Singers blend ‘Voices’ at Hilton

Some partnerships are arranged at birth, like Flamingo headliners Donny and Marie Osmond.

Others are made by hiring proven Las Vegas talents to co-star in the same show, and telling them, "Figure it out."

Such was the case with the new Las Vegas Hilton show "Voices," a title explaining the link between powerhouse singers Earl Turner and Lani Misalucha.

The two were set to open Wednesday night in the Shimmer Cabaret, sharing the stage (and bandstand set) with the topless revue "Sin City Bad Girls" that debuts Friday.

"It’s going to take us a while to get our rhythm," Turner says, "but at the end of the day it’s going to be something different."

Turner was a local favorite back in the ’90s, when lounges were loss-leaders for live entertainment. He made the transition to ticketed star and headlined for Harrah’s in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina sent him back to Las Vegas.

Misalucha had some pop success in the Philippines before joining forces with the Hawaiian show band Society of Seven in 2004. Her rendition of Puccini’s "Nessun Dorma" was a daily showstopper.

When Society of Seven closed at the Flamingo last year, "I really wanted to venture into new things, experiment on something else," she says.

The two were paired by the show’s producers, Angelo Giordano and John Stuart, who took a hands-off approach in letting the two singers figure out how to blend their acts.

The singers agree the show will find its own path in time. But early decisions include not opening with a shared song and not trying to force any banter or one-upsmanship. "If it happens, great," Turner says. "I hope we feel loose enough to do that. But you can’t fake that. We’re not cheesing it up at all."

The two will forge into some mutually new territory, teaming up for a medley from the new Broadway hit "In the Heights."

"Because this show has a title, for me it’s not the Earl Turner show," he says. "It gives me the opportunity to do some things I haven’t done." And, he adds, "I know that the people who come see me are going to love her. She’s a force to be reckoned with."

The early "Voices" yields to the "Sin City Bad Girls" revue from a different team of producers, Glenn Medas and Michael Chambers. The rock trio — which sticks around after the ticketed show to play the covered "Sin City Heat" lounge revue — means the new "Peepshow" is not the only girlie show with a live band.

However, "Bad Girls" adheres to the more traditional separation of singing and topless dancing. The new show is a showcase for Lorena Peril, who has played Christina Aguilera in "American Superstars" at the Stratosphere.

Though earlier columns suggested one might morph into the other, Chambers clarifies that "Bad Girls" is a different show with a separate cast from "Sin City Kitties," which continues to play at Whiskey Pete’s on the state line at Primm. While "Kitties" is a burlesque show, "this one is a completely different vibe. It’s ‘rock on with your top off,’ " Chambers says, covering current hitmakers such as Nickelback, Danity Kane and Theory of a Deadman. …

A wave of coming benefits brings noteworthy entertainment, and you can save your ticket stubs for the tax man. Julius La Rosa, 79, makes a rare return to his old stomping grounds to headline "For the Love of Joe," the annual College of Southern Nevada fundraiser for the scholarship fund bearing the name of the late Joe Williams. It’s at 2 p.m. Sunday at the South Point.

Nelson Sardelli, who last year rallied the troops to the aid of ailing lounge singer Norman Kaye, is now marshaling forces for a May 17 benefit at The Orleans for earthquake victims in L’Aquila, Italy. The promised stars include comedian Shecky Greene, who already will be in town that weekend for shows at the Suncoast.

And "Voices" co-producer John Stuart is using his own ranch for a May 2 fundraiser for performer Trina Johnson-Finn, whom he says is in dire health while wrongly jailed in Suriname after a fiasco involving her Toni Braxton tribute. …

Reality TV continues to be the best free advertising for Las Vegas performers. Bravo does its part when hypnotist Anthony Cools goes on "The Millionaire Matchmaker" May 7. And Bravo promos for Kathy Griffin’s "My Life on the D-List" promise a trip to the Bette Midler show when the series starts up again June 5.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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