Jennifer Lopez returned to the stage and Regis Philbin continued his goodbyes from the screen in what turned out to be a memorable weekend in celebration of Mohegan Sun’s 15th anniversary.
The Uncasville, CT resort hosted a tribute dinner to the TV icon Friday night. Philbin admitted to me that his pending departure from “Live!” is starting to dawn on him. But don’t worry, he didn’t become too serious about it.
“I feel like crying,” joked Philbin to me after the dinner. “I’m going back to my room and I’m going to cry, right now!”
Of course, no celebrity celebration is complete without a cake from Buddy Valastro. “The Cake Boss” presented Philbin on stage with a cake designed as a television. Valastro told me he baked the piece back in New Jersey.
“To bring (the cake) to Mohegan Sun is no problem,” Valastro explained. “We’ve delivered cakes out to Vegas, or L.A. That’s tough.”
The TLC star also brought a cake for the resort’s birthday. While appearances by the “Cake Boss,” Bobby Flay, Philbin, and cast members of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” were all big hits, it was Jennifer Lopez’s Saturday night performance inside Mohegan Sun Arena that proved to be the highlight of the weekend.
“She inspires me,” admitted “Glee” star Lea Michele, who caught the performance. “I look at her and I go, ‘I wanna do that. I wanna be like that.’”
It is that star power that put JLO at the top of the list for performers that Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum wanted to headline the weekend. The Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe Council told me that it wasn’t too uncommon for the resort to house an artist for a week, like Lopez, to accommodate for rehearsals, meals, and other needs.
“She’s the hottest thing out there right now, in more ways than one,” said Bozsum. “Between ‘American Idol’ and her new album and all the stuff she’s doing, I think she’s the number one artist in the country.”
Many other celebrities stopped by Mohegan Sun to take in Lopez’s performance, including New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg, married couple Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, and Jaime Pressly. After the show, both Minnillo and Pressly offered rousing reviews of JLO’s show.
“It was awesome, it was incredible,” said Pressly. “Very entertaining.”