Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 5:28 p.m.
Rio magician headliner Penn Jillette was voted safe on Monday night’s fifth episode of “Rachael vs. Guy” on the Food Network. Now he goes into next week’s finals with fellow team member Florence Henderson to see which one wins the $50,000 prize for charity.
Penn is playing once again for our beloved charity Opportunity Village. On Monday night, his rival team member Vanilla Ice playing under UNLV food star Guy Fieri’s mentorship, was KO’d. Penn boosted his “Bites on the Boardwalk” challenge with a hot dog cart at Coney Island.
Amanda Freitag judged the contestants on their twist to French fries and then on their signature hot dogs. Next week, Las Vegas chefs Scott Conant and Todd English judge Penn and Florence on a three-course dinner they have to serve with a five-minute presentation to folks on a dinner cruise.
“It’s a case of sink or swim,” laughed Penn.
MORE MAGIC: “Believe” magician Criss Angel, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, won’t be hanging upside down tonight. Neither will he be the sole star onstage for the premiere of “Magic Jam” at his Luxor theater for a two-month limited engagement.
Criss revealed first details of the new show last week. His protege Krystyn Lambert, international close-up card conjuror Armando Vera, mentalist Banachek and magicians Nathan Burton, Jason Byrne and Russ Merlin will join him.
Criss told me that he’s taken the best of their solo acts, condensed them to 12 minutes and packaged them all as one star-studded and jam-packed magic show. Plus, he’ll unveil his new opening act from “Believe” when he returns with it to full duty in April.
MORE SHANIA: As superstar Shania Twain continues her second year of residency performances now through Feb. 15 at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, 21 more performances of “Shania: Still the One” scheduled for May 20-July 26 have been announced.
The newly announced performances go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. “Performing the first year of ‘Shania: Still the One” at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace was a dream come true for me. It’s so heartwarming to see fans from all over the world come to see the show night after night and to feel their support and love. I’m having such a great time in Las Vegas that I can’t wait to share more shows with fans,” said Shania.
SPANDEX SHINE: “Mamma Mia!” producer Judy Craymer arrives at the Tropicana on Wednesday morning to announce the return of the ABBA musical to a Strip residency. She’ll join with hotel owner and CEO Alex Yemenidjian to unveil a display of the Swedish pop group’s memorabilia and items from the musical seen in 38 productions in 14 languages in more than 400 cities.
It’s still celebrating 13 smash-hit years on Broadway, and the original West End spectacle is now in its 15th year, having reached more than 6,000 performances. Inside word is that the show will move into the Tropicana in mid-April, with rehearsals before a mid-May premiere, which will probably draw a rare appearance by two or more ABBA members. “Mamma Mia!” is one of the most successful musicals of all time, and the movie adaption with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan grossed $600 million.
WINTER WRITER: Nice to see former Las Vegas Associated Press writer Oskar Garcia on assignment at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — quite a journey and climate change from his new post in Hawaii!
Former MMA star Randy Couture, now an action-hero film hunk, was with reality-TV stars Horny Mike from “Counting Cars,” Rick Harrison from “Pawn Stars” and Michael Austin (“The Voice”) at the downtown D Las Vegas. Randy was with actress girlfriend Mindy Robinson for dinner at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Rick and Randy compared bald heads for a photographer, each saying that they were the better baldy.
Criss Angel premieres “Magic Jam” at the Luxor with an international lineup of magicians, mentalists and illusionists who have been featured on his Spike TV series “Believe.”
Broadway star and Grammy-nominated singer Pia Zadora becomes the fifth guest performer for a one-night-only, show-stopping finale with the cast of “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s. She continues in the footsteps of Taylor Hicks, Frankie Moreno, Holly Madison and Veronic DiCaire.
Our colleagues at Vegas Inc honor 16 leading local ladies at its annual “Women to Watch” at Hyde Bellagio benefiting Cancer Treatment Centers of America. My friend Kate Zhong, who is director of clinical research and development at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, is among the honorees.
Rachel Feinstein, Brant Tobler and Dan Gabriel headline the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday.
Steve Byrne headlines with the cast of his sitcom “Sullivan & Son” on TBS at Triple B on Fremont Street.
Spearmint Rhino dancers host at 1OAK in the Mirage.
Executive chef Billy DeMarco (La Cave at Wynn and La Comida downtown) talks about his latest hotspot, Crush at MGM Grand, his third Las Vegas restaurant with Jenna and Michael Morton.
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.
One of the most iconic resorts on The Strip, the Luxor pyramid invites curiosity while the resort’s interior rewards visitors with equal parts excitement, mystery and intrigue.
This 4,405-room resort features a wide variety of entertainment including world-famous dance crew Jabbawockeez (spring 2013), the Cirque du Soleil production CRISS ANGEL Believe, the provocative adult revue, FANTASY, the hilarious comedy of Carrot Top, Menopause The Musical and the exclusive LAX Nightclub.
The property also offers a spa and salon, wedding chapel and inviting pool complex and is connected to Mandalay Bay through The Shoppes at Mandalay Place — a collection of unique boutiques and restaurants.
With a 120,000-square-foot gaming area, delectable restaurants and top-notch nightlife and entertainment, Luxor provides an unparalleled travel destination.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.