Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 6:03 p.m.
It was a unique landing strip sight at our private jet area of McCarran Airport late Wednesday afternoon.
Within five minutes, three planes landed, and out stepped none other than Britney Spears and Rod Stewart to resume their headline Strip concerts at Planet Hollywood and Caesars Palace, respectively, and Celine Dion returning home to Lake Las Vegas from a Bahamas vacation.
“We get a lot of moguls and millionaires arriving almost simultaneously, but never have we had such star power all at once midweek,” I was told.
BILLBOARD UPDATE: Perhaps the only one missing was Shania Twain, but she’d landed a couple of hours earlier for her appearance as a presenter on Sunday at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Grammy-winning rapper and actor Ludacris (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) was announced Wednesday as host of Sunday’s awards. John Legend is one of the performers while supermodel wife Chrissy Teigen will be one of the presenters, joining Shania, Sarah Hyland and “The Bachelorette’s” Andi Dorfman.
Robin Thicke was added to the lineup this morning, and that poses an interesting question since Miley Cyrus also will be there. Do we get a repeat of her twerking? Or will they conjure up something twice as outrageous if they partner together onstage again?
CONGRATULATIONS: They won’t drink it, but break out the bubbly and send red roses to Donny and Marie Osmond tonight at the Flamingo as they pass a magic milestone with their 1,000th performance on the Strip.
COSMOPOLITAN SOLD: The news this morning that Deutsche Bank wrote down its $4 billion investment in the Cosmopolitan that never made a profit by selling it to Blackstone Reality in New York ended months of rumors that we’d faithfully reported.
We’d run Wicked Whispers & Racy Rumors of the bidding war that began with Elaine Wynn and then as the figures topped $1 billion brought in James Packer from Australia and another realty group that owns Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood who both dropped out at $1.5 billion.
The $1.73 billion offer from Blackstone, who has an involvement with Caesars Entertainment, clinched the deal. It’s now subject to regulatory approval and will prompt rumors that end any possible MGM Resorts involvement and might see Caesars tied into gaming of the new Cosmopolitan owners, as I’d also hinted.
NHL AWARDS: For the sixth year, the world’s best hockey players and superstars of the National Hockey League will be trading their ice skates for sunblock June 24 when they hit Las vegas for the 2014 NHL Awards. It’s the second year the black-tie event will be held at the Wynn, and renowned television and radio broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos will host the telecast on NBC Sports in America and CBC in Canada.
Heartthrob Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is up for the Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player against Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers). The three also compete for the Ted Lindsay Award as Most Outstanding Player as voted by NHL players.
SHEEP FARMING TO SMITH CENTER: It’s the most unlikely showbiz story I’ve ever heard: Greg Bonham was raised on a sheep farm in the Australian Outback and won a TV talent show Down Under that resulted in him selling 14 million records and finding stardom on his own television series.
That led to a world tour and America where he opened for Don Rickles and Jay Leno, which brought him to Las Vegas where he fell in love, married and settled down in Summerlin more than 10 years ago to raise a family. He sings, plays trumpet, has a 10-piece band and performs everything from U2 and Bruno Mars to James Brown. On Friday night, he gets his shot at solo Las Vegas stardom at the Smith Center with “G’Day Las Vegas,” and we wish him the best of luck!
TWIN TALENT: Las Vegas resident Melissa Roche will compete on Season 2 of HGTV’s “Brother vs. Brother” with twins Jonathan and Drew Scott. During the six-episode series premiering June 8, the guys go head-to-head mentoring a team of five home improvement experts as they renovate, remodel and decorate homes to increase their property values.
Melissa, who will be on Team Drew, says her secret strengths are carpentry, wall treatments, tile work, framing and painting, and she says she’s very comfortable with power tools. Melissa has more than seven years decorating experience and has flipped 50 houses. If she remains the “last decorator standing,” she could win the $50,000 prize.
NEW RESTAURANTS: Husband-and-wife restaurant team Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau (Honey Salt, Buddy V’s Ristorante, Simon) are planning two new Summerlin venues this summer. Made LV will be a modern American tavern in the previous Bradley Ogden space at Tivoli Village serving comfort food along with retro arcade games, a club-sized bocce court and a curated jukebox playlist.
The second restaurant at The Shops of Summerlin will be an homage to All Things Grilled focused on the roasted, shucked and seared seafood, shellfish, premium meats and season market items. Designer Thomas Schlesser (Bar Boulud, David Burke’s Kitchen, Ma Peche) will bring the new spaces to life.
NEW YORK STARS? Congratulations to Las Vegas students Brooke Solan and Isaac Arnett, who are Broadway bound to compete in the national high school finals June 30. They won out of 20 students from 11 schools taking part in the Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards at the Smith Center. Brooke, from Faith Lutheran, sang “The Bride’s Lament” from “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and Isaac performed “Who I’d Be” as Shrek from “Shrek: The Musical.”
Two Las Vegas Academy performers, Aurora Esquibel and Nathaniel Harlan, were named Spotlight Winners, and Kristen Hertzenberg and Keith Thompson served as host. Brooke and Isaac now compete in New York City against winners from 28 regional sites after a five-day theatrical boot camp of private coaching, classes and rehearsals with theater professionals with $10,000 in scholarship opportunities. Brooke reprised her performance Wednesday night at the Smith Center for the Carillon Circle donors celebrating the gift of a Brequet Queen of Spain timepiece designed for the Founders Room.
Helldorado Days continues at Symphony Park downtown.
The Las Vegas Sin plays the Green Bay Chill in their home-game season opener at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Devildriver, Fit for Autopsy and Carnifex play Hard Rock Live! on the Strip.
Arnie Ellis and Nat Bamiel headline Bonkerz Comedy Club in Rampart.
Mike Corbin is at South Point Showroom.
We’ve got the Royal Robin Rundown of Tiger Woods and his One Republic concert for Tiger Jam, plus the superstar lineup of for the 2014 BBMAs Billboard with Ludacris, Miley, Robin, Shania, Lorde, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Pitbull, Shakira — and the world premiere of a Michael Jackson experience. As if all that’s not enough, it’s the premiere night of the return of ABBA’s musical “Mamma Mia!” as “Money, Money, Money” starts pouring in at the Tropicana box office.
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.
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.
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.