Las Vegas Sun

October 13, 2019

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Weekend Rewind: Unveiling the Palms, rocking the Billboard Music Awards and more

Apex Social Club

Courtesy Clique Hospitality

It’s time to take in the view from the top of the Palms again at Apex Social Club.

What. A. Weekend. It’s hard to recall anything that happened before Sunday, when the Electric Daisy Carnival wrapped its eighth festival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the Billboard Music Awards flooded MGM Grand and the rest of the Strip with music’s biggest superstars after the Vegas Golden Knights beat Winnipeg to earn their place in the Stanley Cup Finals. Sure, that last one didn’t happen in Las Vegas, but the thousands of fans cheering at Toshiba Plaza didn’t mind.

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Elton John says farewell to the Colosseum on May 17, 2018.

Sunday was a whirlwind but Thursday was a big Vegas night, too. Elton John took his final bow at the Colosseum after the last performance of “The Million Dollar Piano,” his second Las Vegas residency at the Caesars Palace venue.

Meanwhile, just across I-15, Station Casinos threw a decadent party to unveil new features at the Palms. General manager Jon Gray welcomed an exclusive collection of guests, including his mentor and the original owner of the resort, George Maloof, to the striking new casino bar the Unknown, named after the Damien Hirst tiger shark art installation that sits atop the bar and commands attention. Also new on the casino level and worth a visit as soon as you can manage are the swanky Camden Cocktail Lounge and the brilliantly redesigned restaurant Scotch 80 Prime, formerly the N9NE Steakhouse space. Stalwart chef Barry Dakake is still running the kitchen but this is an all-new experience. The party culminated with breathtaking views from new 55th-floor nightspot Apex Social Club, where surprise guest J. Cole performed with the Strip skyline behind him.

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Janet Jackson performs at the Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena May 20.

Stars in town for EDC or the Billboards made the rounds over the weekend. Rapper Wiz Khalifa dined at Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan on Friday. Christina Aguilera took over the private dining room at Tao Sunday after her Billboards duet with Demi Lovato while rappers French Montana, Lil Pump and 21 Savage also enjoyed the Venetian hot spot. DJ Khaled and T.I. dined at Cosmo’s Beauty & Essex on Sunday after the awards show, the same spot Shawn Mendes and Backstreet Boy (and Vegas resident) Nick Carter visited Saturday night. “That 70s Show” actor Wilmer Valderrama brunched at Palazzo’s Morels Steakhouse on Friday. Jennifer Lopez hosted a private party to celebrate her new single “Dinero” at the new Spago, opening very soon at Bellagio, and rapper-of-the-moment Post Malone popped into Hakkasan to perform at the Billboards afterparty.

One last award show note: How amazing was Janet Jackson? She was presented the Icon Award by Bruno Mars after a blazing performance with an army of dancers and captivated the MGM Grand Garden crowd and huge TV audience with a beautiful, uplifting speech. I said it after I saw her concert at Mandalay Bay in October and I’ll say it again now: Somebody give Janet a Vegas residency show immediately.

Actress Leah Remini was also in town and took advantage of her Vegas time by reuniting with her “Dancing with the Stars” partner Tony Dovolani onstage at Chippendales at the Rio, where Dovolani is serving as celebrity guest host through May 27. Remini, celebrating her sister Nicole’s birthday, had so much fun dancing at the Rio that she returned for an encore to close the show.