Sunday, June 30, 2013 | 10:04 p.m.
Celine Dion at Veronic Voices at Bally's
Veronic performs as Edith Piaf
Celine Dion has a mischievous plan afoot if she ever takes unexpected absences from her resident headliner shows at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace: She would let singing impressionist Veronic stand in for her.
“I could take a few days off. Her voice is better than mine,” she joked to me on the red carpet at the official opening of “Veronic Voices” at Bally’s on Friday night.
There’s no question that the energetic, pint-sized French-Canadian singer can duplicate Celine perfectly and numerous other female singers, too — more than an astounding 50. And it’s Celine and her manager husband Rene Angelil who are backing Veronic’s new Strip production in an attempt to create a Las Vegas superstar.
I reviewed her show last week and said Veronic has “extraordinary talent, unstoppable energy and high-powered charismatic charm.” I wrote: “She is spellbinding. You can close your eyes and believe you are hearing the actual star, be it Anita Baker, Karen Carpenter, Cher, Susan Boyle, Adele, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, Tina Turner and Celine herself.
“There’s everybody from Mariah Carey to Dolly Parton to Shania Twain to Katy Perry and Billie Holiday, in all 55 of the best female singers in music history. It’s an unequalled repertoire. Her impressions of Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin will send goose bumps up and down your spine.”
At the red-carpet celebration of her official opening, celebrities alongside Celine, Rene and Veronic included Paris headliner Taylor Hicks, Chippendales at the Rio guest host Ian Ziering, Paris headliner Anthony Cools, Harrah’s headliner Chris Allen (“Defending the Caveman”), Harrah’s headliner Mac King, “Jubilee!” showgirls from Bally’s, Luxor headliner Carrot Top, Venetian headliners Human Nature, hypnotist Marc Savard, artist Michael Godard, singer Jon Secada and Stratosphere headliner Claire Sinclair.
Also there, “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian star Mark Shunock, who recorded the “mystery voice” who talks with Veronic during her show. Rene, who is a big enthusiast of impressionists, promised me that he wasn’t going to leave his wife for their new discovery. When I asked him to confirm Celine’s contract extensions to 2019 that I reported on March 26, he didn’t deny it, and, in the hubbub, I’m convinced he said that was the date, for a total run of eight years.
Our thanks to videographer Richard Corey and photographers Denise Truscello and Tom Donoghue for their coverage of Veronic’s official Las Vegas debut. A large contingent of French and Canadian TV crews, photographers and journalists flew in to cover the event.
Veronic effortlessly imitates the voices of Pink, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Annie Lennox, Rihanna, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and many, many more. Joined by her six backup dancers, affectionately known as the Voicettes, Veronic takes audiences on an unforgettable journey through the music of chart-topping female artists.
Twice during opening night, Celine led a standing ovation, cheering along with the audience. After the show, Sun Senior Editor Don Chareunsy reported that audience members mobbed Celine for photographs and that she graciously talked with a few lucky fans. Nightlife czar Victor Drai hosted the afterparty at his nearby, temporarily located Drai’s After Hours in Bally’s.
The large number of Veronic fans in Canada and Europe who have written me about her Las Vegas debut has pleasantly surprised me. Professional pianist and accompanist Francois Comeau summed up best: “Remarkable! She deserves her success. Veronic actually does more than 100 very distinct voices. The best is a heart-wrenching impression of Edith Piaf. She re-creates that unfailingly every time — stunning.
“Celine has performed Piaf’s ‘Love Comes Again’ on her tours, but when she heard Veronic perform it for a Montreal TV show, she was very emotional. This YouTube clip is mainly in French, but watch Celine’s reactions at the 4-minute mark.
“I have been an accompanist for 40 years, and, though I am not cruel, I can be merciless with my singers, demanding them to be the best when coaching them. Veronic is the one artist I would happily pay just to work with.”
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.