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.

PageSix.com Senior Reporter Andrew Nodell called in with news on Madonna’s custody battle and Iggy Azalea’s future with fiance Nick Young.

Photo: instagram.com/madonna

Photo: instagram.com/madonna


With DJ Khaled in New York ahead of a “major announcement” Monday (me thinks it might have something to do with the Billboard Music Awards finalists reveal on “Good Morning America”), let me drop two major keys on you from my weekend.

First key came Friday night. I signed off the radio after a show that I was pretty happy with, thus I was feeling good. But I decided not to go out (major key alert!). Instead I grabbed food from my bodega, strolled in to my apartment and caught up on work. I needed to do this for a plethora of reasons: didn’t feel like spending money on drinks, was too behind on said work and have too busy of a week ahead.


The second key came throughout the weekend: no traveling (major key alert!)! After spending the past three weekends in the air (Buffalo, Florida, Syracuse) I kept it local and it felt fantastic. The farthest I traveled was to Newark, where I caught the Devils’ final home game of the season. Prudential Center is a favorite venue of mine and it was nice to see Jersey go out with a win – not to mention veteran Patrick Elias had himself quite a game.

My sleep schedule was a bit off Sunday but that did not prevent me from running errands, finally getting a bagel from Upper West Side-institution Barney Greengrass (whole wheat toasted with Sturgeon, capers, tomato, scallion cream cheese) and knocking out a 5.6 mile run in Central Park.


Even made a rare-appearance at Whole Foods to search for wine (grabbed a Chianti), McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix (out of stock) and naturally a wife (no luck).

Hey, there’s always next weekend. And thankfully, I’ll be spending it right here.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Damaris Lewis stopped by to chat about the upcoming Garden of Dreams Foundation Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall, where kids from throughout the tri-state area will have the opportunity to perform on stage at Radio City.

Lewis also chatted a bit about her recent outing to a Warriors/Thunder NBA game, where her and friend Prince (yes, that one) sat courtside to see Stephen Curry and the defending NBA Champions take on Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City.

The Garden of Dreams Talent Show is Monday, April 11, at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets to the event are free and will be distributed upon entrance in to the venue.
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Our friend from People Magazine, Deputy Style Director Sharon Clott Kanter, called in to chat about Kylie Jenner’s new nail polish and Carrie Underwood’s collection of swimwear.

Photo: instagram.com/carrieunderwood

Photo: instagram.com/carrieunderwood


Wow, what a run.

My alma mater, Syracuse University, gave us fans quite a March to remember. Entering “Selection Sunday,” me and other members of Orange Nation weren’t quite sure if the team would make the field of 64 or not. Would we play in a “First Four” game? Would we be one of the first four out of the tourney, relegated to the NIT?

The NCAA Selection Committee gifted Syracuse a 10-seed and a first round match-up against a team that had beat us in tournament a few years ago, Dayton. That game took place in 2014 at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center. Coincidentally this year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I would be watching the game with my friends back in Western New York.

#TBT: #MarchMadness Wardrobe Edition. #BeatDayton #BeatEveryone #CuseMode #OrangeNation

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


SU took care of Dayton with ease and hung around for a second game in St. Louis, against 15-seed Middle Tennessee State. This team had for sure busted brackets across the country with its upset of Michigan State, a two-seed.

Lighting did not strike twice. The ‘Cuse manhandled the Blue Raiders and moved on to the Sweet 16. I caught the game with my buddy Ryan on the Upper West Side. In the process, I found out that there is a Syracuse-supporters bar blocks away from my apartment!

This was the beauty of the run for me. I had little to no expectations for the Orange this March. The team’s march to the Final Four served not only a pleasant surprise but also as a wonderful opportunity to create memories with family and friends.

