Las Vegas performers Piff, Tape Face, Billy & Emily returning to ‘AGT’

The serpent-suited magician who brags of being “The loser of America’s Got Talent” is joining a spinning skating act and a self-muted mime on AGT’s upcoming all-star show.

The Las Vegas performers announced Friday for “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” are familiar to anyone who follows entertainment on the Strip: Piff The Magic Dragon of Flamingo’s Bugsy’s Cabaret; the sibling skating act from “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, Billy and Emily England; and Tape Face of his own House of Tape.

That group has been plucked from the Strip to compete in the series, which launches Jan. 7 and will run for seven weeks on NBC, slotted between “The Voice” finale and the next run of “AGT.”

Action actor Terry Crews is the new host, with a returning lineup of judges Simon Cowell, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.

On Friday, NBC announced the first 25 acts of the field of 50 former finalists. Those who reached the finals of the BBC show “Britain’s Got Talent” are also returning (go to the show’s website for updates).

Though the “AGT” spinoff is promoted as a “Champions” contest, none of those who appear full-time in Vegas have won the show. Two Strip acts lost to ventriloquists who are also on the “Champions” roster: Piff (legal name John Van Der Put) was a finalist in 2015, losing out to eventual titlist Paul Zerdin. The skating Englands raced to the final 10 in 2017, losing to the young puppet master Darci Lynne Farmer.

Tape Face (legal name Sam Wills) was a finalist in 2016, when young vocalist Grace VanderWaal captured the championship. VanderWaal is now 14 and not on the first batch of announced contestants.

As Piff, of course, Van Der Put has turned his “failure” on the show — when he actually outlasted several thousand entertainers who auditioned — to full advantage on the Strip. He’s often said that winning the championship would not have fit with his character’s self-defeating personality.

But now, Van Der Put says, “This time, I’m in it to win it.”

Not for himself, but for his tiny canine sidekick, Mr. Piffles. “He’s 11 years old. Halfway there. And let me tell you, he’s not happy,” Van Der Put texted Friday. “You see, ‘AGT’ changed my life. Success beyond my wildest dreams, my own show in Vegas now extended through 2019, a lovely two-bedroom cave out in Henderson. But Mr. Piffles? He was born to win. He’s got champion written all over him, and do you think he likes seeing Loser plastered all over his face on the I-15? Forget it.”

Other “Champions” with Vegas connections include the consistently funny Zerdin, who headlined for about five weeks in 2015 at what is now Criss Angel Theater at Planet Hollywood; spellbinding magician Shin Lim, the 2018 champ who just headlined the “AGT Live” show at Paris Theater this month and who has said he is in talks for a residency on the Strip; Farmer, for whom fellow ventriloquial champ and Mirage headliner Terry Fator has written material; and British singer Susan Boyle.

Why Boyle? She guest-starred in Donny & Marie’s show at Flamingo in October 2012, so overcome with stage fright she was barely able to sing. But the audience cheered, and also cried.

Moreno’s flurry

Frankie Moreno has released his third CD since September, the Christmas album, “Frankie’s Christmas Party.” It’s a holiday buffet of rearranged classics and Moreno originals. A killer release, this might be Moreno’s best work yet.

In a burst to close the year, Moreno has issued four full albums since August: “Broke Down in Paradise” the brazenly titled, “Future Greatest Hits, Vol. 1,” and “Whiskey, Women & Song” are the others. Up next is the single “Beautiful Girl” and another album, “The Remix Project,” a DJ album of previously issued Moreno songs due for release Dec. 28.

View this post on Instagram

Hammer it … @frankiemoreno @southpointlv

A post shared by John Katsilometes (@johnnykats1) on

That’s five albums and a single, a show at Carnegie Hall in New York in October, a full house Thursday to close this year’s run at South Point Showroom (though he’s performing on New Year’s Eve), and a regular schedule at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz since the beginning of August. As Moreno said Friday after listing all this stuff, “It sounds insane to look at that after the fact.”

