Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 2 a.m.
This somewhat exhausted entertainment writer wasn’t the only one to pull a big doubleheader of Saturday’s Justin Timberlake concert at T-Mobile Arena followed by Sunday’s ACM Awards show at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Kelly Clarkson pulled it off, and much more gracefully, watching JT do his Man of the Woods thing from the lofty perch at Hyde Lounge at T-Mobile and performing a duet of “Does He Love You” with her husband Brandon Blackstock’s stepmom and ACM host Reba McEntire late in Sunday’s show. For the record, I didn’t sing a word over the weekend. Point goes to Kelly.
Another famous couple was all over the Strip in the biggest way possible. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton were at Planet Hollywood Friday morning, of course, as she made her grand arrival to mark her coming resident show at Zappos Theater. Welcoming Stefani to Las Vegas with Shelton were Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora, Live Nation Las Vegas President Kurt Melien and Vegas Golden Knights hype man Mark Shunock. I also spotted one of my favorite Las Vegans sneaking through the crowd, tennis legend Stefanie Graf.
On Sunday, Stefani attended her very first ACM show where Shelton performed twice, including a rowdy team-up with Toby Keith. After the show, Shelton took his lady to a surprise free concert and party at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, where they were joined by fellow singers Keith, Clarkson, Cole Swindell, Chris Janson, Michael Ray, Brett Young and Luke Bryan. Another point for Kelly.
Spiegelworld’s new show “Opium” is already making waves at the Cosmopolitan but the celebs are still in love with the company’s original Las Vegas production, “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. Taking in all the antics inside the big white tent on Thursday night: Chester Lockhart, reality TV personality and current co-star of “Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man” at Paris Las Vegas; and “Dancing With the Stars” mover and shaker Tony Dovolani, soon-to-be guest host at Chippendales at the Rio.
Vegas entrepreneur, designer and restaurateur Nico Santucci got so caught up in Vegas Golden Knights fever—and honestly, who hasn’t?—that he invited his patrons at Capo’s Speakeasy on West Sahara and pretty much everybody else to write a letter about what the local hockey team means to them. The winning response came from former football player Howard “Woody” Carter, who lost more than 100 pounds when he appeared on season 16 of “The Biggest Loser,” who wrote a heartfelt note about how the Knights’ spirit and success has helped him deal with the pain of losing his wife to cancer. The prize: Dinner at Capo’s, of course, followed by a Rolls Royce ride to T-Mobile Arena and a ticket to join Santucci against the glass to watch the team’s first-ever playoff game on April 11.
In another Italian food-related note, it was recently announced that Summerlin’s next great restaurant is set to arrive this summer in the space formerly occupied by Due Forni. Chef Gina Marinelli is getting ready to open La Strega (Italian for “the witch”) on Town Center Drive near the Beltway, a modern eatery with a design inspired by the Italian countryside and cuisine spanning seasonal dishes from across the country’s varied regions. The neighborhood is getting more delicious all the time.