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In the latest edition of “Weekend Scoop,” we checked in with our friends at People! Staff Writer Patrick Gomez was in New York from Los Angeles and talked about celebrity reaction to the history ruling that lifted the ban on same-sex marriages nationwide.
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Gomez also chatted about People‘s cover story – an interview with “Magic Mike XXL” star Channing Tatum.

The band Heffron Drive is returning to State Fair Meadowlands in New Jersey for a second-straight year. Last time around, there wasn’t a whole lot of new music from the Kendall Schmidt-fronted group. He and Dustin Belt have made up for that since – releasing Happy Mistakes along with the acoustic-driven Happy Mistakes Unplugged. Schmidt will play the latter in its entirety this Tuesday (6/30); he will not partake in any fried Oreos on the midway.

“I can’t do it man,” Schmidt said from his Los Angeles home on Thursday. The former Big Time Rush member called in to “Ralphie Tonight” while the birds were still chirping out west (we could hear them). He said he might do regular cookies but “that’s probably the only desert I’ll go for, because the fried Oreos, I just… I can’t. It makes my stomach hurt.”

The lead singer plans to take in some of the sights at the fair though, although he also pumped the breaks on the “spin-y rides,” again drawing from personal experience.

“Throughout the years I’ve been blessed to go to like, so many theme parks and play shows of all sorts,” he explained. “I’ve had the VIP access where you just jump to the front of the rollercoaster right away at pretty much all of them, and I’ve ridden myself out a couple times.”

While he seems to have a storied past in the amusement park/fairgrounds department, the history is much more shallow when it comes to performing this acoustic record live. Matter-of-fact, Schmidt said he’s only played it through completely one other time – at its release concert in L.A.

“Fortunately everything we were doing on the ‘Unplugged’ album had been written already,” Schimdt said of the task in converting songs not originally recorded with guitars to an acoustic LP. “Really the process of it was just reconstructing everything but I’ve done songs of all sorts.”

An example of this can be found on the new Hilary Duff album. Breathe In. Breathe Out. features a duet with the singers called “Night Like This.” Schmidt estimates that he has called Duff a friend for about 15 years.

“I think (the song) was based on a night that either Hilary had or wanted to have,” he said. “When I was recording the song with her, she told me all about the feeling of it and there was even a time when I was singing a line and she was like, ‘Yunno imagine standing there with me, like you’re saying this to me.’

“The song ended up really coming together. I’m so proud of it.”

Something else Schmidt is proud of: the success had by MKTO – a group that is signed to the record label formerly inhabited by Big Time Rush. The guy that manages MKTO used to produce BTR’s tours.

“I’m always kept up to date with everything that they’re doing,” Schmidt said, although he noted he has not had a chance yet to check their new single “Bad Girls.”

Before we hung up, Schmidt also said that his BTR-mates are all “excellent,” although Logan Henderson “is a bit of a mystery-man, so I can’t fill you in too much,” on him.

Hey, we all have a friend like that – just like I’m sure we all know someone that won’t go near a fried Oreo.

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In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva chatted about a seasonal trend, one-piece swimsuits.

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

Photo: instagram.com/kyliejenner/

Photo: instagram.com/kyliejenner/

For the latest Weekend Scoop, we returned to our friends at Life and Style Weekly. Reporter Melissa Roberto talked about stories that the magazine was covering on Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna.

Photo: instagram.com/taylorswift

Photo: instagram.com/taylorswift


A few weeks ago, I wrote that Rachel Platten “has experienced a lot in 2015.” And that was before she performed her hit “Fight Song” in front of 50,000 people with Taylor Swift.

The latest chapter of the fairy tale that has been Platten’s year might trace back a little further in time, but for our sake let’s rewind to about a week and a half ago. Swift, in the midst of her massive “The 1989 World Tour,” was set to perform at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Backstage she held court with Platten and a couple of country artists: singer Kelsea Ballerini and the group Little Big Town.

This is public knowledge because of Swift’s Instagram page. The “Shake It Off” singer posted a series of videos to the social network, including one of her and the rest of the crew singing along to “Fight Song.”

A video posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


A week later the 34 year-old artist found herself in the middle of Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, singing her uplifting anthem with Swift.

And to think, when I spoke with Platten just after her birthday in May, she was simply looking forward to touring with Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri this summer.

“I can’t wait! I’m so excited,” she told me before joking about the tour’s title, “Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too.”

“Thank God (the word ‘Boys’) was added (to the title),” she added while laughing. The trek kicks off July 10 at Mohegan Sun Arena. “So sorry!”

Platten probably still can’t wait to support Caillat and Perri but the singer has to be just as excited about the trajectory of her single on the charts. Prior to the Swift co-sign, “Fight Song” peaked at 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s now at 25.

On the Nielsen BDS Pop Chart, the single moves to 30 this week, up five spots and over 400 spins. That chart reflects the number of times a song is played on Top 40 stations across the country.

