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Even beauties get case of the nerves

Giuliana Rancic says we should cut pageant contestants a break if they say anything dumb at Wednesday’s Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

“Having been in two pageants myself in high school, I think people should know that the pressure onstage is so real,” the “E! News” anchor says.

“People should know that even if these girls blow their interview question, it is not a reflection of their intelligence, but most of the time, it is simply nerves getting in the way.”

Rancic says she still gets nervous before hosting red carpets and pageants.

“The whole live aspect is all very nerve-racking,” she says.

Miss Universe happens Wednesday at Planet Hollywood Resort. Dress rehearsal is 10 a.m. ($34). The main event is 5 p.m. ($69-$153). It broadcasts on NBC.

Departing Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola tells me she hopes to open a children’s center in her home country and start a charitable foundation and a fashion and cosmetics line.

Lopes will most miss her Miss Universe Organization “family.” But she also will miss glamorous little touches, such as her Miss Universe BlackBerry and a crew of beauticians.

“It is so nice having people do your hair and makeup for big events, so of course I will miss that,” Lopes says.

“I want my fans to know that if you want something badly enough, go for it! I never thought that this is where I would be in my life, and I am so incredibly grateful that I took the chance and went for my dream.”

STAR GAZING

NICE BOSS: Wednesday night, actor David Arquette will fly 40 staffers from his L.A. nightclub to Vegas to throw them a holiday party at the new risque club The Act in the Palazzo. Arquette is nice like that. I interviewed him a few years ago, and a few days later, he mailed me a really nice T-shirt with a thank-you note.

TWINKLE TOES: Nevada Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” is quite enjoyable at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, as writer Carol Cling noted in her review. The Arabian dance stole the show for me, as it does in so many “Nutcracker” productions. Holly Madison showed up all pregnant, holding a little nutcracker version of herself. “The Nutcracker” resumes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday ($29-$158). The Smith Center gets “Book of Mormon” in 2014.

WHAT’S ON SECOND?: The Who added a second Vegas show to its tour. Tickets are sold out for a Feb. 8 gig at The Joint. Now the band also plays Feb. 10 there. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for $100 to roughly $300.

POST-PUNKS: “Extreme Thing” festival (music, BMX, skating) returns March 30 at Desert Breeze Park, featuring New Found Glory, 3OH3, Asking Alexandria, Mindless Self Indulgence and other bands. Tickets go on sale for $10 at 10 a.m. Friday.

SIGHTINGS

Dr. Dre took his wife and friends to Tao Asian Bistro on Sunday night for bass, tuna, lobster wontons and desserts. … Miss Universe Lopes saw “KA” with six friends on Saturday.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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