Easy wardrobe selection for #NationalOrangeDay. #BeatGonzaga #BeatEveryone #MarchMadness #Sweet16 @syracuseu

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


And for that matter, former March legends who continued on to have successful NBA careers. Syracuse’s Sweet 16 matchup pitted the Orange against Gonzaga in Chicago. The game was on a Friday night and tipped around 9:40 pm, meaning I would have to watch the first-half in studio and then hustle to that neighborhood bar for the second.

I arrived at Firehouse to a room full of ‘Cuse faithful, an empty spot at the bar and former UNLV and Knicks standout Larry Johnson… cheering on SU.

Of course, we overcame a second-half deficit to beat the Bulldogs and move on to the Elite 8. I was elated… and as I write this, I still can’t believe I was telling “L.J.” that yes, Trevor Cooney was in-bounds and that the ref blew the call. After he saw the replay, Johnson agreed with me.

Start spreading the news. #Elite8 #OrangeNation #CuseMode #BeatEveryone #BeatGonzaga

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Syracuse’s victory over Gonzaga meant that we would play top-seeded Virginia on Easter Sunday. I had 6:30 reservations for Easter Dinner with my family… in Hollywood, Florida. I immediately alerted my Mom that we’d have to eat early or I would probably not be at the restaurant.

Our 4:30 dinner was excellent and afterwards, my Mom and sister dropped me and my Dad off at a sports bar in Fort Lauderdale to watch the game. At first, it wasn’t fun; Syracuse trailed by double-digits at the half and at one point after halftime, the lead swelled to 16. My Dad, who for the record didn’t give us a chance from the tip, was ready to call it an evening and move along.

#HappyEaster #BeatVirginia #BeatEveryone #Elite8

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


And for the record, my Dad as a witness, I can state that I never lost faith. I knew Syracuse had one more big run in them and figured that a number of players the team relied on were due for a hot streak. Thank goodness I was right, and the game turned in to an instant classic. Down went the number-one seed Cavaliers and off went the Orange to another Final Four.


Fittingly, I watched the semifinal game against North Carolina back at Syracuse. The trip was pre-planned; our annual WJPZ Alumni Birthday Banquet was pushed back a month this year to April. So I sat (stood) in the Sheraton on campus with classmates and other alumni, along with my professor Dr. Rick Wright, and watched SU’s season end.

What a time to be on campus. What a time to #BeatUNC. What a time to be alive. #FinalFour #BeatEveryone #CuseMode

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


For the record, I expected Syracuse to upend the Tar Heels and had requested Monday off from work to fly to Houston for the National Championship. But as Saturday night wound down, instead of sulking over a change of plans, I grabbed Pita Pit on Marshall Street and reflected back on all of the great times the Orange gave me this March.

All I could think was simply, “Wow. What a run.”

As the final field of contestants was narrowed to three ahead of this week’s American Idol series finale, a specific statistic probably came in to focus for Nick Fradiani: the Connecticut-native has a 33 percent chance of being the final man to win the singing competition.

It would have been quite the coincidence considering he was also the first winner from the Northeast.

“I remember when I first got on the show, I found that out,” Fradiani told me earlier this year. “I was like, ‘I’m doomed! I’m never going to win.’”

The Wheaton College graduate never allowed this to affect his performance as he sang his way to the title. A whirlwind of events followed for Fradiani.

“The single was released back in May,” he recalled of the track, “Beautiful Life.” “I did the radio promotion from about May right up until the tour ended.”

Fradiani essentially worked two jobs: promoting his single at radio stations during the day and performing with his fellow Top 5 finalists on the 37 city tour at night. He continued this until September, and then returned to the studio to finish up his album. Now, he’s back at radio with a new single, “Get You Home.”

“It’s the most up-tempo, funkiest song on the whole album,” Fradiani described. “Figures that’s what the label liked! But I loved it, I loved writing it. And there’s a sample in it from Young M.C.”

Fradiani intertwined “If you want it, you got it,” from the 1989 hit “Bust A Move.” The “Idol” winner was 3 and a half years old when the song was released, and busted a move or three this week on the show’s finale.

