Specialty acts vie for TV fame

Las Vegas may be the one place in the world where singers, magicians, acrobats and animal acts can vie for star status.

As such, it’s the ideal venue for “America’s Got Talent.” The third season of NBC’s showbiz showcase hits town Saturday for a six-day visit that includes two weekend tapings at Planet Hollywood, followed by four days that will determine who’ll reach the semifinals. (Last season’s champ, ventriloquist Terry Fator, now performs at the Las Vegas Hilton.)

This time around, dozens of MySpace Web site users who auditioned by submitting videos of their acts will get their chance in the “America’s Got Talent” spotlight during two Sunday shows — at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. — inside Planet Hollywood’s Theatre for the Performing Arts.

For free tickets to the Sunday tapings, register online at www.ocatv.com/shows/show/198. But “anyone who turns up,” even without a ticket, “will get in,” promises executive producer James Sunderland. (Arrive about an hour before showtime if you don’t have reservations.)

“It will be a great show to come down and watch,” Sunderland says of the “musicians, dancers, animal acts, illusionists and variety performers” trying to catch the collective eye of judges David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan. (Plus host Jerry Springer.)

But there’s also a “fourth judge” involved, Sunderland adds: the audience, whose enthusiastic response “gives the performers that extra edge.”

Following Sunday’s shows, four days of “Vegas Week” tapings will determine “who is going to get through” to the semifinals, he explains.

Model behavior: The search for the next Miss Hawaiian Tropic storms Glitter Gulch this weekend, with pageant preliminaries at 7 p.m. Friday at the Golden Nugget and finals at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Fremont Street Experience. Both events are free and open to the public.

Featuring 50 contenders, the pageant will be taped for an hourlong syndicated television show, reports Vanessa Bednar, Hawaiian Tropic’s executive model search director.

Last year’s event took place at The Mirage pool; Las Vegas has been the pageant’s home for “at least 10” of its 25 years, Bednar notes.

Night and day: The winner of a contest on “GMTV,” Britain’s top-rated morning show, reports from Neon Nirvana this week — including a live shot from the Bellagio fountains at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday (7:30 a.m. back in Britain).

Also on the schedule: an interview with Sahara headliner Roseanne Barr, plus visits to The Mirage’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Paris Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower and the Mandalay Beach and Palms pools.

Contact reporter Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.

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