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A week after John Oliver sent costumed fans to sit in the prestigious Legends Seats behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, the comedian noted that the Bronx Bombers are probably not too happy about the whole promotion.

“I think the Yankees are happy that we’re done,” the HBO host said after noting he did not have any more tickets to give away on his “Last Week Tonight” show. Oliver also stated that he didn’t receive any flack from the Yanks personally, “but yeah, I don’t think they were absolutely thrilled about it.”

This all started before the first pitch of the season. Speaking to a sports talk radio station in New York, Yankees COO Lonn Trost attempted to explain why the Yankees were no longer using “Print-At-Home” tickets. His main reason was to curb fraud; however the front office executive was also unhappy with the low ticket floors set by third-party websites such as StubHub. Eliminating these websites’ ability to buy and distribute tickets at a moment’s notice all-but-guarantees that fans will have to purchase tickets through the Yankees own resale outlet, which is run by Ticketmaster.

In the process of explaining the nuisance of expensive tickets selling well below face value, Trost induced a foot-in-mouth moment by saying that those who typically sit in said expensive seats would be frustrated by fans who don’t normally sit in a premium location.

Enter Oliver, who eviscerated the Yanks’ for the ticketing practice and comment before offering viewers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: tweet the hashtag “#IHaveNeverSatInAPremiumLocation” and you could score two Legends Seats for a quarter, the only condition bring that you had to wear something out-of-the-ordinary to the game.

The once-empty seats behind home were filled on Opening Day. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“Those seats are amazing. Those seats are precious,” Oliver told me on the red carpet ahead of the Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall. “And it frustrates the hell out of me to see them empty during every game. It’s embarrassing.”

As a lifelong and diehard Yankees fan, I concur and brought up another point: with the empty seats in the lower bowl due to both ticket sales and the various luxury suites and lounges in to the venue, the entire ballpark is much quieter than “The House That Ruth Built.”

“You’re basically eschewing home field advantage by having just empty seats,” he accurately added. “It must be weird batting with no one shouting for you… so we provided some shouting dinosaurs, sharks and Ninja Turtles. You’re welcome, Yankees.”

And hey, maybe the 27-time World Champions were appreciative. On the last game of the team’s first homestand, the message “Thanks, John Oliver. Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium” appeared on the scoreboard.

“(Sitting in Legends Seats) is an amazing experience,” Oliver commented before concluding, “and the f—ing Yankees should open it up to more people!”

#IHaveNeverSatInAPremiumLocation

A photo posted by Last Week Tonight (@lastweektonight) on

Stars from across entertainment and sports showed up to support the kids performing at the Garden Of Dreams’ annual Talent Show. The show offers kids throughout the tri-state area who overcome obstacles the opportunity to perform on the Great Stage at Radio CIty Music Hall.
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Lending their support and speaking with us on the show’s red carpet included celebrity mentors Damaris Lewis and Nastia Liukin along with Broadway star Jay Armstrong Johnson, Impractical Jokers Joe Gatto and Murr, and HBO host John Oliver.

After revealing finalists for the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Good Morning America, co-hosts Ludacris and Ciara chatted about the big awards show and the finalists in the night’s biggest category: Top Artist.
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The 2016 Billboard Music Awards air Sunday night May 22 at 8/7c on ABC from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

When you tune in to my show at 7 pm, you usually hear a voice announce, “Ralphie’s here!” That voice is none other than Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb. It was recorded last June when I interviewed her during a Garden of Dreams charity event. Fast forward nine months, and I ran in to Hoda again at the same event. Watch the original clip first, then below it Hoda’s reaction when I tell her that she kicks off my show every evening.

Related: I love Hoda.

The Garden Of Dreams Foundation, Madison Square Garden’s charity that aims to improve the lives of kids facing an array of obstacles across the tri-state area, is preparing for its annual talent show. It is an event that provides children with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on stage at Radio City Music Hall.

And for that reason, TV personality Hoda Kotb is returning a second time to help out.
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“This is one of those events that you have to do again. You can’t do it once,” Kotb responded when I asked why she reprised her role of “Celebrity Mentor” alongside the likes of gold medalist Nastia Liukin, model Damaris Lewis, The Rockettes, Broadway star Christina Sajous and hip-hop legend Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. “There are so many events and wonderful charities in New York. This particular one does it exactly right.”

Citing what the participants take from the experience, The Today Show co-host elaborated.

“It transforms lives. It changes the trajectory of someone’s path,” she explained. “You actually can physically watch someone change, and how often does that happen in your lifetime, that you get to watch someone transform right in front of you?”

According to the foundation, over 100 children will participate in the talent show, and each child took a different path to the great stage. For Caroline Waters, she battled Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. The 16 year-old Queens native was diagnosed at age two and began chemotherapy before later receiving a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister, who was just four at the time.

Waters has been cancer-free for 13 years, and chose to perform Andra Day’s “Rise Up” at the event.

“I find it very inspiring,” she said of the track. “It’s such an anthem; everything happens for a reason, so whatever happens, it’ll be OK.”

It’s quite a profound comment from a teenager like Waters who has faced so many trials and tribulations. Yet, her disposition reveals not only how this organization benefits children, but how it also reflects back on to the volunteers.

“I learned that these kids, when you look at the hardships that they have to sort of overcome, you learn that at the base of it we’re all just human beings,” Kotb responded when asked what she took from last year’s talent show. “We all just have basic needs. These kids have such incredible talent and I think sometimes they don’t get a fair shot at it because of where they began.

