Tag Archives: Jewel

Celebrities Celebrate Beastie Besties at Hero Dog Awards

Dogs have always been man’s best friend, but it’s only been in the last few decades that we have started behaving as if it works both ways.  That’s an encapsulation of an idea that Betty White expressed last night, when she was honored at the Second Annual American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards — and Betty is one who would know.

The 90-year-old national treasure has been an animal lover throughout her lifetime, of course, going back to the days that, according to her, animal advocates were viewed as “a bunch of zealots” and our beastie besties were strictly considered beneath us.  Now, though, every year we’re discovering more capabilities of these wonderful creatures, Betty enthused.

Kristin Chenoweth presents a new line of greeting cards for dogs — not too seriously — at the Hero Dog Awards

At the Hero Dog Awards, many of these remarkable capabilities were celebrated, as eight Hero Dog honorees and their stories were introduced with the help of emcee Kristin Chenoweth (and her own dog, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth), Joey Lawrence, Jewel, Pauley Perette, Kellie Martin, Denise Richards, Naomi Judd, Mark Steines, Jake T. Austin and other celebs.

For instance, there’s Jynx, the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog honoree.  He was on duty with his handler, Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, and other officers in rough terrain — and the German Shepherd alone detected a bad guy lying in wait, ready to ambush the law men with a sub machine gun and a cache of other weapons.  Jynx alerted the deputies to the gunman’s presence, attacked the gunman — who nevertheless managed to fire several shots at Pagerly — and then attempted to pull his wounded master to safety.    Pagerly died at the hospital, but the other officers on the scene that day feel they owe the hero dog their lives.   Jynx now lives with Pagerly’s widow and baby daughter.   It was Mrs. Pagerly, only a few weeks pregnant when she lost her 28-year-old husband,  who tearfully accepted Jynx’ award — and a heartfelt standing ovation from the crowd.

There are stories of therapy dogs who’ve saved lives and brought troubled humans out of their shells, stories of courageous canines on the battlefield, dogs who’ve given people with disabilities ways to live normal lives.   Yes, have the hankies handy if you watch the Hero Dog Awards on The Hallmark Channel November 8.  Each honoree is loveable and deserving, unlike other awards shows we could name.

The Beverly Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where such galas as the Golden Globes take place, was again the setting for the Hero Dog Awards, with quite a few canines, large and small, there to enjoy the event first-paw.  (Whatever must those doggies have thought of being applauded by a ballroom full of people?)  The crowd feasted upon sauteed tenderloin of beef and seared citrus olive marinated filet of sea bass — and a dessert of espresso almond tiramisu in a chocolate cup, complete with white chocolate hero dog medallions.   For those who watched the first Hero Dogs Awards last year, with Carson Kressley as host — expect a more even program this year.

 

 

Kara DioGuardi Glad Songwriters Getting Attention on ‘Platinum Hit’

Jewel, Kara Dioguardi Bravo photo

Former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi returns to tube as a TV music competition judge May 30 — but on a brand-new show, Bravo’s “Platinum Hit.”  She tells us she didn’t think she’d be back “so fast, but I really loved the idea that songwriters were going to get some attention.”

Songwriter Evan Bogart (whose credits include Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Rihanna)” is one of the executive producers and creators of the show, she relates, and “he came to me about it.  I thought a songwriting show would be interesting, but how do you do it?”

Good question.  Watching contestants noodle around on a piano and scribble down ideas doesn’t sound like much of a show.  But that’s not what “Platinum Hit” is like, assures DioGuardi, who toplines with Jewel.  “Bravo is really great at creating drama and character development.  Part of what makes great songwriters is where they come from — their truth.  When you get to know their journey, you start to get emotionally involved.  There were some character revelations along the way of people’s back stories that were really compelling.  When they write from their truth — that’s when they really connect.”

DioGuardi wrote from her truth in her recently released “A Helluva High Note” memoir, including going through the hell of being molested as a young girl, and date raped when she was new in the music business.  Going public with her past has proven to be exceptionally moving — particularly in response from readers who said they were inspired to deal with, or talk about, their own similar traumas.

“That’s really why I wrote it,” she says.  “A lot of people write, ‘I’m glad you spoke about that.’  When you know someone else has gone through something, it helps to know you can get through it.  You’ve got to keep moving, keep going on.  You can’t let it get you down and stop you from living your life as you want, from pursuing your dreams.”

It’s an intense time for DioGuardi, who’s also awaiting word on the future of the USA Network “Big in Japan” series pilot on which she serves as producer.  “It’s about an old boy band, 10 years later, after the peak of their fame.  But they’re still always big in Japan,” she explains with a laugh.  Besides that, “I’ve been doing a lot of country writing,” says Kara, whose songwriting credits include tunes for the likes of Pink, Carrie Underwood, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Céline Dion.  “I’m loving it down in Nashville.  It’s a very song-centric industry.  Songwriters are revered down there.”

With it all, she admits, “I haven’t watched that much” of the current season of “American Idol.”  “It’s not because I’m not a big fan of them.  I am.  But that’s what I do every day — I have artists coming into my office all the time,” says Kara, executive vice president of talent development at Warner Bros. Records.  She’s quick to add, however, “I’ve been hearing great things about the show this season, especially about Steven Tyler.”