Also gracing the “Idol” stage one more time: previous winners Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, David Cook and Kris Allen. They and other winners from yesteryear were joined by a slew of finalists who have found success in their own right: from “Daughtry” front man Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert to Broadway star Constantine Maroulis, actress Katherine McPhee and country star Kellie Pickler.

Some stars are so far removed from their time on the show that you might even forget they once competed. But for at least one winner, who will also return to “Idol” this week, that might be an accomplishment in itself.

“The hardest thing about coming off of ‘American Idol,’” Lee DeWyze told me a few years ago, “is coming off of ‘American Idol.’ Everyone’s got a different path.”

And for the show’s second-to-last winner, that statement certainly holds true… literally.

Jamie Lynn Macchia, the current title holder of “Miss New York,” lists her visit to the White House as one of the coolest things she’s done since taking the crown.

“I got to go there after ‘Miss America’ to attend the Childhood Cancer Month Awareness briefing,” she said via telephone from her native Staten Island. “I was actually there, and it’s pretty awesome.”

Macchia’s White House visit came after months of preparation and a two-week stint in Atlantic City to vie for the “Miss America” crown on ABC. Her visit to the President’s home is symbolic for multiple reasons. The distance from Staten Island to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is 213 miles, and that number is the catalyst for the title holder’s current campaign: Run For The White House. The national program works like a marathon in that donors pledge a dollar amount for participants to travel. The difference is that the miles can be traveled in any manner – from running outside to using a stationary bike.

Money raised from the campaign will aid in pediatric cancer research. Run For The White House was started in 2012; Macchia joined it in January and aims to work out her 213 miles by September.

“It culminates with CureFest,” she explained, “which is a big pediatric cancer rally in the middle of September.”

This year’s event will be held in our nation’s capitol on September 17 and 18. The two-day fundraiser includes live entertainment and a candle-light vigil. Last year’s headliners were The Plain White T’s. For more information and to pledge money for Macchia’s miles, click here.

In the time between Parachute releasing its third and fourth albums, the band shrunk from a quintet to a trio. And the fact of the matter is, a lot can happen in two-and-a-half years.

“They got married and had kids,” lead singer Will Anderson responded when I asked what happened to former members Alex Hargrave and Nate McFarland. “It’s been a bit of a transition but it was just time, and the three of us have been friends since high school so we were obviously going to keep going.

“It was a very un-dramatic, sort-of exit. We’re still friends with them.”

When I inquired if this meant that no wedding bells would ring in the near-future for the band mates, I was quickly alerted to keyboardist Kit French’s nuptials, which apparently happened a while ago.

“It’s not for everyone,” French said of the balance between marriage and band life, before Anderson jokingly added, “Kit’s a very mature guy.”

Along with drummer Johnny Stubblefield, Parachute is currently touring behind “Wide Awake,” its fourth LP and first on Vanguard Records. While the label is independent, it’s owned by Concord Bicycle Group, which counts Paul McCartney and the catalog of Frank Sinatra amongst its roster.

Anderson revealed that the band worked primarily with Nathan Chapman on its latest release. Chapman is perhaps best known for his work with Taylor Swift, counting three GRAMMY wins to his credit for “Fearless” and “1989.”

“He was my main go-to,” explained the lead singer. “We talked a lot about this stuff.”

It makes sense given Anderson’s relationship with Swift; back in 2013 he told me the two were “great friends.”

“It’s also fun because she can give me advice on anything our band can possibly be going through; she’s already done it. Even though she’s a little bit younger than us, she’s the biggest artist in the world right now,” Anderson told me during Parachute’s promo run for the band’s third album, “Overnight.”

Do they still keep in touch?

“Distance separates us,” the lead singer said, noting Swift’s New York City apartment and Parachute’s roots in Nashville (although Swift owns property there, along with a slew of other locations). “But she’s great. She’s always been supportive of our band and we love getting advice from her.”

Considering Swift is still one of the biggest artists in the world, who wouldn’t?