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Scintas bringing new material to Hilton

Frank Scinta says he’s now working for two British guys, and they’re both Simon Cowell.

“They praised us where it was due and tore us apart when they needed to,” the frontman for The Scintas says of his new producers.

The “American Idol” analogy wasn’t random. Andy Walmsley is the set designer for that show and several other TV hits, including “America’s Got Talent” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” He and Steve Parker, doing business as Asient Entertainment, are making The Scintas their first foray into ticketed Las Vegas entertainment.

“We were absolutely knocked back by the raw talent they’ve got and the energy they deliver it with,” Parker says of the Scintas.

Meeting with the sibling act near the end of their run at the Sahara, “our thoughts seemed to be very aligned,” Parker recalls. “They were saying, ‘We need to move forward.’ We pitched them a lot of ideas and it just stuck.”

The new show opens Monday in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret, a full-circle return to the first Las Vegas venue they played in 2000. But the show is at least 70 percent new and even has a new title: “Laugh Out Loud with The Scintas.”

“For all the years we were in Vegas, even with all the money Harrah’s put behind us (during five years at the Rio), people still didn’t know what The Scintas were,” Frank said. The family name “didn’t really say anything about what we were.”

Every segment of the old-school act was dissected with the new producers and tossed out if it couldn’t be defended. “I think George Burns will be taking a sabbatical,” Frank says of one of his bedrock impressions. “We stepped outside the box, every one of us in our own way,” he adds of the group that includes brother Joe, sister Chrissi and drummer Pete O’Donnell.

Chrissi will be tackling tunes by Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani. “I would say that this is not geared to (the group’s previous market niche of) the older audience who may be forgotten,” Parker says. “Absolutely not. I would say this is a variety show that’s geared to all ages.” …

Sick of Britney talk yet? Then consider this merely a coda to her overanalyzed performance at the Palms.

Remember how illusionist Criss Angel was supposed to be involved? A show business source passes along an explanation that included enough technical jargon (which I’m mostly leaving out) that it might just be funny enough to take seriously.

The illusion supposedly involved rigging harnesses for “flying,” which are “counterweighted so precisely (that) they needed to weigh her, and she refused,” the source e-mails. So the rigging company’s safety officer “cancelled the (illusion) due to her not being weighed and recorded.”

Another source close to Angel’s camp hadn’t heard anything about a flying harness being involved. …

The major player in the half-price ticket business says he has come full circle, reclaiming the original, prominent location under the giant Coca-Cola bottle at Showcase mall.

Mitch Francis of Tix4tonight says the landlord solicited a bid from him and he now plans to return to Showcase in early November. That location introduced Broadway-style, same-day discounting to the Strip in late 2002. But Francis and his original partner had an ugly split in early 2004, with Hal Kolker keeping the original location and name, Tickets 2 Nite.

The bad vibes continue, but Francis since has opened outlets at Fashion Show mall, the Four Queens, the Hawaiian Marketplace and a kiosk near the Peppermill restaurant. A third operator, All Access Ticketing, opened earlier this year inside Circus Circus and has a new outlet in the Forum Shops at Caesars. …

Fall brings entertainment turnover, so I’ll throw out a list and fill in the details down the road.

Impressionist Rich Little has been signed to 20 weeks at the Golden Nugget starting Oct. 25, working around the schedule of “Defending the Caveman” and special headliners; his Sunday show will be a matinee. All those weeks sound a bit optimistic for Little at this stage of his career, but Nugget president Tilman Fertitta is said to be a big fan.

“Fashionistas” is soon likely to move from the Empire Ballroom back to Krave nightclub, which continued to display exterior signage and advertising for the edgy show for months after the show pulled out in February. If it hasn’t come down by now, it pays to procrastinate.

Two other Empire shows, “The Soprano’s Last Supper” and “Joey and Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding,” are staying put but doing rumor control on talk that the venue is closing.

Not a move, but a big change: John O’Hurley leaves “Monty Python’s Spamalot” Wednesday to be replaced from within the cast by Randall Keith, who often has played Valjean in “Les Miserables.”

Hooters Casino has a new afternoon game show called “Bonk,” created by comedian Kerry Pollock. People wear helmets and bonk themselves on the heads.

Finally, the family-oriented off-Brodway title “Fan Yang Gazillion Bubble Show” is likely to become a tenant in Steve Wyrick’s theater at Miracle Mile Shops.

Mike Weatherford’s entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 383-0288 or e-mail him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com.

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