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Music from yesteryear, today and even tomorrow is the dominating factor this weekend on the Strip. The world’s most popular music stars are all here for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena and airing on ABC.
Justin Bieber, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Nelly Furtado, Lisa Marie Presley, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Linkin Park, LMFAO and Britain’s hottest boyband The Wanted (who hosted and performed at 1 OAK in the Mirage on Tuesday) are a few of the headliners making up the pop parade. Our hometown Empress of Soul Gladys Knight is one of the presenters as Stevie Wonder receives the Icon Award and Katy Perry debuts her song “Wide Awake” from “Katy Perry: Part of Me” out July 5.
Add in the emotional tribute with performances by Jordin Sparks and John Legend to the late Whitney Houston, with her daughter Bobby Kristina accepting the Millennium Award honoring her mother, and you have a super-charged night. Jordin portrays Whitney’s onscreen daughter in the summer film “Sparkle.”
With the galaxy of stars here, the nightclubs will be jam-packed as they entertain and host pre- and post-awards parties, including Cee Lo Green at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore and LL Cool J at Rehab in the Hard Rock Hotel. You could even call it a “Dancing With the Stars” reunion weekend with Gladys, Julianne Hough and Karina Smirnoff all here.
For something completely different, go online to “Mindfreak” magician Criss Angel’s Magic Broadcasting Network at CrissAngel.com to watch the “Believe” star arm wrestle zany fellow Luxor headliner comedian Carrot Top, plus Criss’s much-anticipated interview with WWE’s Triple H about that injured arm.
Without further ado, let’s turn up the volume, hit the high notes, add the judges’ votes and hand out awards we affectionately title every week the Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, MAY 18
Academy Award-winning composer, singer and songwriter Paul Williams plays South Point for two nights; jazz and adult-contemporary vocalist Jane Monheit is at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts for two nights; and the Next Movement shows off new moves at the Cannery.
For laughter, look to Lewis Black at the Mirage for two nights; comedy impressionist Jeff Tracta spoofs stars through the decades using multimedia technology at The Pearl in the Palms all weekend; “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” star Mark Curry is at the Riviera all weekend; comedy actor T.J. Miller (“She’s Out of My League,” “Get Him to the Greek”) is at Empire Comedy at the Paris; Iliza Shlesinger is at Sunset Station; and Quinn Dahle and Brandt Tobler continue at Big Al’s Comedy Club at the Orleans all weekend.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Chef Steve Martorano celebrates Cafe Martorano’s fifth anniversary at the Rio with a dinner to benefit our beloved Keep Memory Alive that funds Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; burlesque bombshell Dita Von Teese continues her new show “Strip, Strip, Hooray” at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay through Saturday; Tahiti Taurua Nui I, a French Polynesian dance competition, is at the Orleans for two days; and tickets go on sale for Rock’n’ Blues Fest with The Johnny Winter Band and The Edgar Winter Group at The Pearl on Aug. 5 and Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Aug. 18.
The 2012 Las Vegas Car Stars and Knight Rider Festival is at Fremont Street Experience today and Saturday and celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Knight Rider” and 35th anniversary of “Smokey and the Bandit.” Attendees, along with General Lee, the Batmobile, Black Beauty and Herbie the Love Bug, include Mayor Carolyn Goodman, John Schneider, Catherine Hickland, Rebecca Holden, Robbie Knievel, Seth Grabel, Erik Estrada, Lorenzo Lamas, Eddie Mekka and Fred Williamson.
Gorgeous actress Kat Graham (“The Vampire Diaries”) is at Chateau Nightclub at the Paris; Dirty Dutch guests DJs at Tao in the Venetian; Diplo is guest DJ at Surrender; and Benny Benassi spins at Marquee in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
SATURDAY, MAY 19
Bill Haley Jr. and The Comets rock around the clock at the Suncoast; the Men of Soul Tour featuring Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson and Howard Hewett is at the Cannery; guitarist Buddy Guy with vocal prodigy Quinn Sullivan do the blues at The Smith Center; Creedence Clearwater Revisited is at Buffalo Bill’s in Primm; rockers Sponge are at Sway Pool Lounge at Silverton Casino Lodge; Don Carlos and Friends perform at Soundwaves Poolside Stage at HRH to benefit Communities in Schools of Nevada; R&B Live Old School Edition with The Dramatics, Slave and Rose Royce is at LVH; and Stryper is at Santa Fe Station.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Luxor headliners Carrot Top and Criss Angel arm wrestle for charity at CrissAngel.com at noon, plus Criss’s interview with Triple H, and remember that the showdown between Lamont Peterson and Amir Kahn at Mandalay Bay Events Center has been canceled.
Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip host a two-hour Zumbathon to benefit Southern Nevada Burn Foundation; Red Rock Resort chef Philipp Norsetter of T-Bones presents his first Project Dinner Table at the El Cortez; the 7th Annual Human Rights Campaign Gala with guest Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”) honors LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter; Border Grill’s “Top Chef: Masters” stars Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger join the “Food Revolution” at Mandalay Bay; and tickets go on sale for Martina McBride’s Aug. 3 show at Green Valley Ranch and Pitbull’s Aug. 10 rap rendezvous at Red Rock.
“Twilight” actress Nikki Reed celebrates her birthday at Marquee Dayclub; Cee Lo Green’s mini-concert is followed by Bingo Players at Surrender; “Good Day L.A.” anchor Lauren Sanchez guest stars at Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon in Planet Hollywood; dance-pop sensation Kerli performs at Krave; and “DWTS” knockout Karina Smirnoff, who won Season 13 with J.R. Martinez, hosts at Tabu Ultra Lounge at MGM Grand.
SUNDAY, MAY 20
We’ll be at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, so be sure to check back Monday for our reports and photo galleries.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Congratulations to Recycled Percussion, who celebrate their 500th performance at the Tropicana this weekend; for the 54th consecutive year, it’s American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer’s Party With a Purpose,” a three-day affair, and it kicks off with a benefit at Hyde Bellagio before Monday’s celebrity golf classic at Shadow Creek; and judges Angel Porrino, Ricardo Laguna and Tedd Florendo vote on the Street Food Throwdown of competing gourmet food trucks at Tivoli Village in Summerlin.
Interscope Records stars Far East Movement, Eva Simons, Blaqstarr, Starshell and Haley Reinhart host and perform at their official BMAs after-party at Vanity in the HRH; SkyBlu of LMFAO debuts his “Who Came to Party?” DJ residency at Wet Republic in MGM Grand; LL Cool J performs with DJ Z-Trip at Rehab/ The Wanted host a BMAs after-party at Lavo; DJs Tiesto and Robbie Rivera spin at XS’ after-dark pool party in Encore; Steve Angello is guest DJ at Encore Beach Club; Above & Beyond are at Marquee; and Ray J and Sophie Monk host a poolside party at VooDoo at the Rio to launch -- for real -- an ingrown hair removal product.
We’ll post reports and photo galleries during the weekend and continue our coverage Monday.
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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