Wynn Las Vegas oddsmaker John Avello made a beauty of a pick.
Stepping out of his area of expertise, Avello installed Miss California USA Alyssa Campanella, 21, as a 7-1 favorite.
Campanella, who moved from New Jersey to California a year and a half ago, won the 60th edition of the Miss USA Pageant on Sunday, a crowning achievement that Avello no doubt won't let his oddsmaking brethren forget anytime soon.
Avello, who put the odds up for entertainment purposes only, not for wagering, said he researched the field of 51, mostly through the Internet, and liked what he saw of her experience and personality.
"Plus she's Italian," Avello said.
He does his homework. He's twice had the winner of the Westminster Dog Show, out of approximately 160 entries each year.
Amy Sadowsky, longtime publicist and facilitator for Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl, gets some to-die-for telephone calls.
"My phone rang and this deep voice says, 'Can you keep a secret?' "
It was NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, with a special request, said Sadowsky, who was working the Miss USA pageant Sunday at Planet Hollywood Resort. Shaq said he was retiring in two weeks and he wanted to have his retirement party catered in Orlando by Buca di Beppo, one of Earl's holdings.
O'Neal's official retirement party is at the Palms' Moon nightclub on Saturday.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Notably absent from the finals was Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. A Miss Universe rep said some pressing business unexpectantly came up and he had to be in Europe. ... Word on the Strip is that someone in Crystal Harris' camp was recently shopping her for celebrity hosting in Las Vegas. Saturday's appearance at Wet Republic, for which she says she wasn't being paid, was most likely orchestrated to get the (beach) ball rolling. ...
Britney alert: Britney Spears will be hosting the grand opening of Nikki Beach, the pool venue at the Tropicana, on Saturday. The new and improved Trop continues to make a statement that they'll be a player.
Pat Sajak, "Wheel of Fortune" host since 1983, dining at N9ne Steakhouse (Palms) on Saturday. He was in town to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 38th annual Daytime Emmy Awards show on Sunday. ... At Marquee (Cosmopolitan) on Saturday: Scottish actor Gerard Butler, with friends. Also spotted: Bravo's Andy Cohen with friends and colleagues at a VIP cabana on the pool deck, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Leinart and hip hop legend Grandmaster Flash in the Boombox room. ... Sarah Silverman, checking out Jill Bryan's comedy show this weekend at the Crown (Rio). Bryan is the sister of Jimmy Kimmel, who dated Silverman for several years. ... Actress Mariel Hemingway, dining Saturday at Strip House (Planet Hollywood Resort). ... At Chateau on Saturday: MTV prankster Bam Margera and R&B singer Chingy, UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Mark Lash, jewelry designer for Celine Dion's new show.
THE PUNCH LINE
"When is the Fourth of July this year?" -- From David Letterman's Top Ten Questions Received by the Weber Grill Hot Line