It is probably not a coincidence that this all takes place after Platten’s cameos with Swift. Still, it is a testament to the Massachusetts-born singer’s talent along with the fact that “Fight Song” clearly had a lot more fight left in it as well.

Photo: http://instagram.com/taylorswift

Photo: http://instagram.com/taylorswift


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In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva highlighted a trend Rihanna and others love – double-sided earrings.

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

Photo: https://instagram.com/badgalriri/

Photo: https://instagram.com/badgalriri/

Damaris Lewis is a celebrity mentor for Thursday’s Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall. The Brooklyn-born star brings a diverse resume to the table: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, backup dancer for Prince and cameo in Kanye West’s music video for “Monster” are just a few of the things found on her Wikipedia (of course, we confirmed). Not surprisingly, Lewis was able to answer a question about what kids participating in the show could learn from the aforementioned musicians with relative ease.

“Listen,” she responded when asked what “The Purple One” could teach others. “I think that working with Prince, the one that I notice is that he hears everything. He’s very observant, and that’s important if you’re going to go in to a career in entertainment. You need to know what’s happening all around you, at all times.”

Perhaps his public persona would prevent others from linking Kanye West to a mentorship role at a kids’ talent show, but GRAMMY Awards and chart-topping albums don’t come without hard work and talent.
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“Be yourself,” Lewis said of what Mr. West could teach those performing at Radio City Thursday. “Never be afraid, just like Hoda (Kotb), to be the same person you are when you wake up when you’re on that stage. If you carry that energy that you have on the stage in to your real life, your confidence levels will be the same in both areas.”

The “Today” host, along with stars from Broadway and The Rockettes, also serve as mentors to those participating Thursday.

“I love Garden of Dreams because they bring you people who are the same on the camera and off the camera,” Lewis noted of her colleagues. “I think it’s really important for the kids to see that as well because they’re going to meet Hoda, and then they’re going to watch her and say, ‘Wow! That’s the same woman I met!’

“It’s really great energy for the kids to have, on-and-off the clock.”

The Garden of Dreams Talent Show will feature children found through its 25 partner organizations that are facing difficulties, such as extreme poverty or homelessness. The event takes place on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, and is free to the public. It kicks off at 7 p.m.

In Friday’s Weekend Scoop, InStyle Magazine Senior Editor Sharon Clott Kanter called in to chat about a new movie, ‘Dope,’ executive produced and music supervised by Pharrell Williams. We also talked about Laura Marano, a Disney star who was recently signed to Big Machine, the same label as Taylor Swift.

Photo: instagram.com/lauramarano

Photo: instagram.com/lauramarano


JOIN/DONATE HERE!

The timing was perfect. I was able to help a great cause and in the process, get over the fact that I was turning 30.

The fine folks at Make-A-Wish reached out and asked if I was interested in having someone on my show to promote Urban Mudder. The race is Tough Mudder’s cousin, and will be held on Randall’s Island July 25. Urban Mudder has teamed up with Make-A-Wish, naming it the competition’s official charity. This makes it super-easy for someone to start a team and donate all of the money they raise to the most-worthy cause.

Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. The Metro New York and Western New York chapter touches the life of a kid every 10 hours. From priceless trips to encounters with celebrities, Make-A-Wish truly brightens the lives of children, and inspires those around them.

Make-A-Wish’s Alumni Team Captain is 15 year-old Amanda. She is a Wish Kid – after being diagnosed with sickle cell disease, Amanda’s wish was to go to the Dominican Republic. Make-A-Wish flew her family there for Christmas!
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Amanda, along with Tough Mudder’s VP of Event Development, Ashley Ellefson – stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to talk about Make-A-Wish and the big event on July 25. You can check out our conversation below.

For my 30th birthday, which was on June 6, I’m assembling an Urban Mudder team to complete the race and raise money for Make-A-Wish. Sign up for Urban Mudder and join #TeamRalphie. Use the promo code MAWURBANNYC15 to receive 15% off. Please note that the registration fees do not go to Make-A-Wish.

However, all the money raised from this Crowdrise page will. My goal is $2,000. I’m asking in lieu of a Facebook or Twitter post, or gift, that you please donate to our team. Every penny of your donation will help kids that are battling life-threatening medical conditions live out a wish. They may want to be a pop star for a day. They might want to meet their favorite celebrity. Maybe they just want their bedroom renovated. Make-A-Wish makes it happen, and I hope we can all contribute to the joy that they bring to these families’ lives.

Because I’m turning the big THREE-OHH (eek), I’m suggesting a $30 donation. To be honest, I’d be just as happy with $3. Whatever you can afford. Thanks so much for your time and generosity, and for helping Make-A-Wish. See you July 25!

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In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva talked about a trend she saw on the red carpet of The Tony Awards – pleats.

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

Photo: https://instagram.com/ashleytisdale/

Photo: https://instagram.com/ashleytisdale/