Pageant couldn't be finer for N.C.


North Carolina fans are pulling for the ultimate dream finish in the Miss America finals on Saturday.

A win by Miss North Carolina Amanda Watson or Miss Pennsylvania Kendria Perry, or vice versa, would mean a 1-2 finish for North Carolina, since both reigned as Miss Garner, a suburb of Raleigh.

Perry, Miss Garner 2007, crowned Watson Miss Garner 2008. Both are from Raleigh.

"Can you imagine the parade?" mused The News & Observer in Charlotte.

It would beat some stratospheric odds in the city of wild wagers, in more than one way.

North Carolina hasn't produced a Miss America since 1962, when Maria Fletcher was crowned.

Defying the odds, it's the second year in a row that North Carolina had two Miss America contestants.

Last year, both Miss North Carolina Jessica Jacobs and Miss Virginia Hannah Kiefer were from the same hometown -- High Point, N.C.

They attended the same dance school and were involved in other activities together.

Their connection gets even crazier. Minutes before the finals last year, Jacobs' father, who is a doctor, was credited with saving the life of Kiefer's mother, who had a heart attack.

Kiefer, unaware of her mother's condition, finished third runner-up, and Jacobs was fourth runner-up.

Kiefer and Jacobs will reunite at the pageant this weekend.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Candi Cazau, the director of publicity for the Orleans and Suncoast showrooms, was let go Wednesday. ...

Ventriloquist Terry Fator, who begins his resident headlining gig at The Mirage on Feb. 14, has a book signing today from 2-3 p.m at The Mirage Shop. A winner of NBC's "America's Got Talent," Fator has written an autobiography titled "Who's the Dummy Now?" ...

Free tickets to Saturday's finals of the Miss America pageant are available at the Web site www.ShowTickets 4Locals.com. ...

The biggest Oscar night party in Las Vegas will be at Rain Nightclub at the Palms on Feb. 22. Sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, Oscar Night ?America is the only Oscar? party in Las Vegas to be sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The party begins at 4 p.m. with guests walking the red carpet. Dinner is served during the telecast, which begins at 5:30 p.m. To register for an invitation: go to: www.secondbestoscarparty.com or call 702-987-3177. ...

A reunion of 2008 Miss America contestants will be held Friday at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops, with an 11 p.m. red carpet.

SIGHTINGS

Retired motocross star Carey Hart, presenting Make-A-Wish honoree Diana of Valley High School with a mounted and framed guitar from rock star Pink during an onstage celebration Wednesday at Wasted Space in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Pink had smashed the guitar during a concert. Diana, who has a heart condition that requires her to rely on a pacemaker, was granted the wish of being a rock star for a day and all that goes with it: a limo, hair and makeup makeover, paparazzi, security, the red-carpet treatment as well as performing a rock set in front of her "fans," a crowd of about 200 friends and family. Included in her set was Pink's "So What." Pink and Hart are no longer married but remain close friends. ... Self-proclaimed D-lister Kathy Griffin, dining at Fix (Bellagio) on Tuesday. ... Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler, at a VIP table at XS nightclub (Encore) on Monday. Also there: Reality TV stars Ryan Starr ("American Idol," "Surreal Life") and Beau Beasley ("Big Brother"), rapper Too Short and poker star David Williams. ... Snoop Dogg, kicking off Prive's new industry night. Also there: hip-hop artist Warren G and Too Short. ... At ESPN Zone (New York-New York) on Sunday, watching the NFL playoffs: San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and 2007 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Willis of the 49ers. ... Musician Vinnie Paul, co-founder of the heavy metal band Pantera, celebrating at the Vegas Passport's fifth anniversary party at Playboy Club and Moon Nightclub (Palms) on Tuesday.

THE PUNCH LINE

"Very cold in Washington. In fact, with the wind chill, President Bush's approval rating reached minus 13." -- Conan O'Brien

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

 

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