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Panic! At The Disco is on the “Death Of A Bachelor” tour, headlining sold-out arenas across the country. But for lead singer Brendon Urie, the album cycle is basically finished.

“I’m literally trying to jump right in to the next record cycle,” the front man told me backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena before the trek’s opening night show. The interview was conducted for Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page. “I know that seems crazy but I’ve got a bunch of ideas I’ve been working on for the last couple months. I’m seriously pursuing recording them in the next month or two.”

The “Victorious” singer is also going to try his hand again at projects that don’t exclusively involve music.

“Theater really interests me and acting really interests me,” he continued. “I’ve done a couple of auditions, a few years ago, and they didn’t go so hot. So I want to try and redeem myself a little bit.”

The fact that Urie wants to branch out might be a testament to how gratifying and fulfilling the band’s latest LP was. “Bachelor” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with the highest first-week sales for Panic! yet. It also earned Urie a “Best Rock Album” nomination at this year’s GRAMMYs.

“That was a huge milestone,” he said of the nod. “I was filled with so much happiness. I was just like, running around… did a lot of drinking that night to celebrate.

“But it was amazing, man. It’s definitely put a nice little hat-tilt to this tour.”

Speaking of drinking, Urie joked (or maybe semi-joked?) that as far as essential tour items, beer definitely makes the list. He also revealed a Panic! pre-show ritual: shots.

“We did one night where we tried whiskey,” he explained before laughing. “This is going to sound so weird but, we were on stage and we all just kind of looked at each other and we all felt grumpy.”

The remedy? A switch to double-shots of tequila. Urie said it puts the band in party-mode in part by killing the group’s “hyper-awareness.” Judging by the rave reviews that the show is receiving so far, it seems to be working.

It wasn’t all a dream… it actually came true for Little Mix last week.

The girl group, which is currently supporting Ariana Grande her “Dangerous Woman” tour, traveled through a schedule last week that is hectic even by the girls’ standards. Little Mix started in Uncasville, Connecticut at the original Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday February 17. The day began with a whirlwind radio promo schedule, continued with an album signing and acoustic performance in The Shops at Mohegan Sun and ended with a performance for the sold-out arena crowd.

Then the girls crossed the pond to perform at The Brit Awards, the UK’s version of our GRAMMYs, on the 22. Little Mix was also nominated for three awards and took home the hardware for “British Single Of The Year” thanks to “Shout Out To My Ex.” The track hit number one in the UK for multiple weeks and served as the first single from the group’s fourth LP, “Glory Days.”

The next day: back to the U.S. Little Mix hopped back on Grande’s tour to open up for the pop star at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

“We love it,” Jesy Nelson responded when I inquired about how they navigate the long travel and many responsibilities. “It’s tiring and it does take its toll but at the end of the day when we get on stage that just makes up for it because we get to see all of our fans and it’s just the most incredible feeling.”

I chatted with the girls in between the acoustic performance and autograph signing in Connecticut and when I brought up the week that included both The Brits and the MSG performance, there seemed to be more excitement than nervousness amongst them.

“To make two dreams come true,” Nelson said as the other girls talked about the idea of both possibly winning a Brit and taking the stage at The Garden, “C’mon, that’s pretty cool.”

They’ve even found some time amidst the madness to celebrate the success of their latest album.

“We do go out quite a bit,” Jade Thirwall admitted, rather sheepishly, before eliciting laughter from her bandmates. “Hey if we’ve got something to celebrate, there’s nothing wrong with that!”

Of course, the only thing better than having something to celebrate is having two things to celebrate. But the quartet, which formed during the eighth season of “The X-Factor” in 2011, will be hard-pressed to fit that into its schedule. Little Mix will continue to tour with Grande through mid-April and then embark on its own headlining trek overseas in May. There’s a sizable break in shows during the months of September and October, but the ladies revealed that those months are set-aside at the moment for studio time to begin work on the next album.

My first trip of 2017 involved both people and places that I am quite fond of along with a method of transportation that I find very enjoyable.

