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Sunday, April 7, 2013 | 10:46 p.m.
The week that “Vegas Goes Country” leading up to today’s 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena was jam-packed and included Jewel’s concert at The Orleans Showroom, The Band Perry at The Orleans, Fremont Street stars, golfing for charity with Darius Rucker and an archery shootout with first-time ACM Awards co-host Luke Bryan.
Luke hosted Cabela’s Great Outdoors Archery Event at The ACM Experience in the parking area of The Orleans Arena, which brought together country artists, military personnel and fans in an archery exhibition featuring 3D and traditional targets.
ACM Awards nominee Jason Aldean, plus, Kix, Easton Corbin, Chris Janson, Angie Johnson, Dustin Lynch, Justin Moore, Jon Pardi, Danielle Peck, Thomas Rhett and A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” stars Willie Robertson and Jep Robertson tested their skills and knowledge on bow hunting using Cabela’s archery equipment.
Luke warmed up by aiming his arrows at a photograph of his telecast co-host Blake Shelton. Afterward, he shot a friendly competition with Jason, Willie, and Jep, and the foursome stuck around for autographs and photos with fans.
Singer Jewel entertained the crowd with an acoustic set and a Q+A that included a sneak peek of scenes from the upcoming Lifetime movie “Ring of Fire,” in which she stars as June Carter Cash. Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson and Kix Brooks were in the audience. Jewel talked about the influences that June and Johnny Cash had on country music and how she prepared for the role while balancing being a new mom.
She revealed that she didn’t straighten her teeth as fans believed for her transformation into June but said that she wore dentures so her trademark “snaggletooth” wouldn’t distract viewers. “I was smiling like a beauty queen in the mirror because I had never seen myself with straight teeth!” she laughed.
John Carter Cash joined her for a performance of “Storms Are on the Ocean” and talked about how he “felt the spirit of his mom in The Orleans Showroom,” In addition to singing “Wildflower,” Jewel performed “My Father’s Daughter” and brought the house down at the end of the night by singing “Ring of Fire” and yodeling an old folk song from her childhood.
“Ring of Fire” premieres on Lifetime on May 27.
The Band Perry
THE BAND PERRY
The highlight of the ACM Party for a Cause to raise awareness and funds to Feed America and Outnumber Hunger was The Band Perry’s performance again in the parking zones of The Orleans Arena. Our thanks to Ryan Seacrest and Mark Cuban’s new cable TV network AXS for this YouTube posting:
Greg Bates, Cassadee Pope, Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert and Justin performed for thousands of country fans under the stars. FGL hyped up the crowd with “Wanna Be a Baller” so much so that female fans went wild during “Dirt Road” and threw bras onstage.
Cassadee sang her new single “Champagne,” and Brantley dedicated “Fight” to fiancee Jana Kramer, who was watching his performance. TBP ended the night with an acoustic version of The Lumineers’ hit “Ho Hey” and had the crowd, including Dog “The Bounty Hunter” Chapman and Brett Eldredge, singing along.
Country queens were in abundance at Shania Twain’s resident show “Still the One” at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace on Saturday night. Photographer Denise Truscello had exclusive backstage access post-show of Shania with Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE
Thousands of country fans packed into Downtown’s Fremont Street Experience for the free concerts on two stages. Derek Stevens, owner of The D Hotel, posed with Jana before she hit the stage outside his casino. Jake Owen was at full throttle for his Fremont fans under the stars in perfect nighttime temperatures.
For the second consecutive year, Darius Rucker hosted the ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic benefit, the seventh since the first in 2004. Spotted out at TPC Summerlin greens: Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum), Scotty McCreery, Jake and Brett. They competed against music execs and other industry folks to raise funds for those in need.
PBR ROCK BAR
Fans on the Strip saw country stars up close, too. There were music performances on the PBR Rock Bar outdoor patio stage with blonde beauty Jordan Allena, who wowed the crowd with her songs, and then waded right into them for photos and autographs. “American Idol” contestant Morgan Leigh rocked the stage and celebrated with her band by taking a ride on the mechanical bull. Ray Scott ended the night with “Gotta Quit Drinkin’ ” and “Those Jeans.”
Check back Monday for coverage of the 2013 ACM Awards.
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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True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.