Archives For atlantic city

A new Miss America was crowned on Sunday night in Atlantic City, although you can count her in the court of Queen Beyonce.

“Oh, I’m a dancer,” Savvy Shields, a 21 year-old entered the competition as Miss Arkansas, replied when I asked her about her obsession with the “Formation” singer. “Every single dancer’s dream is to be a backup dancer for Beyonce.”

And Shields knows a thing or two about dreaming big and watching that dream become reality, as it did for her a few nights ago at Boardwalk Hall.

“Ever since I was eight years-old and I watched my first Miss America pageant,” the University of Arkansas senior revealed. She’ll continue school after completing her reign with the crown. “I think my mom goes, ‘The southern states always do well.’ That’s my first memory of the Miss America pageant!”

It’s true; I’ve likened southern states’ passion for pageantry to their love for college football, a comparison Shields agreed with.
missamerica1
“Pageants are a big deal (in the south),” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to whenever I’m traveling the country get to see how pageants are in different regions.”

At the moment, Shields is spending her time in the northeast. I caught her in the middle of a whirlwind media tour in New York City that included “Good Morning America,” “Live With Kelly,” “CNN” and a number of other media outlets.

“My first journal entry was (Monday) night,” Shields said, noting that she is trying to jot down memories on a nightly basis. “I wrote down the very first day of Miss America and what that means.”

Some other fun facts about the new titleholder: she loves lipstick (“I have about five in my purse and six in my makeup box”), enjoys people (a job prerequisite) and knits, as in scarves.

“I taught myself when I was around 13 years-old how to knit on YouTube,” she explained while also inadvertently yet perfectly encompassing the idea of Miss America (this was the organization’s 96th pageant) in the 21st century. “Every winter I’ll whip out my knitting needles and I will knit scarves for all my friends.”

Shields once tried to make a hat with her knitting skills, but wasn’t impressed with the final product.

“It didn’t turn out that well. It was more like a sock.”

Thankfully for Shields, she has her headgear planned out for at least the next year anyways.

The 96th Miss America pageant took place Sunday night in Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall. I was on the red carpet before the show and spoke with a few of the judges (Cole Swindell, Gabby Douglas, Mark Cuban, Laura Marano) and one of the co-hosts, Sage Steele, about the big event.
missamerica_ralphie

On Friday night I was in the middle of my nightly Facebook Live broadcast when my buddy Nick from back home commented – Nick wanted to let me know that he was going to Saturday’s Yankees game.

Nick and I both grew up in Western New York and then in a strange twist, both ended up in Northeastern Pennsylvania around the same time for a few years. In yet another crazy turn, we both moved to the tri-state area too; he’s up in Connecticut with his wife and I’m of course in Manhattan.

We’re also both diehard Yankees fans. Yet despite this, I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw Nick, and neither of us had attended a game in the Bronx together this year.

That was until last weekend of course.

I met Nick at a place we’re both fans of by the ballpark, Stadium Pizza. Why are we fans? Well I enjoy it because it’s a bit out of the way at 157th and River. But what keeps me coming back to the place is their drink special: three domestic bottles for $10. A bucket of 6 for $20. It’s a deal you can’t beat anywhere near the Stadium.


I joined the group mid-buckets. We had a few rounds then made our way in to the game. A great feature of Yankee Stadium is the open concourse and wide array of standing room areas. I think the original plan was to make our way out to center field and the Batter’s Eye Café but we settled on the area behind one of the Main Infield sections.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The Yankees won, the celebration commenced across the street at Stan’s and then I headed home. The 4 p.m. first pitch worked perfectly because I was home in bed by 11.

The reason I retired so early on a Saturday night is because my Sunday was jam-packed. I ran, showered, changed, went to the radio station to grab an audio recorder and then cabbed it to Port Authority where I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City. I arrived in AC around 5:30, grabbed a quick sushi dinner and then walked to Boardwalk Hall.


For my second straight year, I attended Miss America. This year, I was covering the red carpet for my radio station.

Some of the highlights: interviewing gold medalist Gabby Douglas and Laura Marano at the same time, Mark Cuban telling me after this election season he’ll never talk politics again and ESPN’s Sage Steele revealing that she didn’t check football scores so she could focus on rehearsing her lines for the show. Ciara didn’t stop and talk with any media outlets but did say hello to me, which was very kind of her.


Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields, won the crown and after her press conference I headed to the after-party. And then to a blackjack table or three. And then, $75 lighter, back to New York City.

After all, I had my radio show Monday night, and another Facebook Live broadcast to host.

Ahead of Sunday night’s competition, five Miss America finalists from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island called in to talk about prelims and their path to the crown.
missamerica1
A new Miss America was crowned Sunday night on ABC.

Atlantic City, a red carpet, two album release parties, zero hours of sleep. It was one for the books.

Betty Cantrell won the 95th edition of the Miss America competition last Sunday in a live telecast on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Cantrell did not celebrate her Miss America win with an extravagant dinner or over-the-top bash, although she attended the pageant’s after-party for about five minutes.

But after showing face, Cantrell retreated to a more intimate post-crowning setting.

“My after-party was in my hotel suite with my family and friends,” Cantrell revealed in an interview that aired Wednesday on “Ralphie Tonight.” “That’s pretty much how I celebrated; by eating like little cheese and crackers.”

For Cantrell though, the real celebration was when the crown went atop her head. In person, the crown is quite stunning; even the box it travels in looks elegant. There are four points on the crown signifying service, scholarship, success and style. And while Cantrell is looking forward to her $50,000 scholarship and the success and style that the title tows, she was quick to point out first and foremost that the next year for her will be one of service.
missa_plj
“Miss America has to have a servant’s heart and be service-oriented,” she noted. “I love being a servant to the people and catering to the children that I so dearly love.”

