Ralphie’s Look – Suit: H&M; Shirt, Tie, Boots: John Varvatos; Tie Bar, Pocket Square: The Tie Bar


News And Notes From Backstage:
– Prior to introducing Simple Minds, Molly Ringwald told me she hadn’t seen the band since the movie’s premiere 30 years ago!
– After congratulating Meghan Trainor on her two Billboard Music Awards, the “All About That Bass” singer said she was so happy that she “couldn’t stop crying.”
– One Direction was in great spirits on-and-off camera. Harry Styles said the band is excited to release a new album this fall.
– “You won’t be disappointed bro!” was Kevin Dillon’s response when I told him and the cast of “Entourage” that I can’t wait for the movie. The moment was made even cooler by the fact that Dillon sounded just like his character, Johnny Drama, when he said it.
– I made small talk with Ellen Pompeo before she took the stage to present Swift with one of her eight awards. Pompeo called in to my show in 2008 on behalf of President Obama.
– “What is this night?!” exclaimed a surprised Swift as she walked off stage following her win of the fan-voted Chart Achievement Award.

The second day of Red Carpet Radio at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards was hectic, as many BBMA finalists, presenters and performers stopped by to chat with “Ralphie Tonight.” Check out some of the photos and conversations below with Hozier, Tori Kelly, Fall Out Boy and more.
luda1
Special thanks to BBMA co-host Ludacris, who also made some time for the show. We chatted with him while he waited for a car to pick him up… in the back of the MGM Grand Arena… on a curb. In Vegas, there is a first time for everything.





A few staples of the Las Vegas scene stopped by Red Carpet Radio at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards to chat with “Ralphie Tonight.”
BBMA1
Terry Fator won the second season of the NBC competition “America’s Got Talent.” The entertainer just marked his sixth year headlining at The Mirage on The Strip. Fator believes he’ll be there many more years to come. He also gave his thoughts on the end of “American Idol,” noting that he’ll miss it and is happy there are other shows like “AGT” and “The Voice” still on the air.

Carrot Top has been in Vegas for 30 years – he’s spent about the last 10 performing at The Luxor. The comedian is hoping to attend Sunday’s award show, and you might be surprised as to what he is looking forward to. Of course, Carrot Top also quipped about everything from “Fifty Shades Of Grey” to “Deflategate.”

And Robin Leach – a former Channel 7 reporter – needs no introduction. The former “Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous” host dished about his recent chats with Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey regarding their Vegas residencies.

“Extra” New York City correspondent AJ Calloway stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” amidst a crazy day to talk about a number of headlines – including Charlie Sheen co-hosting the TV program, Taylor Kinney speaking with the reporter about his upcoming wedding to Lady Gaga and Ciara’s recent visit to the “Extra” studio at H&M Times Square.
AJ1
Catch “Extra” weeknights at 7 pm on WNBC.

Calloway also chatted about a fundraiser and black tie gala his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, is holding later this month in New Jersey. For more info on it, click here.

I finally did it. After months of mulling over concepts, formats, titles and distribution – I launched my first official podcast. We’ll aim for new “Hey, Really Excited” episodes weekly. Every show will include some present-day thoughts on what’s happening in music, my life and career – along with a featured artist.
Hey, Really Excited
This week, I preview my trip to Las Vegas for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. Also, we discuss the next single from Hozier’s self-titled album and chat with the man himself.