You would think that since Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and the Will Smith family vacation in Utah that some seriously big names would show up for a celebrity race but it was more of a family affair for this year's Operation Smile Celebrity Ski Challenge.
There were quite a few more kids (instead of adults) going neck and neck and significantly less recognizable faces at Canyons Resort this weekend. Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Lucy Hale- Operation Smiles' headliners and biggest draw were no shows. Last year, you had Billy Bush announcing with the same glib, jovial finesse he has on Access Hollywood but this year, Utah native and host of Spike TV's Flip Men filled in for Bush and the spirit of this fun spring event waned.
Still, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz (Arte and Tina from Glee), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Kate Walsh (Private Practice) and Mark Eaton took turns arcing in the slush near the bottom of Doc's.
Smile's Ambassador Zachery Levi (the voice of Flynn Rider in Tangled) also stepped in but without popular stars like Modern Family's Ty Burrell and Jessie Tyer Ferguson (Phil and Mitchell) and Monteith combing the Plaza there was a definite lack of star power. Which is too bad considering the attention this charity deserves.
Operation Smile has provided more than 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults throughout the world born with facial deformities. One in every 10 children born with a cleft will die before their first birthday. The children who survive might be unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. They're teased and, worse, rejected.
Vampire Diaries' Michael Trevino showed his support this weekend. (Apologies for the background noise).
This year's event raised enough money to help more than 900 kids. But it could be more. My fingers are crossed that more Hollywood TV stars hear how much fun it is to come to Canyons, make turns and support a worthy cause that they sign up for next year's event. Just the same, the crowd enjoyed themselves, raised money for a charity that literally puts smiles on the faces of kids throughout the world and, with any luck, next year's event will lure back Rachel and Finn, Phil and Mitchell.
P.S. How cool would it be to see Alec Baldwin take on Donald Trump and John Krasinski hand it to Mariska Hargitay. It's completely plausible seeing as how NBC President Jennifer Salke and her teenage son Henry created this event. And while you're at it, Guys, can you please talk Finn and Rachel into doing a duet on the stage after the race?