Archives For Miss Universe

Nick Jonas flew from New York to Green Bay, Wis. and saw the Packers beat the Cowboys at Lambeau Field in the NFL Playoffs. You could say the singer had two horses in the race, and was destined to walk out feeling like a winner.

“Technically I am a Giants fan,” explained Jonas on “Ralphie Tonight.” The 22 year-old was raised in Wyckoff, N.J. “The way it works is that when the Giants are out, which they are this year because they were not that great unfortunately, I fall back to the Cowboys.”

While Jonas admitted to rooting for divisional opponents and noted that he receives a lot of grief over it, his allegiances make sense when you consider his family’s history. The youngest of the “Jonas Brothers” (but not the youngest of his four brothers) was born in Dallas. The family moved back to the area a couple of years ago.

But how do the Packers factor in to this?

“I had the unique opportunity to play in a golf tournament, and I was paired with Aaron Rodgers,” he continued. “This was back in April, and we became friends. So, I gotta support my friend as well.”

Jonas is not the first celebrity to root for the Packers because of Rodgers. “The Office” actor Brian Baumgartner met Rodgers at the same event in 2013 and golfed with the singer and quarterback this year. Like Jonas, Baumgartner also backs the “Green and Yellow.”

Granted, Jonas’ football interests seem a bit more complicated than those of Governor Chris Christie, but then again, the artist doesn’t have constituents in one particular area of the country to worry about. Still, Jonas doesn’t think that a person’s favorite football team should affect people’s opinions of said person.

“Here’s the deal: The Cowboys are ‘America’s Team,’” he stated very matter-of-factly in his defense of the Governor, who like Jonas also roots for Dallas and is friends with owner Jerry Jones. “He’s allowed to like whoever he wants. It really doesn’t matter.”

There was another point that Jonas made sure to drive home. It came up when I mentioned that his girlfriend, former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, is from Rhode Island and could sway his favoritism towards New England.

“Let me just make one thing clear,” Jonas said as my question trailed off. “I don’t have to be a Patriots fan.”

Culpo has played a “pageant coach” of sorts to her boyfriend, teaching him about the different aspects of the competition. Jonas has seen a lot of it for himself too: he performed with his brothers at Miss Teen USA and co-hosted Miss USA. The couple will travel to Florida later this month for Miss Universe; Jonas jokes that he is “completing the circuit.” He will perform a medley of songs, including the smash hit “Jealous,” during the Evening Gown portion of the televised event.

Jonas also performed at the Kennedy Awards, is set to star in a new James Franco film, will release another single from his self-titled album, and hits the road with Iggy Azalea later this year. Plus he has a show on DirecTV that was renewed and a headlining tour could materialize in about nine months. Jonas’ entire year is already planned out, in part because he has a hard time saying “no.”

“When you really want to go after it, you can’t say no,” he told me. “For the first year, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.”

It’s easier said than done and certainly for Jonas, not as easy as picking what football team to cheer on.

At the unveiling of the new Madison Square Garden, Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf spoke with “The Ralphie Show” about Miss USA Erin Brady’s chances in the Miss Universe pageant next weekend and living in New York after growing up in California.

Erin Brady entered the Miss Connecticut USA pageant in 2011, seeking to represent The Nutmeg State in the Miss USA 2012 competition. The East Hampton, Conn. Native placed first runner-up; not bad considering it was her first pageant, ever.

About a month after the October 2011 event, Brady’s boyfriend Tony Capasso proposed, and she said yes.

“He had it planned and he said, ‘Thank God you didn’t win because it totally would’ve blown our plans,’” Brady recalled in an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “After the first Miss Connecticut (USA) we left for Italy, about three weeks later.”

The current titleholder revealed that she and Capasso discussed the idea of another try for the crown before she entered in 2012.

“It was, ‘If this is something you want to do, by all means,” Brady noted of her fiancé’s response to her idea. “Obviously not knowing that I’d become Miss USA!”

For full disclosure, I was a member of the judges’ panel that placed Brady second in 2011. While she had the look, I felt her lack of experience would have hurt her during the national competition in Las Vegas. Hindsight is 20/20 of course; Brady concurred.

“I hadn’t really had any clue as to what was involved and what I needed to prepare for the next year,” she said. “Coming first runner-up for me, never having done it in that system, was just overwhelmingly exciting.”

Little did Brady know, the “overwhelmingly exciting” part of her life was just getting started – the engagement, winning the state qualifier, and taking the Miss USA crown in Vegas last June. Now she finds herself yielding offers like the one she accepted to star in Gavin DeGraw’s new music video for his single, “Best I Ever Had.”

“I actually had really been a big fan of his even before he kind of came back and has this new flavor and this new sound,” Brady said, referring to the up-tempo, rhyme-driven verses in the artist’s new single. “It was just great, because I had never been a part of that before.”

The project did prompt another conversation between Brady and her fiancé: the Accounting degree holder and DeGraw lock lips at the end of the piece.

“It was a little interesting, but it’s part of the job, and I thought it was tasteful,” she remarked. “He’s a gentleman, and we’re in front of 50 other people.”

Later this year Brady will travel to Russia to compete for the Miss Universe crown, currently held by former Miss USA Olivia Culpo. The pageant airs on November 9. The same country winning the title in consecutive years is not unprecedented; Venezuela completed the feat in 2008 and 2009.