‘Renegades’ returning

That’s what I’m hearing. Or, at least producer Rich Lenkov of Chicago is attempting to bring back the stage show that originally starred Jose Canseco, Jim McMahon and Terrell Owens and was hosted by Martin Montana at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace. Montana posted a photo of himself with Lenkov, Canseco and an unnamed individual Friday on his Instagram page. The show is reportedly securing additional funding and targeting a return to a Caesars Entertainment venue early next year.

Griffin gets down

A devastatingly funny man, Eddie Griffin, is moving from The Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas to Mandalay Bay Events Center for one performance. Griffin, George Lopez, Cedric “The Entertainer” and D.L. Hughley are performing a stage version of the BET series “The Comedy Get Down” at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday.

Griffin is also cast in the recently released remake of “A Star is Born.” During the L.A. premiere of the film in October, Griffin told the Los Angeles times, “It looks like the pigeon-hole days are over,” said Griffin, who plays a pastor in the film… “Comedians don’t have to just stay in comedy clubs. Actors don’t have to just stay acting. They can actually get behind the camera”

The latter reference was related to Bradley Cooper’s dual roles as co-lead with Lady Gaga, and the film’s director. And, on the topic of blending sensibilities: Griffin has shown he doesn’t pigeon-hole his cocktails, either, mixing tequila and champagne onstage during his shows at SLS.

‘Sugar Sugar’ for Shaffer

Joe Walsh cannot join Paul Shaffer’s show at Caesars Palace as both had hoped on Nov. 30 (Walsh had a previous commitment on the East Coast). Instead, Shaffer is bringing in Ron Dante to join the Shaf-Shifters’ performance at Cleopatra’s Barge. Dante is known as the founder of the cartoon band The Archies, and singer of the 1969 No. 1 hit, “Sugar Sugar.”He’s also a prominent producer, having worked on Barry Manilow’s first nine albums.

And, “Sugar, Sugar” is on the set list for the Nov. 30 show, with Shaffer sure to master Veronica’s keyboard licks.