For me, an outing on Amtrak that is four hours or less is one of the best ways to travel. You don’t have to deal with TSA, the departure and drop-off in the city is right below the radio station, the ticket is usually relatively inexpensive and the trip is pretty comfortable. Amtrak offers decent Wi-Fi free-of-charge, you’re allowed multiple carry-on baggage items and it’s not a hassle to bring food or drink with you on the train, especially given that you’re departing from Penn Station (Don Pepi’s is my go-to and in my opinion, makes one of the best quintessential NY Deli sandwiches in the city).

With that, I grabbed my normal order (2 eggs on a wrap, prosciutto and mozzarella on a roll, bottle of water, small coffee) and walked over to check-in. Amtrak offers e-tickets via an app but I opted for the antiquated paper ticket. Thanks to a complimentary upgrade, I rode in business class on the trip; not the same as a first class plane upgrade. The seats are a bit bigger and more comfortable but not measurably more than coach. You also receive free non-alcoholic beverages with the upgrade, a note I found out after I made my purchase at Don Pepi’s.

My itinerary started at Penn and ended for Friday in New London, Connecticut. Then I hopped a ride to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville to spend the evening, see a few old friends and naturally, lose a bit of money. To be honest, the only thing I left the property upset about was that for my second consecutive trip, I failed to dine at Todd English’s Tuscany, my favorite restaurant in the resort.

Peak-boughieness right now on this blog.

Caught a Connecticut vibe this weekend. @mohegansun, the real MVP.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Saturday a car trudged through the snow and brought me back to the train station, where I rode Amtrak up to the Kingston, Rhode Island station. An Uber brought me across the Pell Bridge to Newport where Cumulus Media was having its annual holiday party.

This party is fantastic for a number of reasons: it’s scheduled after the craziness of the holiday season, it’s held in the Newport Marriott which is gorgeous (just like the rest of that beautiful town), the food is delicious (I love seafood) and most importantly, the crowd is lovely.


A different Uber brought me back to the train station on Sunday morning and I encountered perhaps the most New England Uber experience ever. It had stopped snowing at this point but there is almost no one on the roads; some areas are plowed more than others. I notice there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way and I could really go for one of their coffees (especially given the alternative was to buy one aboard the train; no offense Amtrak). I ask the driver if he’ll stop and he obliges. I then inquire if he wants anything.

“Yeah, you know what? I could go for a coffee,” he responded. “Medium dark, no sugar. Team work, getting the job done.”

You’re damn right. And just like the other people, places and methods of transportation I encountered over the weekend, what’s not to enjoy about that?

It was an eventful weekend.

My friends at Mohegan Sun asked me to travel up to beautiful Uncasville, Connecticut and host red carpet coverage for the casino’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The festivities for the big 2-0 last throughout the month of October, however last weekend there were two very special events. Kevin Hart hosted a comedy all-stars event at Mohegan Sun Arena, and the after-party took place at Avalon Nightclub, where my first red carpet was located. The second was the “Red Carpet After-Party” inside Uncas Ballroom.
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There was no shortage of stars: Hart had Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho and Dave Attell with him on stage. Jessie James Decker performed in the Cabaret Theater Friday night. Then on Saturday Fergie headlined the arena and LL Cool J performed a free show in the Wolf Den.

JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, some of The Real Housewives and former “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino all came by for “Reality Check” events (the latter in which I also hosted). Some of Buddy’s siblings from “Cake Boss” were on-hand to present a 20th Birthday cake from Carlo’s Bake Shop, which has an outpost inside The Shops at Mohegan Sun.

There were even a few surprises: namely David Ortiz showing up on Friday night and partying with his former teammate Johnny Damon. The following evening, I actually introduced Damon to LL Cool J on the red carpet.

You really can’t make this stuff up. Why would I? Watch the highlights from Friday and Saturday below or check out the full broadcasts here and here.

Ahead of Friday night’s “Undercover Boss” episode on CBS, Mohegan Tribal Counselor Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum talks about his disguise that was so good, even his son was fooled. Bozsum also reveals what he experienced and discovered as an employee on the floor at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs during an interview on “The Ralphie Show.”

