Friday, April 25, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Entertainment’s first ladies of music and song are ready to do battle this weekend all within a few thousand feet of one another on the Strip.
Reigning royalty Britney Spears returns to resume her “Britney: Piece of Me” residency at Planet Hollywood, while Latin pop princess Gloria Estefan joins Queen Latifah, Carole King, Rita Moreno, Jordin Sparks and Fantine at the Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena with Ricky Martin and Jon Secada.
Add tonight’s return of Celine Dion’s favorite Canadian vocal impressionist Veronic DiCaire to her Bally’s residency, and it’s a powerful sisterhood jackpot.
There are guys onstage this weekend, too, along with Ricky and Jon. Veterans Bobby Rydell, Tony Orlando and The Temptations can still show the youngsters how it’s done, while Eric Church keeps country alive in a sold-out show at the Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan.
Congratulations to magician Murray Sawchuck, who celebrates his second anniversary with a red-carpet gala Sunday at Tropicana’s Laugh Factory. Comedian Tracy Morgan is up the Strip at Treasure Island.
It’s food galore this weekend. There’s a veritable feast with Las Vegas Foodie Festival at the Lot opposite the Luxor with more than 50 food trucks, while Nevada’s largest craft beer party takes over the downtown Fremont East Entertainment District with the Great Vegas Festival of Beer.
Travel a little north to Mesquite for three days of the sixth-annual Smokin’ in Mesquite Barbecue Championships and Country Fest with line dancing, a mechanical bull, cattle calling and hot dog-eating contests.
Four of America’s top east-west chefs (two from the east and two from the west) will do battle for judges Shirley Chung and Jet Tila at Caesars Palace competing for the title of Supreme Asian Chef.
Eight top Las Vegas mixologists will compete at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore creating original Botran Rum cocktails for Francesco Lafranconi of Southern Wine and Spirits and celebrity judges Emilio Estefan and Tony Abou-Ganim to decide who wins an all-expenses paid trip to the distillery in Guatemala.
After a successful monthlong run of “The Tempest,” Rio headliner magician Teller waves a fond farewell to his restaged and reimagined Shakespeare play with its 20 tricks and illusions. The final three performances are all weekend at the tent outside the Smith Center, and then the incredible cast and crew move east for its Harvard premiere and presumed Broadway debut. Don’t miss it!
But it’s our four-legged friends who will tug at the most heartstrings Sunday with the Animal Foundation’s Best in Show at Orleans Arena. Dogs of all shapes and sizes will strut their stuff with Quad juggler showman Jeff Civillico as MC of the parade that winds up in a nearly 100 percent adoption rate.
Woof, woof! Now it’s time for us to bark out loud with our weekly runway show we affectionately title the Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, APRIL 25
Bobby Rydell is at Suncoast Showroom all weekend.
Tony Orlando is at South Point all weekend.
O.A.R. is at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq for three nights and Gogol Bordello for two.
“The Vegas Rocks Variety Show” taped for television spotlights “Forever Doo Wop” and “Forever Motor City” casts, singer Jeneane Marie and comedian Mark Scott at Boulder Station.
Nashville Unplugged features songwriter Jimmy Ritchey at Sunset Station.
The 22nd Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival with 14 artists (Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown and Rick Braun among them) is at the downtown Government Amphitheater for three nights.
Dustin Lynch is at Aliante.
Brillz is at Hard Rock Live! on the Strip.
Ghost is at Mandalay Bay.
Tracy Morgan is at Treasure Island.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Tickets go on sale for M.I.A. performing at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool on May 31; Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Los Lonely Boys at Pearl at the Palms on Aug. 1; and Keith Urban, Jerrod Niemann and Brett Eldredge at the Chelsea on Aug. 31.
“Veronic Voices” returns to Bally’s and launches local fundraising campaign “Lend Your Voice.” Opportunity Village is the first beneficiary, with new charity partners announced each month in the run through October.
Juggler Jeff Civillico’s Win-Win Entertainment group of Strip entertainers performing free for charity to raise funds for “Nevada’s Big Give” is at Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
Marvel Universe is at the Thomas & Mack Center for two days.
The three-day sixth-annual Smokin’ in Mesquite BBQ Championships is at Casa Blanca in Mesquite.
Our Power of Love pre-gala VIP celebration honoring Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan is at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center.
The Las Vegas Foodie Fest is all weekend, and those famous square sliders from White Castle are on the menu.
The first-anniversary weekend of celebrations continues at Hakkasan in MGM Grand with Tiesto, Rev Run and Ruckus.
Colby O’Donis is at Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Mario is at Haze in Aria.
DeadMau5 and those ears are back at XS in Encore.
SATURDAY, APRIL 26
The 18th Annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala hosted by Quincy Jones with yours truly as MC at MGM Grand Garden Arena honors Gloria and Emilio Estefan with performances by Queen Latifah, Carole King, Jordin Sparks, Rita Moreno, Fantine, Ricky Martin and Jon Secada. This is the year’s major fundraiser for our downtown Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Eric Church, in town earlier this month for the 2014 ACM Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, is at the Chelsea.
The Temptations are at Orleans Showroom for two nights.
Las Vegas Philharmonic — Masterworks V “Love Around the World” is at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center.
Soul Men starring Spectrum is at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center.
Thomas Rhett is at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
Little River Band is at Cannery.
The Rippingtons are at UNLV.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The Great Vegas Festival of Craft Beers is in downtown’s Fremont East Entertainment District.
The Eighth Annual Henry Prendes Charity Golf Classic is at Paiute Golf Resort saluting the Metro Police sergeant who died on duty protecting his community in 2006. Proceeds go toward construction of a 14-acre camp for at-risk youth.
Opportunity Village hosts its second-annual Spring Into Fashion garden party show, luncheon and boutique fundraiser in the gardens of Mike Tyson’s former home now owned by Equinet.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Four Las Vegas drivers are battling for the top spot.
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is at New York-New York to find a Nevada champion for Coney Island’s Fourth of July finals.
It’s the Supreme Asian Chef finale at Caesars Palace with judges Shirley Chung and Jet Tila.
Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas spins at Rehab by day and nearby Body English by night.
DJ Pauly D spins with a performance by Mya at Haze.
DeadMau5 is at Encore Beach Club.
Nas is at 1 OAK in the Mirage.
Tom Schwartz, Jax Taylor and Tom Sandoval of “Vanderpump Rules” are at Hyde Bellagio.
Daydream Pool Club opens at M Resort.
SUNDAY, APRIL 27
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The Animal Foundation’s 11th Annual Best in Show with more than 50 doggies up for adoption is at Orleans Arena.
Murray Sawchuck celebrates two years at the Tropicana with sidekicks “Fantasy” at the Luxor dancer and wife Chloe Crawford and Lefty, plus Strip performers.
The Wanted are at Rehab.
Hyde hosts the “Life Is a Beach” season-finale party. The day-into-night champagne showers and confetti cascades resume in October.
Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here with reports, photographs and videos of all the parties and performers, including our exclusive backstage wrap of Keep Memory Alive.
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 Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.
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.