Olivia Culpo won the Miss USA crown last year, en route to also claiming the Miss Universe title. Her advice to the contestants at this year’s USA pageant is to “work your hardest,” and I’m certain she meant “work” and not “werk.”

“There tends to be a pecking order with the girls behind the stage that nobody really sees,” Culpo explained on “The Ralphie Show.” “You know who the frontrunners are because you know who’s working the hardest.”

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Culpo cited examples of what some of the state qualifiers do to catch the judges’ attention, such as never removing their heels, sitting down, or nodding off during rehearsals.

“I never wanted to think of it as that, but I did want to think of it in terms of how hard I was working and I did know that I was working my hardest,” she responded when I asked whether she considered herself a lead candidate last year. “I wanted to work as hard as I could.”

These are big shoes for 19 year-old Brittany Stenovitch to fill. The Cranston, RI-native is from the same town as Culpo and will represent the Ocean State in this year’s competition. The reigning Miss Universe made no bones about the fact that she’s pulling for the contestant that she crowned.

“I gotta keep it real with my ‘Rhody’ peeps!” Culpo insisted.

The Miss USA pageant airs Sunday night at 9 on NBC. The event will be co-hosted by Giuliana Rancic and Nick Jonas. Internet sensation Katherine Webb, who competed last year as Miss Alabama USA, will not judge but will be in attendance. Webb found instant fame earlier this year when ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musburger commented about her attractiveness during the BCS National Championship Game.

“That’s an incredible story,” remarked Culpo. “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl.”

While I was back in Western New York for Christmas, I was honored to join the CW 23’s “Winging It!” and explain why my interview with Ke$ha made international headlines.

I also chatted about Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, becoming the first American in 15 years to win Miss Universe.

For the first time in 15 years, Miss USA has to vacate her crown… to become Miss Universe.

20 year-old Olivia Culpo of Cranston, RI won the 61st Miss Universe pageant during a live, televised broadcast from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. The middle child of five won’t be moving out of her apartment, much less the city she now calls home, for the next year.

“It’s just a really interesting city,” Culpo told me last month when she visited “The Ralphie Show” on 95.5 PLJ in New York. “I love the culture; I love the different people who come together. It’s just like a giant melting pot of cultures.”

The former Boston University student also joked that New York’s operating hours go hand-in-hand with her nonstop schedule.

“I love it here. Nothing ever closes,” she said. “That’s great for people who don’t sleep like me.”

Matter of fact, Culpo noted that her responsibilities as Miss USA actually put her at a disadvantage against other countries.

“You’d be surprised; for ‘Universe’ there’s such less time to prepare because I have my duties as Miss USA, which are my dedications to philanthropy and other things like that,” Culpo said. “And then on top of that, I have to prepare myself for Miss Universe.”

But in the end, it all worked out for the first-time pageant contestant – Culpo had never attempted to win a crown prior to winning Miss Rhode Island USA at the end of 2011. The Ocean State native won out over 88 other contestants from across the globe in a NBC telecast hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic. Cee Lo Green, Nigel Barker, and Scott Disick served on the celebrity-filled panel of judges.

And as for that vacated crown – Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether, who placed first-runner up in Miss USA, will assume the title and its responsibilities.

She’s been on a strict regimen – waking up at the crack of dawn for workouts and following a rigorous diet. But what is Miss USA to do on Thanksgiving, less than a month away from the Miss Universe pageant?

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If you’re 20 year-old Cranston, RI native Olivia Culpo – you might end up counting it as a cheat day.

“You have to treat yourself,” Culpo told me in studio on “The Ralphie Show.” “I think on that one day, I’ll treat myself a little, but I have to stay focused. Otherwise, slippery slope!”

The crown-holder doesn’t buy in to the idea that her Miss Universe entourage would keep her in line – not when she comes from a big, New England-based Italian-American family.

“They like to stuff food down your throat,” Culpo joked. “My mom’s always like, ‘Eat your sandwich!’”

Before anyone partakes in the holiday delicacies, the Culpo family will be in New York to watch Olivia appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Miss USA then plans to head back up to Rhode Island for the remainder of the day, but soon enough she’ll find herself back in New York. After all, the Miss Universe pageant is in just a few weeks. The competition airs on NBC December 19 from Las Vegas at 8 pm. Fan voting is already live at this link.

“You’d be surprised; for ‘Universe’ there’s such less time to prepare because I have my duties as Miss USA, which are my dedications to philanthropy and other things like that,” Culpo revealed. “And then on top of that, I have to prepare myself for Miss Universe.”

Between the daily itinerary and preparations, it leaves the 20 year-old little personal time. Thankfully for Culpo, she lives in the city that never sleeps.

“I love it here. Nothing ever closes,” she noted. “That’s great for people who don’t sleep like me.”

All kidding aside, Culpo revealed that once her term is finished, she’ll look to continue her college education from Boston University at New York University.

Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart and I joined Isha Sesay on HLN’s “Evening Express” to chat about the resignation of Miss Pennsylvania USA, Sheena Monnin. I was a judge for the Miss PA USA pageant, which took place last December in Pittsburgh.