Selena Gomez brought her “Stars Dance Tour” to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. on Saturday. The former Disney star had not performed at the casino and resort since turning 21, so she took the party post-show to the slot machines and an upscale lounge.

“I attempted to do the slot things,” Gomez attempted to explain in an interview that aired on “The Ralphie Show” Monday night. “I don’t know anything about it. I just put something in and pressed buttons and it just… I couldn’t do it.”

In Gomez’s defense, some of the newer slot machines can be a little confusing, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

“I think I should actually spend time to learn but I just got excited and we ended up just being in a lounge dancing to like Destiny’s Child, so we were fine,” Gomez said of the rest of her evening. A number of dancers and tour members joined the starlet at Mohegan Sun’s Vista Lounge at Wombi Rock – a venue she called “beautiful” earlier in the interview.

On stage, there were no mishaps for Gomez, who is in the midst of a trek that last seemingly through the year’s end when holiday radio shows are added in. Last week, the artist found herself on TMZ for reasons that did not involve her personal life; rather a small misstep in which she slipped and fell off stage. No pun intended, Gomez seems to be taking it all in stride.

“I was actually really happy, because honestly, four years of performing and that was the first time ever (that it happened),” Gomez revealed. “It’s probably going to happen again anyways but, it was funny because I got off going, ‘Well, four years and I did it.’”

The blooper may serve the purpose of showing her fans that she’s just like them. Gomez already plays this role well – whether it is during a mid-show confessional to thousands of screaming teens or playfully posing for a selfie with a girl backstage in a meet-and-greet. The singer also noted that she shops in the same places that the girls buying her album probably frequent.

“I just go shopping and if I see cute tops… I don’t know. Plus, every girl goes to Forever 21 or like Urban Outfitters,” Gomez said. Obviously with her celebrity status, Gomez doesn’t exactly qualify as “every girl,” but she scoffed at the notion that she isn’t shopping for her own clothes.

“What do you think I do?” she asked. I responded that perhaps someone does her shopping or the stores send clothes to her. “I mean I do get really awesome gifts every now and then but I like to shop.”

Amidst all of this singing, dancing, and shopping – Gomez also finds time to act in movies. She has two films set to be released in 2014, and will be involved in the anticipated adaption of “Thirteen Reasons Why” novel.

“A lot of my fans have been wanting to know because I’ve had that book for a while,” she said. “It’s just that books are so hard to translate in to something that will do the book justice. It’s always the, ‘Oh OK, this is not as good as the book.’ So, we want to do it justice; for the author, for these kids because it’s such a powerful message. It is still happening. We’d just rather it be great than rush it.”

Turns out it was a family decision for Jenny McCarthy to relocate from Los Angeles back to her native Chicago.

“My son, I feel like wasn’t getting the childhood that I wanted him to have in LA,” explained McCarthy at the grand opening of Mohegan Sun’s new Vista Lounge at Wombi Rock in Uncasville, CT. “That, on top of, met someone I really like and care about. So all of those things combined made me kind of come back home.”

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That someone is Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. McCarthy said her son, 10 year-old Evan, doesn’t watch football.

“He judges people on their spirit, which is perfect,” the actress said. “[The relationship] is still new, and my son loves being in Chicago for his friends and my mom and dad live there.”

By all accounts, it seems things are on the up-and-up for the 39 year-old. McCarthy is preparing for her new prime time show on VH1, and recently graced the July/August 2012 edition of Playboy. The model told me she feels sexier now than she did at 20 years old.

“I think women come in to their own later in their age,” she said. “When we’re 20 we’re still trying to figure out who we are; trying to be something. At 39 we’re like, ‘Take it or leave it.’ We kind of want to get off more than turn people on.”

On WBRE’s “PA Live!” for this week’s “The Ralphie Report,” I recapped my coverage of Vans Warped Tour and reported on the new entertainment venue that will be opening next year inside the expansion of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is continuing its evolution from race track to casino to destination resort. The most recent expansion plans not only include a new hotel and convention center but also a 1,500 seat entertainment venue for concerts and performances.

