Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 | 5:55 a.m.
With five weeks to go before the 2013 Miss America Pageant airing on ABC from Planet Hollywood, officials this morning revealed their panel of seven esteemed judges who will crown the successor of 2012 Miss America Laura Kaeppeler of Wisconsin.
The judges for Miss America include four TV personalities, a member of Oprah Winfrey’s “Glam Squad”; Indiana’s first Miss America turned marketing professional and philanthropist; and a 2012 Olympic gold medalist. Each is an expert in one of the fields that a young woman must excel in order to be named Miss America.
This judges for the Jan. 12 pageant on the Strip are:
* “Dancing With the Stars” two-time professional dancer champion and four-time finalist Cheryl Burke, who works and parties in Las Vegas on occasion.
* My friend Mary Hart, who I worked alongside when she hosted “Entertainment Tonight” for nearly 30 years. She has been honored by American Women in Radio & Television for “exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of broadcasting and electronic media.”
The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation presented her with the Samaritan Award for her work with children’s charities. Mary also is an ambassador for Childhelp USA that combats child abuse.
* “Shark Tank” star and entrepreneur Daymond John. He is the founder, president and CEO of the global lifestyle brand FUBU with more than $6 billion in fashion industry product sales. He began it in the basement of his mother’s home, which he mortgaged for the $100,000 startup.
He has received more than 35 awards, including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year.
* “Good Morning America” weather anchor Sam Champion, who also hosts “Sea Rescue,” a weekly series broadcast nationally on Saturday mornings.
*Fashion designer Bradley Bayou, who has a ready-to-wear collection on QVC based on his book “The Science of Sexy.” Bradley is a member of Oprah’s Glam Squad and serves as an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association, promoting healthy body images in the media and fashion industry.
*World vault champion McKayla Maroney, who was a member of the United States’ 2012 Olympic women’s gymnastic team, aka “The Fierce Five.” She won a gold medal with her teammates performing an epic vault, but on returning home from London discovered that she had competed on potentially career-ending toe fractures, which required surgery, and a fibula fracture. In spite of these injuries, she joined the Kellogg’s Tour. She shot a guest-star role on the CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and will be shooting a second one shortly.
* And last but certainly not least, our favorite 2009 Miss America Katie Stam Irk, who became engaged just two days before crowning her successor here. Katie was Indiana’s first Miss America winner. Since her year of service, Katie has traveled more than 250,000 miles on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network and our armed forces promoting community service and involvement.
The celebrity panel will arrive in Las Vegas right after New Year’s, along with the 50 contestants and our Miss Nevada Randi Sundquist. They have the important task of evaluating the contestants from the preliminary competitions and private interview sessions through the final night of competition Jan. 12.
Meantime, the rival Miss Universe Pageant, which will be at Planet Hollywood on Dec. 19, has not yet revealed its judges, although I have learned that one will also be a female Olympic gold medalist. We expect those names by week’s end.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.