“I just like this because it puts everyone on the starting line together. Here we all are, together. Now 1, 2, 3: go. That’s how it works, and everyone gets their shot.”

In essence, the talent show gives everyone their own opportunity to rise up.

Model Heide Lindgren and REBUILD Globally founder Julie Colombino stopped by 95.5 to talk about the “Impact Garden” event happening at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 7. A yoga class will take place on the court at MSG for the first time ever, with shopping, eating, drinking and some hoops to follow. Participants will even have the chance to shoot for a free cruise.
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Use the code WELLNESS for BOGO tickets. For more info, click here.

I’ll never forget the second time I met Zendaya. It was in the press room after the 2013 American Music Awards. I had already chatted with Ariana Grande and was waiting for an influx of other big names: One Direction, Taylor Swift and Rihanna to name a few.

The fellas of 1D headed straight to Jimmy Kimmel’s cameras where they taped a skit with Kimmel’s sidekick/security guard Guillermo. I had chatted earlier in the night with both Harry Styles and Niall Horan, so I wasn’t expecting them to stop by again. Rihanna, who Bill Maher presented with the first ever “Icon Award” that evening, walked in to the photo area. Swift was the show’s big winner; she made the rounds before giving me a few minutes of her time.
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Towards the end of the night, as Rihanna was heading out of the press room flanked by her entourage and security detail, a then-17 year-old Zendaya was walking in the opposite direction.

The teenager, nee Zendaya Coleman, can recollect what happened next “vividly.”

“(Rihanna) stopped. She gave me a hug and she was like, ‘I love you girl,” an enthusiastic Zendaya recalled when I brought this up to her recently. “She was so positive, so nice.

“It’s so cool for people like her, who obviously are…incredibly successful, empowering women, and on top of that she just stopped to say hi to me. She didn’t have to do that!”

The kindness and humility shown by the “Diamonds” singer certainly left an impression on Zendaya that she now strives to pay forward.

“My thing is, no one will ever catch me not being nice to people,” Zendaya explained. “I don’t ever want somebody not to have a good taste in their mouth about when they met Zendaya or how they felt when they met me.

“I like for people to leave me feeling positive.”

Day 2 of the broadcast Backstage at The 58th GRAMMYs is always more hectic but also a lot of fun: you’re set up, in a groove and a lot of artists are coming by – usually more so than the previous day. It was great meeting ‘Idol’ winner Nick Fradiani, BØRNS and actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld. I also loved catching up with our bud Alessia Cara and seeing Zendaya for the first time in a minute.






For my fourth consecutive year, I broadcasted from backstage at music’s biggest night, inside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Day 1 is always the more difficult day because you’ve just arrived on site, you’re setting everything up and you’re trying to work your way in to a flow as artists move in and out of the broadcast area. But the great thing about this year’s first broadcast was the opportunity to chat with Joe Jonas and DNCE, along with GRAMMY-nominees Tori Kelly and James Bay.





The next time you hear “Uptown Funk,” the infectious anthem birthed by DJ/producer Mark Ronson and recording artist Bruno Mars, think about this: it almost never was.

“I remember Bruno once saying like, ‘Man it just breaks my heart but maybe this song is just not supposed to be,’” Ronson recalled to me early last year. “From that initial creative point of it, it was so exciting. That’s why I was hanging on to it like, ‘We gotta make this work.’”

Good thing he did. A billion-view music video, Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, double-GRAMMY nomination and 9-times RIAA platinum certification later, “Uptown Funk” has gone on to top the 2015 year-end charts in seven different countries. Additionally, it sits as 12 on Billboard’s all-time Hot 100 chart here in the U.S.

“Now when I hear it and I just see people like go wild or dance or light up, it’s great,” Ronson told me, noting that he forgets about the long, stressful nights that went in to the record’s creation.
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Coming off last weekend’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, Ronson and Mars now look to take home hardware on music’s biggest night. The GRAMMYs air Monday on CBS from Los Angeles, and “Uptown Funk” is up for Best Pop Song Duo/Group Performance and one of the evening’s biggest awards: Record of the Year.

“I’ve had a few (successes) but none of my own records have… you know, they’ve always been cult hits or ‘DJ records’ and stuff,” reflected the English-born, New York-raised producer on the success of “Uptown Funk” in 2015. “This is beyond anything I ever really thought would happen.”

This is Ronson’s third nomination for Record of the Year and if he wins, he’ll add it to the mantle alongside the award he scored thanks to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” Coincidentally, Mars and Ronson also were up for the category in 2014 thanks to “Locked Out Of Heaven.”

“You know, I had always heard about (Mars) even when he just started out and everyone around LA was like, ‘Oh yeah, this super-talented kid Bruno; he plays all these instruments (and) he’s a great songwriter,’” Ronson said. “I never met him and I got a call just to go in and we met and we talked about music…and I just really liked him so we started working on his second album.”

The DJ/producer has three GRAMMYs in-all, also nabbing Producer of the Year, Non-Classical and Best Pop Vocal Album in 2008 – a year that belonged to the late Winehouse.

“No one’s ever going to live up to Amy, you know in the way she was such a singular, incredible artist,” Ronson said of her. But while the two are never compared (and rightfully so), when MTV wanted to pay homage to Winehouse on the 2011 Video Music Awards, they called on one artist.

Bruno Mars.