Monday, March 26, 2012 | 5:38 p.m.
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Shania Twain and Lionel Richie
Shania Twain and Lionel Richie
It took months for superstar Shania Twain to convince herself that her voice was strong enough and recovered sufficiently to take on a residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace starting Dec. 1. Now we’re learning that singer Lionel Richie, who headlines here this weekend, had a lot to do with her winning back her vocal confidence.
The unexpected duo have brought his hit “Endless Love” back to life, a No. 1 smash he recorded in 1981 with Diana Ross for the Brooke Shields film of the same name. Thanks to YouTube, here’s a sneak preview of her resurrected talents and his April 2 “Friends” tribute concert at MGM Grand Garden Arena during the 47th Academy of Country Music Awards weekend.
The video is not only uniquely beautiful but it also provides an intimate glimpse of her Bahamas beachfront home where she is already rehearsing for the Caesars residency. The story of how Lionel wooed Shania to sing again and join him for his new duets album “Tuskegee” out today is on this YouTube clip from the Oprah Winfrey Network.
When he appeared days ago on the Home Shopping Network, Lionel sold 20,000 copies of “Tuskegee” in 60 minutes, and it’s already No. 1 on iTunes. He appears on NBC’s “The Voice” tonight and Tuesday, performs “Deep River Woman” with Little Big Town on NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday morning and then has a duet with Jason Aldean on David Letterman’s “The Late Show” that night. Piers Morgan devotes his hourlong CNN program on Wednesday to Lionel, and then the singer, who has often supported Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam charity concerts here, heads here for ACM weekend.
QUICK NOTES: Donny Osmond returns to his Flamingo headliner show alongside sister Marie Osmond on Tuesday night after getting the OK from doctors. Welcome back, Donny! Congratulations to Rio magician headliners Penn & Teller on their induction into the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV, with magicians Lance Burton and Siegfried Fischbacher attending the presentation.
“X-Factor” has set up an audition booth at Planet Hollywood for the next season. After selling 43,000 tickets, “Purple Reign,” the tribute to Prince, ended its 2 1/2-year run at Hooters on Sunday night. It is moving to a downtown location to continue its 15 years on and off the Strip.
BIG-BUCKS DONATIONS: Our MGM Resort International marked World Water Day with a pledge of $1 million to support Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte’s charity One Drop that promotes global awareness of the role of water, fights poverty via water-access projects and raises awareness of water-related issues.
MGM head honcho Jim Murren said: “We are proud to join with One Drop in developing programs locally and globally that promote a comprehensive and strategic approach to water stewardship.” The pledge will be made over five years and is in addition to ticket proceeds of all Las Vegas-based Cirque shows during One Week for One Drop in the week that coincides with World Water Day. Meantime, Cirque cast and crew hosted the 11th Annual 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk at Springs Preserve to raise One Drop funds, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman firing the shotgun start.
This years St. Baldrick’s hair-shaving fundraisers across the valley raised $610,0000, with donations still trickling in to support children’s cancer research and care. The 14-hour marathon at McMullan’s Irish Pub headquarters, where I played the role of one of the MCs with owners Brian McMullan and Lynne McMullan, raised $327,783.
After a three-year break, country stars will play in the celebrity golf classic for the ACM’s Lifting Lives charity on Saturday hosted by Darius Rucker at TPC in Summerlin. It’s the sixth golf classic since it began here in 2004 and is a part of the Week Vegas Goes Country.
‘DWTS’ ODDS: Uncannily accurate in his reality TV show picks, Johnny Avello, the Wynn’s director of race and sports operations, has created his odds for the new Season 14 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” He thinks the Bottom Three to go in order Tuesday night will be tennis legend Martina Navratilova, followed next week by singer Gavin DeGraw and then mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins.
He’s betting that actor Jaleel White will win the mirror ball trophy with Kym Johnson, with Sherri Shepherd and partner Val Chmerkovskiy and Latin actor William Levy with Cheryl Burke battling for runner-up. He’s put 16-to-1 odds on our hometown Empress of Soul Gladys Knight lasting for at least 4 weeks but aced out eventually by Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers. The odds are strictly for entertainment.
Hot off the grill! Mandalay Bay chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill has learned that her new book “Street Food” will be published in July, and I’m humbled by the invitation to write the back cover notes. It’s an incredible journey around the world for the globetrotting chef as she re-creates irresistible Indonesian noodles and Indian puffed rice, tantalizing Turkish breads and Thai spices and sensational Saigon shrimp and Szechuan sauces.
As she says, “The recipes are irresistibly crispy, creamy, crunchy, spicy, sticky and sweet.” Chef Gordon Ramsay will fly here for the mid-May opening of his first Strip restaurant Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris and make an announcement about his second Las Vegas venue. (I can’t wait for his promised English Trifle.)
Redfoo and the Party Rock Crew from LMFAO return to Marquee at the Cosmopolitan, and wearing animal-print pants guarantees admission. The Area 51 exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum officially opens to the public. And Holsteins Shakes and Buns at the Cosmopolitan hosts a live art show, with Las Vegas artist Juan Muniz creating art on the platform next to the graffiti cow. DJ Wizdumb will provide the beats, and Holsteins’ late-night menu, including fried pickles, kalbi beef and kimchee quesadillas, will be available.
The cast of “Jersey Boys” settles into its new home at the Paris; our interview with Mike Esterman, the man who books the stars at nightclub, parties and homes; plus amazing UFO evidence at the new Area 51 tourist attraction.
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.
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