Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Paparazzi pandemonium at Planet Hollywood for “Piece of Me,” Britney Spears’ new resident performances! Mayhem and mischief for Miley Cyrus’ launch of Beacher’s Madhouse at MGM Grand!
That’s how the weekend headlines might look after tonight’s clash of the titans with the ultimate pop-princess invasion of the Strip.
Add in appearances by more pop-music royalty — Katy Perry, Sia, DJ Pauly D and Adam Lambert; factor in concerts by Miley’s twerking partner Robin Thicke at the Palms, Bruno Mars debuting his mini residency at the new Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan and The Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers at the Hard Rock Hotel.
And mix it up with the middleweight UFC 168 title bout of Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman, and you’ve got an Entertainment Capital of the World lineup that can’t be matched.
That’s the knockout punch delivered this pre-New Year’s Eve Weekend rounding out a year of superstars on parade in Las Vegas and setting even higher standards for the new one ahead. For something a little more toned down, there is the elegance of popera tenor trio Forte from “America’s Got Talent” at Tropicana.
On Thursday night, Britney delivered her own 10-count punch with a sneak preview soft opening of “Piece of Me” to Caesars Entertainment employees, friends and the entire group of “schoolgirls” who welcomed her in the desert promo stunt officially announcing the show.
Inside word from my spies who watched is that “the show is sensational, Britney proves she’s a superstar, and everything from the costumes, the choreography, the production and the laser wrap around projections is spectacular.” Another texted me: “Britney was amazing; the sets were amazing. The crowd loved it. She looks healthy, and at the encore she seemed to enjoy it more than just perform it.
“I’m not a huge Britney fan and only went for the fun. She sure delivered that. She brings an audience member onstage and turns into a dominatrix, putting a chain and a leash on him to crawl onstage. The circus set for a couple of her songs is really cool.”
Another spy told me via phone: “She is phenomenal. If you aren’t a Britney fan, you sure will be after seeing her in this. The video projections she uses are mind blowing, and when she arrives onstage as a white angel, it’s a very emotional moment. You can tell she’s worked really hard to make this the best, and she pulled it off.
“The dancing is outrageous, nonstop energy. … She’s the Strip’s newest superstar.” (We posted an advance rundown of Britney’s spectacular and her set list on Monday.)
Said Britney on Thursday: “I can’t believe the first show is almost here! I’ve got chills. One last dress rehearsal for friends and family before opening night.”
Britney’s newly named theater, The Axis at Planet Hollywood, is a technical marvel in its redesign complete with dance floor and VIP seating booths as an interactive immersive nightclub experience. The video and projection installation is one of the largest in the world with 60 HD projectors covering more than 200 degrees of the audience walls.
After watching Britney’s official debut, Miley will make her own magic and mayhem at Beacher’s Madhouse, urging on the little people bartenders and one even duplicating her. They’ll shoot out of a telephone booth, George Clooney’s oversized tequila bottle and from the backside of a mechanical elephant. All that before we ever get to the 7-foot-tall transvestite stripper and the return of Leonid the Magnificent. The intrepid impresario gave me an early look at the insane craziness of what to expect.
Now it’s time to follow the foolishness, ride the ridiculous, tame the turmoil and calm the chaos with our weekly Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, DEC. 27
Britney Spears stars in the world premiere of her two-year residency “Piece of Me” at Planet Hollywood.
Miley Cyrus hosts the preview of Beacher’s Madhouse at MGM Grand.
Boyz II Men are at the Mirage all weekend.
Crizzly is at Hard Rock Live! on the Strip.
Nashville Unplugged with Brian McComas and Aaron Benward hosts Kelly Archer at Sunset Station.
Las Vegas-based Claudine Castro Band is at Lounge at the Palms.
The Jennifer Keith Quintet is at the Cosmopolitan all weekend.
Armenian folk singer Nune Yesayan is at Tropicana.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan punches out his standup at the Mirage.
Brad Garrett headlines with Darrell Joyce, Michael Somerville and Michael Malone at his MGM Grand comedy club through Wednesday.
Jerry Seinfeld is at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace.
Jim Norton is at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel and again on Sunday.
George Wallace adds 10 p.m. shows at the Flamingo for two days, and he’ll perform an 8 p.m. show New Year’s Eve.
The Stagebenders, Scott Larose and Andy Ostroff are at the Improv in Harrah’s all weekend.
Greg Vaccariello and the “dyn-o-mite” Jimmie “J.J.” Walker are at the Riviera all weekend.
John Caparulo is at South Point all weekend.
Steve Aoki and Fergie are at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.
David Guetta is at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
Steve Powers is at Light in Mandalay Bay.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
It’s two nights of hockey with our Las Vegas Wranglers vs. the Idaho Steelheads at Orleans Arena.
The new 3,000-square-foot Banger Brewery created by former members of The Light Group
The Garth Brooks special at Encore Theater in Wynn is rebroadcast on CBS.
SATURDAY, DEC. 28
Forte, from Season 8 of “AGT,” headline at Tropicana through Monday.
The Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers are at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Hong Kong music star and actor Kenny Bee is at Wynn.
Marisela is at the LVH.
Hometown rockers Otherwise headline at Boulder Station.
Rival Sons are at Vinyl.
Franky Perez is at Lounge at the Palms.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
UFC 168 is at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The always-glamorous Holly Madison celebrates her birthday hosting at Moon in the Palms.
Calvin Harris spins at Hakkasan.
Thomas Gold spins at Light.
DJ Pauly D is at Haze in Aria.
SUNDAY, DEC. 29
Robin Thicke is at Pearl at the Palms.
Bruno Mars starts his mini-residency at the Chelsea.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is at the Orleans with its 20th anniversary “Rattle Them Bones” tour for two nights.
Hawaiian reggae quartet The Green, Common Kings, One Pin Short, ST1, ForTwentyDaze and Haleamano are at Hard Rock Live! on the Strip for two nights.
Barry Black (“The Voice”) is at Lounge at the Palms.
Cedric the Entertainer debuts at the Mirage for two nights.
Brody Jenner hosts at Ghostbar in the Palms.
Tiesto is at Hakkasan.
It’s Major Lazer vs. General Rubbish at 1OAK in the Mirage.
T-Pain is at the Bank in Bellagio.
Cedric Gervais is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
If you’re staying home this evening, check out the two-hour salute at the 36th Annual John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts airing on CBS honoring Las Vegas resident and guitar guru Carlos Santana, plus, Shirley MacLaine, Martina Arroyo, Billy Joel and Herbie Hancock. Harry Belafonte Jr. presented Carlos with the prestigious medal, and Carlos returns to House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on Jan. 22.
Check back Saturday for our reports, photos and videos of Britney and Miley, and we’ll be back Monday with a three-day Royal Robin Rundown of all the shows, parties and locations to watch the $500,000 midnight Strip fireworks.
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.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.
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.