Miss Nevada adds bling to pageant

When flowers just aren’t enough, bring on the makeup bling.

Illusionist Criss Angel, the star of Bravo’s reality show hit "Mindfreak," showed up with jewelry Tuesday during a break in the Miss USA rehearsals. According to buzz around the pageant, Angel had some work to do to put the magic back in his relationship with Miss Nevada USA Veronica Grabowski.

Spies say she was seen Wednesday showing off some pricey-looking diamond earrings to fellow contestants. They match a big honking diamond Angel reportedly presented to the Texas beauty. She’s wearing it on the ring finger of her left hand, usually reserved for wedding and engagement rings.

"They’re not engaged," said Steve Flynn, who is Angel’s public relations rep.

Angel and Grabowski were spotted taking off during an 8 p.m. break Tuesday, reportedly to patch up some friction after published weekend sightings of Angel with Pamela Anderson at Elton John‘s show at Caesars Palace.

Grabowski was sequestered over the weekend with her roommate, Miss California Raquel Beezley, and the rest of the 51 contestants, who couldn’t have company until Tuesday. They arrived on March 26.

I asked a pageant official on Thursday to explain the sequestering policy.

"That word is kind of harsh," said Miss USA publicist Esther Swan. "What you’re calling sequestering, we’re calling ‘in production.’

"The rooms are locked down. They have roommates. We move in packs. All 51 girls, another 16 chaperones, security, there’s PR, there’s camera crews that go up for the productions."

Family members and loved ones start arriving at the end of the 10 days on "in-production" and are allowed to spend about an hour with the contestants leading up to the finals, she said.

Earlier in the evening, Angel may have stepped over the line during a chance encounter with a pageant judge. While Angel was chatting with Mike Mecca, CEO of Planet Hollywood Resort, in the valet area, Mecca’s wife, Sandy, joined them.

During the conversation, Angel said to Sandy Mecca, "I hear you are a judge. I hope you are going to give my girl high marks."

Sandy Mecca, during a telephone interview with me late Thursday, said she was immediately uncomfortable, "even though my judging responsibility had ended Sunday," the second day of preliminaries.

She recognized the conflict, she said, and requested that she and her husband part company with Angel.


A 40,000-square-foot nightclub will go into Steve Wynn‘s Encore, the sister property to Wynn Las Vegas, it was announced late Thursday. "It will be the greatest nightculb in the world," said Victor Drai, co-owner of Tryst at Wynn and the new club, which will be called XS. A December opening is planned. … KVBC-TV, Channel 3, entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs, who judged the preliminaries, predicts Miss Missouri Candice Crawford will win the Miss USA title tonight. She’s the sister of "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford. Others in Jacobs’ Top 5: Miss Texas Crystle Stewart, Miss Kansas Michelle Gillespie, Miss Massachusetts Jackie Bruno and Miss Rhode Island Amy Diaz. Jacobs is a former Miss Nevada USA and Mrs. United States. As for Miss Nevada, Jacobs said, "we were told she was unavailable to us for an interview." …

Vegas headlining legend Tom Jones will sing the Welsh national anthem at the Joe Calzaghe-Bernard Hopkins light-heavyweight title fight on April 19 at the Thomas & Mack Center.


Tickets for the Miss USA pageant still are available, by calling the box office (785-5055), going online at or purchasing them at the box office in front of Planet Hollywood Resort’s 7,000-seat Theatre for the Performing Arts. The show begins at 6 p.m. and will air at 9 p.m. on KVBC, Channel 3, on tape delay.


Donald Trump, getting his first look at the Miss USA venue Thursday and greeting the contestants. Donny and Marie Osmond, the pageant emcees, were busy rehearsing. … Heather Mills, fresh from a $50 million divorce settlement with The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, being interviewed in the Extra Lounge at Planet Hollywood Resort by Carlos Diaz, the Las Vegas correspondent for Extra, the TV entertainment news magazine.


"Politics is getting more and more exciting. According to insiders, Condoleezza Rice has been actively lobbying to be John McCain‘s vice presidential candidate. That’d be interesting: Condoleezza Rice, John McCain … kinda like Ebony and Ornery." — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at


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