Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.
It’s a remarkable new talent contest and a first in showbiz history. Superstar entertainer Barry Manilow is going to give one person 15 minutes of fame on the Strip alongside him onstage in his headliner show at the Paris. Barry, who celebrated his 100th performance there over the weekend, wants people who think they have what it takes to perform with him onstage to send him YouTube audition videos -- details are at BarryManilow.com.
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He’ll review and provide the winner with airfare for two here and send his own limousine to and from McCarran Airport. Barry will pick up the tab for their three-night stay at the hotel complete with food and beverages. Then he’ll host with two behind-the-scenes, all-access, front-row tickets to his show, and then the big night itself when the winner performs onstage with him.
I’ll drop by to interview the newly discovered star! The contest ties in with Barry’s new album 15 Minutes, his first of original songs in a decade. Here’s his YouTube introduction to the music:
*While on the subject of talent, I have to tell you about 10-year-old Ethan Bortnick from Florida who is about to become the youngest entertainer ever to headline his own show in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton for two nights -- July 22-23. The youngster has already made history as the youngest musician, composer and entertainer to headline a national concert tour and created and hosted his own award-winning, nationally televised concert special on PBS.
“Ethan’s incredible talent is truly amazing at such a young age. We couldn’t be more proud to have him here,” said Hilton Executive VP Ken Ciancimino. “Ethan’s imagination and ability to create music from stories is unbelievable,” said Quincy Jones. In addition to appearing on late-night TV talks shows, Ethan has helped raise more than $30 million for charity.
*The 2011 Las Vegas Film Festival with more than 40 films and documentaries will run for four days this July 14 at the Hilton. Kicking off this year’s festival will be the premiere of The Story produced by The Ski Channel starring ski legends, and Olympic gold medalists Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn will lead a parade of celebrities and filmmakers on the red carpet.
*The mysterious Area 51 government site near Las Vegas has always been the subject of massive controversy and speculation because of its alleged dealings with UFOs. Now my good friend Lee Spiegel has written an amazing AOL article about investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen’s new book Uncensored History: Area 51 just published by Little Brown & Co. It’s shocked some of the retired test pilots, military personnel and engineers at the fabled Nevada installation.
*Country music’s top touring act last year, Tim McGraw, is back out on the road yet again, and tonight he makes a stop at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel, where Brantley Gilbert will open for him. Tim has dominated the charts with 32 No. 1 singles, including his latest “Felt Good on My Lips.” His most recent studio album Southern Voice debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
*Three thousand performances of a one-man show has to be something for the world record books. Tonight, comedy actor and mindreading magician Kevin Burke celebrates that magnificent milestone with a red carpet, celebration cake and of course his Defending the Caveman at Harrah’s. If you haven’t seen the show yet, it’s a must because it really does explain the differences between men and women when it comes to love, lust and marriage.
*A new 280-page book titled The World of Las Vegas Dining has just made its debut and, authors John and Laury Bakie compiled great photos with their writings over two years of research. John is a food magazine publisher from New Jersey, and his first-page comments describe their mission: Chef by chef, restaurant by restaurant and cuisine by cuisine, we uncover the mystique behind Las Vegas’ culinary landscape in The World of Las Vegas Dining. This is the book that will immortalize Las Vegas as a first-class epicurean wonderland.
“Some of the chefs featured include Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller, Bobby Flay, Joel Robuchon, Charlie Palmer, Nobu, Todd English, Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michael Mina, Masa Takayama, Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Roy Yamaguchi, Pierre Gagnaire, Hubert Keller, Jose Andres and more.
Playboy Radio starlet Jessica Hall hosts Week 4 of the $100,0000 bikini contest at Chateau Nightclub & Garden in the Paris. … Comedian Wheels Parise returns to Crown Theater at the Rio for three nights.
Will country superstar Shania Twain make a special announcement via closed-circuit broadcast on her Internet site about debuting her show on the Strip? Check back at high noon here tomorrow for the news. Plus, our preview of Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono’s visit here for the star-studded red carpet festivities to mark the 5th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil Love at the Mirage.
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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