“Healthy Children, Strong America,” is the platform that Cantrell plans to speak about in schools around the country. As Miss America, the Georgia-native will also represent the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

And she will travel, a lot. Cantrell’s schedule won’t keep her in the same city for more than three days. But the Broadway-hopeful, who wowed the likes of Brett Eldridge and Vanessa Williams with her Opera performance during the talent portion of the show, doesn’t seem to mind.

“I’ll just get sleep next year!” she joked, while also noting that “home base,” if you can even call it that given her schedule, will be Atlantic City.

Maybe one day she will call New York home. But Cantrell has much to accomplish before she can entertain those thoughts. Besides, the next stop on her press tour was a place she would be visiting for the first time, and also one associated with stardom and big dreams.

Hollywood.




My summer weekend travels continued with a two-city trip. Following an all-nighter to update this blog, I hopped on a Saturday morning bus from New York to Scranton, Pa. My friend and colleague Danny picked me up, we grabbed a quick breakfast at Starbucks, and then chilled at his apartment for a few hours. On the docket for Saturday? Mohegan Sun Pocono’s Oktoberfest; a three-day, annual event in Northeastern Pennsylvania that features music, food and about every Oktoberfest and Pumpkin beer you can think of.

What I’m saying is, I was in Heaven.


This was before I took a sip of Susquehanna Pumpkin Ale, my first of well, a couple beverages.

ANYWAYS – the awful weather in NEPA on Saturday did not affect us in the least bit. My friends and I had a great night, which ended with a few hands of Black Jack and some Domino’s to-go.

I slept a little Saturday night, then caught a 7:20 a.m. ride out of Scranton to Atlantic City, N.J. The Martz bus dropped me right off at Resorts Casino for my second destination of the weekend. After a bit of contemplation, I decided it would be fun to “Do AC” for the Miss America competition, which was co-produced by my friends in dick clark productions.


I checked in to my room, ran 3 miles on the Boardwalk and changed in to my Bills shirt before catching some football (and a nice Bills win!) at a local sports bar. My plan was to then make my way to the local baseball field where a seafood festival was taking place. Instead, a torrential downpour forced me to call an audible, and an Uber. I suited up, called another Uber and made my way to Boardwalk Hall.
car1
My original plan was to attend with Danny but due to work obligations he bailed. The fine folks at dcp hooked up a credential, so I decided to join my Cumulus cohort Erika Grace Powell on the red carpet and assist with her evening.


EGP killed it!


After the carpet wrapped, we headed inside the Hall to catch the pageant. I had judged at the state level for Miss USA, but had never attended a national event. There were so many great moments – between Vanessa Williams, the talent portion of the competition and the addition of celebrity judges and music curator Nick Jonas (who I said hello to earlier on the red carpet). And the energy inside the building only amplified the fun.


Following Miss Georgia’s crowning, we headed in to the press area for the post-show press conference. Betty Cantrell was there, along with Williams and the other judges.


And as the song went, after the show it was the after-party. There I ran in to Williams on the dance floor and told her that I also attended Syracuse University. We exchanged a solid high-five.

Another Black Jack donation and trip to Dunkin’ Donuts inside Resorts Casino later and it was back on a bus following my second all-nighter in three evenings. It’s not like a full day, including TV and the radio show, awaited me in New York.

Oh.

Trust me, I’m NOT complaining.

“Real Housewives of New Jersey” Star Kathy Wakile offered “The Ralphie Show” a quick preview of the “RHONJ” episode that will air on Bravo Sunday June 16 at 8 PM. The series is currently in Season 5.


Kathy spoke after a cannoli-demo inside Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. The reality TV star sells her own pastry kits online.

In an interview that aired Monday evening on “The Ralphie Radio Show”, Jason Derulo, the main supoprting act for Lady GaGa on “The Monster Ball” tour, spoke for the first time about the recent cancellation of a couple shows, as well as GaGa’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” The segment with Winfrey taped the morning after GaGa failed to perform at Purdue University. She would eventually cancel her Saturday and Sunday tour dates, and postponed Monday’s performance at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

The “Whatcha Say” singer defended his tour mate’s condition and decision to tape the show. He also offered a possible explanation as to how she might have been able to appear on the show but still be forced to cancel concerts.
“There’s something you can take, it’s like a shot, like steroids, which a lot of performers take for a quick fix,” explained Derulo. Although later clarifying that he wasn’t sure whether GaGa used the remedy or not, he reiterated that it is common for artists to rely on it for very short stints. “It’s definitely not something you can do all the time.”

Derulo also said that there are certainly no hard feelings over the incident.


Listen to the audio below, and check The RRS blog later for the interview in its entirety:


“I mean, ‘Oprah’ was obviously a really, really big thing – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “She just had to do that.”

The Miami-born singer still spent the weekend in Atlantic City – performing a previously-scheduled solo date on Friday, then performing a second time on Saturday – the night he was to perform with GaGa at The Borgata. Derulo donated all proceeds from the second show to the relief efforts in Haiti – a disaster which hit home for the crooner.

“My heart goes out to Haiti. My parents are from Haiti,” revealed Derulo. His uncle still resides there, and survived the earthquake.

“For the first couple days, like, he was just sleeping on the streets,” Derulo said. “He was saying how the streets just smell of death.”

While on The RRS, Derulo solicited listeners to text “YELE” to 501501. The text will donate $5 to Yele Haiti – a grassroots foundation started by singer Wyclef Jean to aid the country.

Download the mp3

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Now, what happens in Atlantic City…


Visit The Wingman on MySpace.