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“It’s one of the additions that we wanted to add to bring more revenue to the community here,” explained Mohegan Tribe Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, following a groundbreaking ceremony in which he used a jackhammer. “When you have a convention center and it’s a destination, people can stop by, spend three or four days here, they can visit all the local businesses out there.”

Bozsum also noted that the resort will rely on local businesses for supplies and services throughout the operation. Mohegan officials say the project will create over 250 permanent jobs and in excess of 600 once the expansion opens next year. The Mohegan Chairman also confirmed that the announcement does not change the tribe’s relationship with Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

“When you’re in the entertainment business, there are different entertainers for different size venues,” Bozsum said. “There’s a whole class of acts that go out there and fill 1,500 seat rooms, but they can’t fill 10,000 or 20,000. So, there’s two different levels and we work with our outside vendors to bring in the right size entertainer for the right size group and it works out better.”

Bozsum expects a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the property in a little over a year. He also revealed that the Mohegan Tribe has not proposed additional gaming space with the expansion, but noted that once the hotel is up and running, that aspect of business would be reviewed.

Some credit “Jersey Shore” with reviving MTV, a network that was trying to find its place in pop culture after “The Real World” ratings dwindled, “The Hills” came to an end, and music videos became an online, on-demand commodity.

But, it almost didn’t happen. The original concept for “Jersey Shore” was actually intended for VH1.

“When I applied for it, there was actually a VH1 application,” revealed Seaside Heights star Vinny Guadagnino. The Staten Island-born partier sat down with me at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT before signing copies of his new book, Control The Crazy: My Plan To Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama, and Maintain Inner Cool. “It was asking for ‘orange’ people that have really spike-y hair and big muscles and stuff.”

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Offended that the casting directors thought all people who partied on the Shore looked like this, Guadagnino applied, despite lacking the tan, hair, and muscles. Producers loved him and the reality TV star was a part of the first show pilot, entitled “Guidos.” Initially, the plan was to take the “Flavor of Love” or “Rock of Love” dating competition model and apply it to Seaside Heights. But fearing that there was already too many shows similar on television, Viacom executives changed the concept to a more “Real World”-like model. Vinny was left, but some younger women, such as Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were brought in. Suddenly, the show was more MTV friendly.

“You need diversity in the cast,” explained Guadagnino. “You need a spectrum from light to tan (laughing). That’s why you pick me, because people want to identify with different types of people. So if you had all the same cast member, it wouldn’t really be an entertaining show, right?”

Probably not, and perhaps the series would not be gearing up for its sixth season. Filming in “the house” begins this summer.

“When I first started, I didn’t know what I was walking in to,” Vinny recalled. “Now at least I know who is going to be there. I know that ‘Snooki’ is pregnant and Mike [‘The Situation’ Sorrentino] was just going through something so, I just know as much as you do. I’m just going to go there and make the best of it.”

That “something” Guadagnino referred to is probably the reports that “The Situation” found himself in rehab, allegedly over addictions to alcohol and prescription pills. The abuse of drugs is one of many lessons Vinny touches on in his new book, as he tries to help others cope with anxiety issues.

“Whenever Mike does something bad, he always comes to me,” Guadagnino said. “He’s like, ‘Vin, I’m gonna do something.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright…’ because he knows that I’m going to give him “the look” afterwards.”

As Vinny found himself needing help, he went to an on-set therapist, who he refers to in the book as “Dr. B.” But not even a professional could prevent the anxiety from getting the best of Guadagnino, and he reveals in the book that it was his personal struggle that led him to temporarily leave the show during season five.

“When it was happening to me, they really didn’t know what to do,” said Vinny, before revealing that his cast-mates offered him amongst other things, strippers, to help him out. Guadagnino appreciated the sentiment but declined. “Anything that ever happens to you can be looked at as a positive thing because the reason why I know all this stuff and I have a book and that I’m very knowledgeable in spirituality is because I’ve gone through it.”

As he said earlier in the interview when referring to himself, Guadagnino truly is the “Dalai Lama” of the house on “Jersey Shore.” If nothing else, he certainly adds to the cast a diversity that he credits with the show’s success.