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

Local
Valentine's Day Brings Wet Weather To Las Vegas
Parts of the Las Vegas Valley received more than an inch of rain by 1 p.m. Thursday, triggering numerous vehicle accidents, sparking flooding and prompting at least two swift-water rescues in flood channels. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Artist sends love from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Artist Chris O'Rourke has a giant heart mounted in the back of pickup positioned for photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip on Valentine's Day 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't dampen weddings on Valentine's Day
Charolette Richards, owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel who has been performing weddings for 60 years, started Valentine’s Day 2019 by performing a wdding for Las Vegas couple David and Elaine Cook at the chapel’s Tunnel of Love drive-thru. Richards has over 100 weddings booked for Valentine’s Day. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Swift-water rescue in Las Vegas
The Clark County Fire Department rescued one person from the flooded Durango Wash in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy and soggy on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day across the Las Vegas Valley will be soggy and wet. A flood advisory has been issued for Clark County. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Early morning rainfall in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas valley was hit with rainfall early Thursday morning. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Learning how to create your own comic book
Jean Munson talks about the class she teaches at the Maximum Comics in Henderson on creating and publishing your own comic book.
Top Ladies of Distinction unveils second Las Vegas chapter
Officers Clair Hart and Rose Coker discuss the service organization’s work and mission.
The Animal Foundation Opens New Wing
On Tuesday, The Animal Foundation opened the doors to its new Engelstad Foundation Adoption center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas firefighter skates from ice to fire
Darcy Loewen, a former pro hockey player, finds a new career as a North Las Vegas firefighter. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carnival AirShip floats over Las Vegas
Carnival Cruise flew a blimp over the LAs Vegas Valley on Thursday in a promotion for its new Carnival Panorama ship. (Mat luschek/Review-Journal)
Pedestrian dies after crash at Decatur and Alta
Las Vegas police investigate a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian at Decatur Boulevard and Alta Driver about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars Cosplayers Visit Sick Kids At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Members of Coruscant Base, a Star Wars cosplay group, visit kids at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Hail and wet snow in Las Vegas
The western edges of Las Vegas saw some hail and wet snow on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer Jim Rhodes lists his mansion for $30 million
Jim Rhodes, a developer, has listed his mansion in Spanish Hills community for $30 million. The mansion is situated on 2 acres of land and features 19,345 square feet of living space. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Court ruling brings hope to local Vietnam veteran
Blue Water Navy Veteran Michael Yates talks about possible medical benefits he could receive after a federal court ruling this week. Yates claims he was exposed to Agent Orange and attributes that to his health problems, which include cancer.
Las Vegas charter school excels in areas of greatest need
Mater Academy Mountain Vista charter school students excel despite the fact that half the students are English language learners and all qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in downtown Las Vegas
The 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, themed "Living the Dream: One People, One Nation, One Dream," took place in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New MLK freeway onramps
How to navigate the trio of new freeway onramps from Martin Luther King Boulevard. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Campus Village next to UNLV gets demolished
Demolition of Campus Village shopping center, on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV, begins to make way for new development.
Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Entertainment
You Can Design With 3D Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum
You Can Design With 3d Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Champagne vending machine at Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas
One of only a few in the country, the Moët & Chandon machine at the Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas is stocked with Imperial Rose for Valentine’s Day. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas Valentine’s Day desserts
Mio Ogasawara of Sweets Raku and Rebecca Bills of Gen3 Hospitality in Las Vegas create elaborate Valentine’s Day desserts. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
One Night For One Drop
Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their time and talent to this year's "One Night For One Drop" performance at the "O" Theatre in the Bellagio. The event takes place March 8, 2019, and benefits the One Drop organization. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New Year parade takes place on Fremont Street. (Bill Hughes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Manzo restaurant a key part of Eataly
Nicole Brisson, executive chef of Eataly, at Park MGM in Las Vegas, talks about new restaurant.
Designer Makes Festival-style Crowns
Designer at MAGIC trade show Makes Festival-style Crowns (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excalibur Raises tent that will house "Fuerza Bruta" show
Workers at Excalibur raised a tent, which will be the home of "Fuerza Bruta," a temporary show that will run from March 7 to September 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roc Boots Make For Glittery Festival Wear
With 3-inch-tall chunky heels, cleated platforms, and sparkly glitter, you’ll want to wear these to dance the night away. Sally Cull, product and development for Roc Boots Australia, assures you that you can. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get A Custom-painted Jacket At Las Vegas Fashion Event
On the first of the two-night Commotion event, clothing brands connected with consumers, offering shopping, giveaways and customization opportunities. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Venetian Celebrates The "Year Of The Pig"
The Venetian hosted dancers to celebrate the Chinese New Year and "Year of the Pig." The dancers performed a traditional eye-dotting ceremony and lion dance. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pepe the truffle-hunting dog
Jose Andres knows that quality black truffles can also be found in his native Spain. He’ll be sharing some with the world for a week, starting Monday. From Feb. 11-17, his Cosmopolitan restaurant Jaleo will be showcasing four special dishes made with Spanish truffles discovered by the truffle-hunting dogs of his friend Nacho Ramírez Monfort. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Abou-Ganim mixes drink at Libertine Social
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, helped change the cocktail culture in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masaharu Morimoto talks ramen in Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto talks about bringing a ramen restaurant to Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto considering full-time Las Vegas ramen spot
Morimoto talks about a full-time ramen spot in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new home at Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign is working it's way to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has been moved to its permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new Las Vegas home
The famous and newly restored Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has moved to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas band Otherwise release song and video in tribute to slain cousin
Adrian and Ryan Patrick, brothers in the band Otherwise with drummer Brian Medeiros, talk about the release of a tribute song to their deceased cousin Ivan. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like