‘Talent’ giving locals exposure

Michael Grimm doesn’t watch a lot of television, but he’s a qualified fan of “America’s Got Talent.”

“When I’m at home I keep it out of my house,” he says. “That way it keeps my nerves in check.”

The Las Vegas-based singer made it to the finals of NBC’s top-rated summer talent show. No matter what happens by the Sept. 15 season finale, he’s guaranteed more attention to his career.

“Now maybe the (record) labels will get it and go, ‘OK, we can do something with that now,’ ” he says.

The 11-year Las Vegan has been a house entertainer for Station Casinos, usually performing at Green Valley Ranch. A Saturday show at Boulder Station was his last until the TV contest is determined.

“I don’t think I’m going to win the show. I’d be very surprised if I did,” Grimm says. “But I’m so lucky I got as far as I got on the show. It’s caused a lot of exposure, which is what I need. I’ve been doing my thing forever, and all these labels just don’t get it.”

Grimm self-released albums last year (“I Am”) and this summer (“You Can Leave Your Hat On,” a collection of classic-soul covers). But when he pursues major-label distribution, he says the reaction to his retro blues ‘n’ soul is usually, “What am I going to do with this? Who am I going to sell this to? You need to be doing something more pop.”

“Talent” downplayed Grimm’s Las Vegas career in background segments about his life. “I love Vegas and I probably won’t ever move from there,” he says. However, “when they ask me where I’m from, I am in my heart from Mississippi.

“It took me moving out West to realize this: I’m from the South. I’m a Mississippi boy. I need to be that guy, and that’s who I’m gonna be. That’s all I am.”

From a strong Las Vegas pack of contenders this season, only magician Murray Sawchuck remained with Grimm in this week’s competition, and the judges’ enthusiam for him faded Tuesday. The cast of “Le Reve” was to receive some prime-time exposure on Wednesday’s show. …

The Sahara is busy adding and moving titles, for a new total of five — with a sixth announcement pending for an 11 p.m. late show.

New to the party is The Amazing Kreskin, the elder statesman of mentalists, and the return of an oldies tribute to the Platters, Coasters and Marvelettes.

The oldies show opening Sept. 20 is almost branded with the Sahara, having been there for seven years — with an earlier run before that — before closing last fall. But this time it’s back without longtime producer Bill Caron, who says he respects “everyone want(ing) to get back to work,” but felt the 9 p.m. time slot was too late for the show’s older demographic.

John Stuart is the new producer of both the oldies revue and Kreskin. Stuart, best known for his past years at the helm of “Legends in Concert,” has two bankruptcy hearings scheduled today and Wednesday. The latter is a move to convert a personal Chapter 7 to a Chapter 11 reorganization.

The Comedy Stop club moved this week from the Sahara’s theater to its Casbar lounge, which will be enclosed for ticketed shows. That’s also where Kreskin was to debut Wednesday, for a limited run into November. He will do his mentalism act at 5 p.m. most days and a weekly gambling seminar on how to increase your edge in the casino games at 3:30 p.m. Thursdays. The casino must not be too scared of his system, allowing these tutorials right next to their tables. …

Sunday marks the debut of “Red Light,” a weeknight offering at the Crown Theater, the independently operated showroom and club at the Rio. It offers circus and sideshow acts in the round, with performers including SwingShift SideShow, which competed recently on “America’s Got Talent” and includes Andrew S. of last year’s O’Shea’s opus “Freaks.”

“Red Light” is produced by Leon Q (Quenneville), the brother of “Country Superstars Tribute” producer Leonard Quenneville. Leon’s background is more in television. …

Todd Rexx and Friends were set to move into the Palms’ lounge Wednesday for the Washington, D.C., comedian’s weekly comedy showcase with the low-dough admission of $10, or $20 for booth seating. …

If you see the letter “Z” carved into stuff around Planet Hollywood, it could be raging bachelor partyers. Or it could be promotion for a theatrical “Zorro,” which might find its way into the casino’s big concert hall. The musical scored by the Gipsy Kings debuted in London’s West End in 2008. …

Finally, the casinos on the Strip got slicked by Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort in Laughlin, which booked two of the new contestants on “Dancing with the Stars” before this season’s lineup was made official Monday.

David Hasselhoff takes his velvet tones to the river Sept. 21-26, at what should be the peak of publicity for the TV contest debuting Sept. 20.

“We may have to furnish a dance studio for him to practice in,” says concert promoter Roy Jernigan. Rival contestant Michael Bolton does an outdoor concert at the Riverside Oct. 16.

Alas, comedian Margaret Cho will have performed at the Palms Sept. 17, three days before “Dancing.”

No word on when or where Bristol Palin will be booked.

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


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