Daily Archives: April 11, 2010

It happened: American Idol contestants invaded Las Vegas!

What Las Vegas Backstage Access reported yesterday, came true:  Season 9 “American Idol” finalists were spirited quietly away on an overnight trip to Las Vegas.  

On Friday the finalists arrived and took in Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis” show and then they took over the stage on Saturday for a critique and mentoring by Adam Lambert, Season 8 “Idol” runner-up. 

Lambert flew in from Vancouver to meet the contestants, who rehearsed Elvis hits such as “Viva Las Vegas.” Lambert told them not to be afraid to jump out of character. 

Season 9 finalist Crystal Bowersox was standoffish at the Friday meetup, eating by herself at the Aria buffet as other fellow contestants ate together. 

No photos were released of the “Viva Elvis” event and security personnel went so far as to temporarily confiscate cell phones for most of their three-hour stay in the Elvis theater at Aria. 

The “Idol” contingent left about 6 p.m. on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, across town at Sam Boyd Stadium, Season 8 winner Kris Allen tweaked Lambert during Pet-a-Palooza, which drew an estimated 28,000 happy four-legged beast owners {also reported by Las Vegas Backstage Access yesterday}.

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American Idol Heading to Las Vegas?

The top nine of “American Idol” just may be going to Las Vegas for Elvis Week! 

At least that’s what the latest rumors say. According to The Wrap, gay glam-rocker Adam Lambert and the season 9 crew may convene at the Aria Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip for Lambert to mentor Idol hopefuls.  Aria happens to house Cirque du Soleil’s new “Viva Elvis” show.

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Atomic Bomb Airman Dies in Las Vegas

Morris R. Jeppson, a weapons specialist who armed the atomic bomb aboard the Enola Gay as it headed for Hiroshima, died at the age of 87. 

Family members said Jeppson died March 30 at a hospital in Las Vegas after being hospitalized for back pain and a severe headache, The Washington Post reported. 

Jeppson, known as “Dick,” was a 23-year-old Army Air Forces second lieutenant when he flew his first and only combat mission aboard the Enola Gay, which dropped the bomb Aug. 6, 1945 on Hiroshima, resulting in 100,000 deaths and injuries and the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II. 

The bomb had to be armed in flight to prevent accidental detonation during the plane’s takeoff. Jeppson, the weapons test officer, armed the bomb’s electrical system, pulling out safety plugs and replacing them with firing plugs. His boss, Navy Capt. William S. Parsons, installed the charge that would be fired into the weapon’s uranium core. 

Jeppson would later recall the flash as the bomb exploded. “No joy at that point,” he told Time magazine in 2005. “But it was a job that was done.” 

After receiving the Silver Star, Jeppson worked as a civilian in electronics and applied radiation. 

Jeppson was born in Logan, Utah, June 23, 1922, and joined the Army Air Forces, hoping to become a pilot. But after he failed the vision test, the military sent him to electronics and radar training programs at Yale, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Jeppson received a bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for the university’s radiation laboratory and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He then founded two companies — one that built linear accelerators and another that made industrial microwave ovens. 

He had lived in California before moving to Las Vegas about 20 years ago.

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Academy of Country Music Awards Brings Oodles of Celebs to Las Vegas

Brooks & Dunn, Lady Antebellum, Randy Houser, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and Montgomery Gentry are just some of the many country music stars planning to participate in the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards In Las Vegas starting on April 18. 

Honoring country music’s top talent and the industry’s hottest emerging talent, to be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 18 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. In addition, the Academy will tape an all-star concert special, ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn – The Last Rodeo at the same location on Monday, April 19, to air at a later date on the CBS Television Network. Both shows are produced for television by Dick Clark Productions.

The list of events includes the ACM Concerts at Fremont Street Experience, the ACM Chairman’s Ride, a special USO performance, All-Star Jam and more. 

Some details are as follows, with timing information to be released later: 

Friday & Saturday, April 16 & 17

ACM Concerts at Fremont Street Experience – For the 4th year in a row, the Academy of Country Music presents concerts at Fremont Street Experience! Featuring headlining performances by Lady Antebellum on Friday and Miranda Lambert on Saturday, these free and open-to-the-public concerts start at 6:30pm on two stages in downtown Las Vegas.  For the 2nd year in a row, winners in each of the newcomer categories Top New Solo Vocalist, Top New Vocal Group and Top New Vocal Duo will have the chance to perform at Fremont Street Experience during these concerts. 

Saturday, April 17 

ACM Chairman’s Ride – This event has grown from its inception and for the second year will be an invitation-only event for artists and industry VIPs to experience a scenic ride through the gorgeous Nevada landscape. ACM/The Home Depot Humanitarian Award honorees of 2010, Montgomery Gentry, will host the ride for the 6th time this year. The event benefits ACM Lifting Lives. Event details and timing will be made available only to invited, registered participants.

USO Concert in Partnership with ACM Lifting Lives™ – For the first time ever, ACM Lifting Lives (the Academy’s charitable arm) is partnering with the USO to bring a free, private concert to the service men and women of Nellis Air Force Base just outside of Las Vegas, NV. USO tour veterans Montgomery Gentry and Randy Houser are scheduled to perform for the crowd. The event will be open to all military ID holders and media credentialed specifically for this event. 

Sunday, April 18 

45th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS – Hosted by Reba McEntire for a record 12th time and featuring the hottest performances by today’s superstars of country, the Awards will once again take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

ACM All-Star Jam – This raucous, no-holds-barred jam features impromptu performances from the artists who participate in the Awards. Past performers have included Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Evans, Jack Ingram, Jewel, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, James Otto, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Dwight Yoakam and more. 

Monday, April 19

ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn – The Last Rodeo – Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, the best-selling duo in the history of country music, will receive the Academy’s Milestone Award in recognition of their 20-year, record-breaking career during this tribute concert special. They will be honored for holding the record for the most wins of any artist in the Academy’s history with 26 awards in total, including three Entertainer of the Year awards. They will also be honored for holding the record for most Top Vocal Duo wins, with 15 awards, eight of which are consecutive from 2000-2007. Artists already scheduled to perform at the taping include superstars Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. Details on special elements of the show and more performers that will be added will be announced at a later date. Tickets are still available for this show, which benefits ACM Lifting Lives and will air at a later date on CBS Television Network from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. For information on tickets visit www.Ticketmaster.com

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