There ought to be a law: Las Vegas always should have at least one show like this one, which is the way most of them used to be.
Audiences might not realize they miss a show like "Voices," which is all about personality instead of stagecraft, and entertainers getting down on their knees (literally) to earn your applause.
With Clint Holmes, The Scintas and Society of Seven no longer in permanent residence, the torch now passes to old-school showman Earl Turner and Lani Misalucha, who had a pop career in the Philippines before working on the Strip with Society of Seven.
It’s not asking much. Just let these two talents get up there and sing as themselves, dressing nice without doing costumed impersonations, fronting a live band in the Las Vegas Hilton’s cozy Shimmer Cabaret.
But we already overlegislate in this country, so the law of supply and demand will have to suffice.
It asks a lot of people to invest in these semiobscure names, but producers Angelo Giordano and John Stuart have a good plan. As Turner announces from the stage, if you bring back a paying customer within 30 days, you can see the show again free.
Never mind that the promotion sounds tricky to administer; the logic is sound. Only trusted friends can explain why we should care about Turner doing Leo Sayer’s "When I Need You" — the on-his-knees song — like he was James Brown at the Apollo.
That was the magic of the old school. The excitement they generated by working the room often outweighed the public-domain material. Here, it’s Turner taking on soul classics such as "Hold On! I’m A Comin’ " or Misalucha’s slightly less-universal diva pop of the Whitney Houston school.
Only Sinatra — maybe Dino, too — could get away with making it look easy. The Vegas ethic is to make sure everyone knows you’re working hard. Let the audience see you sweat. But when Turner makes one exception to this rule, for Michael Buble’s "Feeling Good," the effect is stunning.
As she did with Society of Seven, Misalucha offers the nightly showstopper of the Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma," the out-of-place lounge atmosphere only bringing more marvel to the unfiltered beauty of her voice.
Turner’s voice sits tightly on top of the six-piece band, which asserts itself with a two-piece horn section. Misalucha’s multioctave voice is harder for both the band and people in the sound booth to follow.
Her voice is in the realm of Celine Dion, and like Dion, she has a hard time powering down for a nice-and-easy standard such as "Orange Colored Sky" without sounding at odds with the arrangement.
Since both singers do have their established followings, the only real mystery was how they would fit together. Quite well, it turns out, making "Voices" something new for those who have seen them separately.
Turner is teasing yet protective when Misalucha does her imitations of Dion and Tina Turner. "I used to work alone. Now I’ve learned to say ‘Yes dear’ onstage," he jokes.
And they knuckle down for a challenging showcase of tunes from the new Broadway musical "The Heights." It’s a welcome contrast to familiar crowdpleasers such as Earth, Wind & Fire’s "September" or the Phil Collins pablum "Separate Lives."
"So much music, so little time," Turner says near the end of a show that takes every last second of the allowed 90 minutes, before the room must be cleared for "Sin City Bad Girls." These two clearly don’t want to go home. And neither will the audience, no matter how tough a sell it was to get them in there.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.Review
7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton, 3000 Paradise Road
$59.95, $89.91 includes dinner at Benihana (732-5755)