Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.
We start the week with a few …
WICKED WHISPERS & RACY RUMORS
When I received first word well before the weekend that pop princess Britney Spears was flying here, I figured that she was getting married on yet another runaway Las Vegas trip. Not so fast!
I’m reliably told that it will be soon, but not this year -- probably springtime. I saw the “X Factor” judge while she was here over the weekend, and her engagement ring was still sparkling bright. She looked happy, glamorous and radiant.
Love is a grand thing.
SAUDI BEAUTY: This news will shake the sheiks of Saudi Arabia and the monarchs of Mecca. Gorgeous bombshell Zarinah James has agreed to represent Saudi Arabia in the Tropic Beauty World Finals featuring 90 international contestants Feb. 27 through March 2 at MGM Grand. The 25-year-old beauty graduated from University of Nebraska and now lives in L.A. and Miami with a successful Ford Modeling Agency career.
Her father is a Saudi businessman and her African-American mother a former military officer. She’ll take part in the bikini preliminaries, calendar shoot and $1 million blackjack tournament -- all certain to raise eyebrows. But she’ll also wear her country’s more modest national costume at our private judges’ reception.
UPCOMING DATES: Other important dates for your schedule: Fiery chef Gordon Ramsay is set to open his Caesars Palace gastropub on Dec. 10 and will return a week later to open his burger bistro at Planet Hollywood on Dec. 17. Doubtless the glamour girls competing in the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Hollywood will swarm it after their Dec. 19 NBC telecast.
The Miss America Pageant is on ABC from the same Strip property Jan. 12. Then the contestants entering the preliminary Miss Nevada strut their stuff Jan. 26-27. A new winner will take over from Las Vegas beauty Jade Kelsall to represent the Silver State in the Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood in June.
Master musician Carlos Santana began the final dates of his 2012 engagement at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay on Sunday night. He plays again Wednesday and through the weekend, plus, Nov. 16 and 17. Carlos returns Jan. 19 to start his 2013 dates.
HELLO, GORGEOUS: There’s a sense of disbelief that Barbra Streisand is 70 because she looks so great! There’s more disbelief when she says her Las Vegas stop at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday night was only the 89th concert she’s performed in just five tours: 1966, 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2012. During that time, she won two Academy Awards, five Emmy Awards, eight Grammy Awards for her 30 platinum and 51 gold albums and an honorary Tony Award, so she’s no slouch.
In fact, when it comes to singing, she’s the best. This was so fantastic, it couldn’t get any better. I loved her show, especially when she sang with trumpet titan Chris Botti and Italian tenor trio Il Volo. No wonder she received applause and standing ovations from Shania Twain and husband Frederic Thiebaud and Mike Tyson and his wife Kiki just a few seats back from the stage.
It became even more intimate after watching videos and photos of her earlier life when she introduced her son Jason Gould and sister Roslyn Kind for duets. I’ve never known her to be so personal and intimate with such a private glimpse into her life. She revealed that she will keep singing and possibly touring until her voice goes, and then she’ll return to writing.
She had her audience mesmerized with the perfect combination of music and lyrics, so why did she have to ruin it by taking a fun jab at Justin Bieber? Why divide the audience by politicking against Republicans and slamming Fox News? People paid very high prices for tickets to hear her legendary voice singing, not spouting election propaganda. Barbra is entitled to her party affiliation and political views, but they don’t belong on a stage in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
SANTA RUN GROWS: The Great Santa Run that began here as an annual December fundraiser for our beloved charity Opportunity Village expanded when Liverpool, England, and Tasmania, Australia, joined the battle. Now I’m hearing that the residents of Osaka, Japan, will officially compete Dec. 1 as our red-clad runners assemble at Town Square.
That’s the same day that Shania Twain kicks off her residency at Caesars, so join us in the morning to play Old St. Nick and then in the evening for Canada’s country superstar songbird. We need more than 12,000 Santas to retain the coveted title of world champion.
JUST ASKING: What Strip star over the weekend didn’t sell out as expected; insiders told me they couldn’t give the tickets away.
Is it true that contract language is all that stands between the Flamingo and a local magic act to take over not only the showroom every afternoon but also to fill in when Donny & Marie Osmond have their extra day off a week and when they are out on tour starting in January in England?
Is the proposed Plaza once planned for Frontier opposite Steve Wynn’s Encore about to become history? The Israeli owners look ready to give up on their dream as their plan to restructure $1.2 billion in loans to $250 million over 10 years has been rejected by the banks that funded the original purchase.
LAS VEGAS SIN GAMES: The lusty Lingerie Football League ladies of the Las Vegas Sin have set June 22 as their home opener for the summer season, and they’ll do battle against the Green Bay Chill. They also play the Los Angeles Temptation on June 29, Seattle Mist on July 20 and Chicago Bliss on Aug. 2. You can meet team members tonight in a fan session at Deuce Lounge in Aria.
WOMEN’S BOXING: Spies tell me that there’s a definite move underway to promote female boxing as the next big sport from Las Vegas. The WBO world super-bantamweight champion Ana Julaton has moved here and is working out regularly at UNLV’s boxing gym. Check her out at AnaJulaton.com.
NEW OLD-TIME SHOW: “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” performers Jonathan and Marisa Gorst quickly created their own show when they heard the news that the Venetian musical was ending its six-year run. Jonathan was the assistant orchestra conductor, and Marisa was in the ballet chorus. They’ve created Grand Ole Vegas Revue, which draws inspiration from Vaudeville Theater of the early 1900s, and it’s found a home in the Plaza showroom. He plays piano and she dances, and the revue features songs, dances, comedy, mandatory pratfalls and whoopee cushions.
CIRQUE, MATT & THE MAYOR: Former Mayor Oscar Goodman joined wife Mayor Carolyn Goodman on a trip to London for the World Travel Market, where they promoted Las Vegas tourism. Caesars Palace singer Matt Goss, two showgirls and performers from Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson touring “Immortal” provided entertainment at Sunday night’s dinner for British travel writers.
Oscar is hoping he can get Queen Elizabeth II to meet with Carolyn while there. They met Stanley Johnson, father of London Mayor Boris Johnson. On Wednesday, they’ll get a tour of the British Houses of Parliament.
“Top Chef” Season 10 contestant and kitchen queen Carla Pellegrino hosts “Bachelor” star Ben Flajnik and his wines at a pairing dinner in her Henderson restaurant Bratalian, with sexy singer Stephanie Sanchez providing entertainment.
Ralph Harris headlines Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand with Aida Rodriguez through Sunday.
The fabulous cultural institution Ballet Folkloric de Mexico is at Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
The Russian trio Swanky Tunes perform with Chemistry at XS in the Encore.
Dirty South is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Tennis legend John McEnroe reveals secrets of the Nov. 17 Power Shares Tennis Series and his goal to defeat hometown hero Andre Agassi at Mandalay Bay. Plus, a preview of NASCAR driver and Las Vegas resident Kurt Busch in a new controversial documentary, and chef Wolfgang Puck unveils his line of wines and explains why he’s giving away the profits.
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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