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American Idol’ finds the sign, and Wayne Newton, as microphone tour hits Las Vegas

Wayne Newton appears at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the evening of Monday, March 11, 2013, as part of the “American Idol” microphone tour.
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"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest is flanked by judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.

"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest is flanked by judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.

“American Idol” has sent its official microphone on a 5,000-mile meander across the country for much of this month. Ardent fans of the Fox show have been well aware of this tour for a couple of weeks, which is why I learned of it Monday afternoon.

The mic to be used in the show’s Top 10 live-performance broadcast Wednesday night has been winding across the Lower 48, similar to how an Olympic torch relay unspools for the masses, and on Monday night made it to Las Vegas. The prop was delivered to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, specifically, with Wayne Newton officially welcoming the tour in a segment that was taped for broadcast for the shows airing Wednesday and Thursday.

The mic also is visiting resorts in the MGM Resorts family. In play today are the Love Theater Lobby at Mirage, King Arthur's Arena at Excalibur, Bellagio Fountains, Zarkana Theater lobby at Aria, Manhattan Express at New York-New York, Mandalay Bay Beach and Luxor. That's where the Jabbawockeez are appearing at their own under-construction, 800-seat venue.

The microphone looks like any other mic but is powerful for its symbolism, as it is to be used by the next "Idol" champ. On its cross-country trek, the mic has been toted by fans, local officials and former “Idol” contestants in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Phoenix before hitting Vegas.

As for Newton’s involvement, producers deduced that he would be an apt individual to represent the city in a sort of made-for-TV welcoming event. And we can deduce that the guy dressed as Elvis who poses for photos at that landmark was, for one night, one-upped.

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John Katsilometes is a columnist and magazine writer for the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly and editor-at-large for ...

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