Miss USA contest lands in Las Vegas

It’s official: Hard on the stiletto heels of the Miss America pageant comes the announcement that the Miss USA contest is landing in Las Vegas for the first time.

Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA franchise and Miss World competition, is holding the event at Planet Hollywood Resort, host of the Miss America event the past three years.

Trump is hoping to restore some luster to the Miss USA event after a scandalous stint by Tara Conner, the 2006 winner. Trump almost stripped her of the title after she admitted to underage drinking, drug use and sexual improprieties.

The announcement appeared Wednesday on the Miss USA Web site, www.missusa.com.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

UFC icon Chuck Liddell signs copies of his book, “Iceman: My Fighting Life,” from 6-9 p.m. today at the bar at the main entrance to the Mandalay Bay Events Center. It’s a ticketed event and tickets can be obtained only through advance purchase at The Reading Room at Mandalay Place. …

Twenty-five cast members from “Love,” the Beatles-Cirque du Soleil collaboration, will perform live at the Grammys 50th anniversary at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.The dancers and acrobats will be performing to a specially edited “A Day in the Life” from the “Love” album. The Grammy Awards will air on CBS at 8 p.m. on Feb. 10. …

I hear George Wallace might have a very famous guest on stage with him tonight at the Flamingo. They are old pals, and the mystery man is a regular headliner here. …

Poker icon Doyle Brunson has probably already framed my Wednesday column after reading a sighting at Ferraro’s that identified him as “former UFC champion and poker star Doyle Brunson.” Inadvertently omitted after “UFC champion” was the name Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the UFC light heavyweight champ. Either way, I’m flirting with a caning or a maiming.

SIGHTINGS

Steffi Graf, dining with friends at Vintner Grill on Wednesday night. … NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, posting the best single lap time of 26.87 seconds at the grand opening of Pole Position Raceway on Tuesday. Among the 300 who turned out: co-owners 2004 NASCAR champ Kurt Busch at ESPN/ABC Reporter Jamie Little, Al Unser Jr., Al Unser III, Blue Man Group, NASCAR’s Jason Leffler and Robby Gordon, X-Games Gold Medalist Ken Block, and four-time world hill climb champion Kerry Peterson, and Smashmouth’s Steve Harwell. … At Pure nightclub (Caesars Palace) on Tuesday: Jeff Gordon and Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, rapper Lil’ Jon, NASCAR’s Elliot Sadler, actor Tom Green, mixed-martial artist Frank Trigg, San Diego Chargers standout Shaun Phillips, and reality TV stars Chris Nunez and Jason Davis from hit show, “Miami Ink.” Trigg was spotted dining earlier in the evening at Company American Bistro (Luxor). … Actress Lily Tomlin, dining Tuesday at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars). … The “Mega Bubble Show,” making an appearance on “Oprah” on Tuesday. Multi-Guinness Book world record holder Fan Yang and his wife, Ana, open Saturday at the Steve Wyrick Theatre in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort. … Carol Linnea Johnson, Robin Baxter and Vicki Van Tassel, better known as the Dynamos of “Mamma Mia!” (Mandalay Bay) celebrated Van Tassel’s birthday at Border Grill on Tuesday. … NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray, with members of his team Roush Racing team Tuesday at Fast Lap Indoor Kart Racing. … At Moon (Playboy Club) on Tuesday: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, joining “Sunset Tan” star Janelle Perry and her galpals. Also at Moon: comedian Howie Mandel. … Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap, dancing until dawn Sunday at Piranha nightclub with Tina Turner impersonator Hot Chocolate, aka Larry Edwards. … “Hannah Montana” star Miley Cyrus, her mother, Tish, and sister, Noah, frolicking with the dolphins at the Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage during her Las Vegas visit 10 days ago. … The power dinner of the week: Joining Rick Feldman, president of the National Association of Television Program Executives, at Aureole on Monday were General Electric/NBC chairman Robert Wright; CBS President Nancy Tellem; Warner President Peter Roth; Fox TV President Bob Cook; MGM TV President Gary Marenzi; and William Morris COO Jim Wiatt. … At Charlie Palmer Steak (Four Seasons), the second most famous defense attorney in town, John Gotti’s barrister Bruce Cutler, dining solo in the lounge.

THE PUNCH LINE

“I feel bad for Stedman — what the hell do you get Oprah for her birthday?” — Jimmy Kimmel

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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