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Bright moments at Billboards include Bruno Mars, Bellagio Fountains and balloons

Updated May 21, 2017 - 8:56 pm

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is the Billboard Music Awards show at T-Mobile Arena. The Vegas Golden Knights open play here in October, but the music industry’s Vegas golden night was Sunday.

See how I did that?

From the scene:

Drake’s explosive performance of “Gyalchester” at Bellagio Fountains was presented as “live.” It wasn’t. Producers banked Saturday night’s performance, originally described in media reports as a rehearsal, and aired it during the live telecast.

Nonetheless, the event was one of the splashiest (pun intended) staged performances ever on Lake Bellagio.

The list of such shows is impressive. Last year Pitbull, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Travis Barker of Blink-182 and Robin Thicke (of “Blurred Lines” fame) and a half-dozen dancers performed a commercial for TNT that aired during the NBA playoffs. Bruno Mars cut across the lake on a Jet-Ski in his “24K Magic video, Imagine Dragons performed a “pop up” show in 2014, an acoustic run-through of “It’s Time,” “Bet My Life” and “Radioactive.” And, lest we forget, Britney Spears performed “I’m A Slave 4 U” at the fountains to open the 2001 BMAs.

These events, constructed as promotional partnerships with the artists and producers, indicate the value of the Bellagio Fountains. It costs nothing to view the attraction from the Strip or the hotel (or from competing properties, for that matter). Construction cost between $40 – $75 million, with a monthly operating cost reportedly between $300,000 to $400,000. But hotel officials agree that, in terms of marketing value, the fountains paid for themselves long ago.

Streep cred

Applause line from co-host Vanessa Hudgens, saying of Celine Dion: “She is the Meryl Streep of music.”

Dion later leveled the place with “My Heart Will Go On,” calling out the song from inside a tall, crystal chandelier, seemingly in tears at the chilling conclusion as the sold-out crowd of 10,400 erupted. As the show’s other co-host, Ludacris, said, “That was a moment! Give it up for Celine Dion.”

Elvis in the mix

The city of Las Vegas’ go-to Elvis impressionist, Jesse Garon, co-starred in the new video Top Country Artist nominee Florida Georgia Line filmed around VegasVille last week. The new single is “Smooth,” and Garon-as-Elvis swept through downtown Las Vegas, Bonnie Springs, Golden Nugget and the Little White Wedding Chapel.

Garon has also become the Elvis of record for FGL’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, who rode in the back seat of Garon’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 convertible when arriving at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April. Craig Wiseman, who owns the Big Loud Shirt record label and reps FGL, connected the country duo with Garon.

Cyrus goes boom

Miley Cyrus debuted her song, “Malibu,” with a beautiful beach scene in the backdrop, and similarly beautiful cascade of balloons from the T-Mobile rafters.

An explosion of sound soon followed, as workers scrambled to pop the balloons — using long pins in both hands — during a commercial break. An announcer bellowed the crowd, “Please! Help us pop these balloons!” Hundreds of spent balloons littered the floor for much of the telecast.

Stefani-Cher moment

Gwen Stefani introduced Cher, who accepted the Icon Award with full-production performances of “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

Stefani has evidently recovered from the burst eardrum she suffered April 27, which knocked her out of the annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala. Of Cher, she said, “She is a woman who doesn’t know the meaning of ‘It can’t be done.’” The Park Theater headliner turned 71 Saturday. “I’ve been doing what I want to do since I was 4 years old … My mom told me I might not be the prettiest, I might not be the most talented, but I would be something special.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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