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Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 | 4:28 p.m.
It’s a gift from Santa Claus for the contestants of NBC’s hit “The Voice.” Mentor judge and superstar singer CeeLo Green is planning to have 19 present and former winners and hopefuls from the show’s first three seasons at the Planet Hollywood taping of his Christmas special with Rod Stewart and the Muppets on Wednesday.
He’s just signed Season 2 finalist Juliet Simms to a management contract, and his entire Season 3 team will be in the special, which promotes his Oct. 30 release of his first-ever Christmas album “Magic Moment.” Fellow “Voice” coach Christina Aguilera sings with him on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
Tonight, the battle rounds begin, and CeeLo and host Carson Daly get into their own royal rumble in the ring on the two-hour episode. Our interview with CeeLo on a break from rehearsals today for the Christmas special will be posted Tuesday, along with his sneak preview of “Loberace” that starts at Planet Hollywood in February.
POKER PROBLEM$: An $11 million win by Las Vegas poker pro Phil Ivey at a private 184-year-old London gambling club is sending shock waves through the global gaming industry. Phil, 35, who’s mother lives here, won the haul during seven hours of play over two days, but Crockfords isn’t paying up -- at least just yet. Six weeks after the marathon play, the casino has returned only the $1.5 million he put up. Investigators from London and Malaysia, where Genting, owners of the world’s oldest private gaming club, is headquartered, have begun an inquiry into the win.
Staff, croupiers and security have been questioned, videotapes examined and the cards and shoe scrutinized. So far, Phil’s lawyers are still trying to find out what he’s accused of and why the winnings haven’t been transferred to his bank account. No explanation or comment from Crockfords, either! Phil played a version of baccarat known as punto banco -- the sister game to chemin de fer (James Bond’s favorite!).
POLYGRIND FILM FESTIVAL: The Third Annual PollyGrind Film Festival kicked off over the weekend with its second Zombies blood-red carpet walk, an art show and a concert headlined by the Objex. More than 140 films will be screened during the festival, which runs through Oct. 22 and includes 13 world premieres. Admission is free, but organizers hope to raise 1,000 pounds of canned goods from film fans for our food bank Three Square.
Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil is back home here today and now reveals that his foot was broken in two places -- and too difficult for a cast, so he has to wear a boot. He describes it as “awkwardly hopping.” I’ll get more details when I have dinner with him Tuesday, but he says that he didn’t cancel one KISS-Motley Crue tour show.
Just asking if “Hot Legs” singer and Caesars Palace headliner Rod Stewart is in negotiations for a chain of pubs, with the first to be opened here?
Actor-comedian Eddie Griffin, who performs his four-hour marathon comedy routine “Comedy Without a Condom” at the Rio the first three nights of the week, has completed his movie “Mucho Dinero” for a January release. His next film is “Mojo,” and he joins Mike Tyson for a Shade Tree Christmas benefit at MGM Grand on Dec. 9.
Congratulations to the celebrated restaurants Picasso and Le Cirque at the Bellagio for winning 2013 AAA Five Diamond Awards. The hotel also won the award for the 12th consecutive year.
ADULT VIDEO ANTICS: “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s management team has notified the Adult Video News Awards that he won’t be the host after all at the Hard Rock Hotel in January. Porn princesses Jesse Jane and Asa Akira will handle the duties in his absence. The expo celebrates its 15th year with temptresses Tori Black, Lisa Ann, Teagan Presley, Misty Stone and Jessica Drake set to cut the ribbon Jan. 17.
Meantime, hometown vixen Sunset Thomas has inked a deal with Wholesale Travel Planners to book rooms, flights and passes to this years AVN events. The carnal queen laughed: “I don’t wear a lot of clothes, but I do wear lots of hats. This is just the beginning. I envision all sorts of Sin City-themed sex-capades in the near future. With all the strip clubs, an Erotic Museum, ‘Karaoke XXX,’ ‘Crazy Girls,’ ‘X Burlesque,’ a thriving swingers scene -- Vegas is the undisputed Sex Capital of the World.”
SMOOTHIE STARS: The first Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the Strip has become a tourist and locals magnet, and who would have guessed the team behind the counter could have a future star among them. Panic at the Disco singer Brendon Urie worked at TSC in Summerlin, and actress Megan Fox’s first job was in one of the Florida outlets where she dressed in the banana suit.
Meet celebrated modern mixologist Tony Abu-Ganim at the inaugural 2012 Beverage Blowout pool party at the Plaza.
Less Than Jake, Mad Caddies and Flat Food 56 are at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.
Red Bull executives are entertaining delegates from the National Association of Convenience Stores Convention with customized racing experiences with Skip Barber Formula cars at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Our exclusive interview with CeeLo as he plays Santa, and boy does “Mr. Grinch” have surprises in his sack of goodies! His “Loberace” is just step one in his plans to conquer the Strip. Plus, the gorgeous girls of “Crazy Horse Paris” have a future here, and our wrap of the third and final day of Food & Wine feastings.
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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