A tale of two cities involving Celine Dion:
Her heart, and her show, will go on in Las Vegas for years to come.
According to a source close to the situation, Dion has committed to a “very
long-term extension” at Caesars Palace.
The source said the new contract will be “longer than her previous deals.” She’s currently in the second year of a three-year deal that came after her five-year run at the Colosseum grossed more than $400 million.
Her Elvis-like international appeal has helped draw the largest crowds to a city making a comeback from its worst economic collapse.
The other city?
Without an invitation to perform in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, Dion’s road to Las Vegas might not have happened.
It was a pure gold opportunity, with almost 1 billion worldwide watching the opening ceremonies telecast.
Accompanied by David Foster on the piano, she sang “The Power of The Dream” accompanied by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a choir.
Las Vegan Gladys Knight followed with “Georgia on My Mind,” Georgia’s official state song, before Muhammad Ali lit the torch to open the Olympics.
It was Dion’s first international audience of that magnitude and by late 1997 her career went to another level with her hit song “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme of the box office blockbuster “Titanic.”
‘PAWN STARS’ STURGIS-BOUND
Rick and son Cory Harrison of “Pawn Stars” fame are heading to Sturgis, S.D., and one of the world’s largest motorcycle rallies.
“Pawn Stars” cameramen will be filming their adventure for a future episode.
They leave today on the 1,061-mile trip in a motorhome.
“I’m taking my Road King and a ’67 Triumph,” Rick Harrison said.
He said the upcoming schedule includes an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show and flying to Argentina next month on a promotional trip.
“We’re the No. 1 show in all South America,” he said.
The show’s runaway success reminds me of a telephone call I received from comedy legend Shecky Greene a couple weeks ago.
The call came a day or so after it was reported here that Austin “Chumlee” Russell of “Pawn Stars” was reportedly getting $25,000 an episode and living in a million-dollar mansion.
“I’m changing careers,” Greene said.
With Shecky, there’s always a punch line waiting in the wings.
“I’m opening a pawn shop,” he said.
Rice with an Ace
UNLV head basketball coach Dave Rice was taking care of priorities Friday and didn’t realize he had just scored his first hole in one.
Rice didn’t see his 5-iron shot on the 197-yard par 3 fifth hole go in at TPC Summerlin, but one of his playing partners, Jon Sandler, the voice of Rebels basketball, had a hunch it was an ace.
“Typical Dave,” Sandler said. “He was on his cellphone working.”
Also in the group: former UNLV baseball assistant coach Drew Topham. Rice, who rarely gets on the course, shot a 75. It was good timing, Sandler said.
“It was probably the last day of any semblance of personal freedom he has until next May or June,” Sandler added.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman rode to McCarran International Airport on Saturday in a limo at the invitation of Vice President Joe Biden after they attended a veterans event. “He was charming, and she was Carolyn,” said her husband, former Mayor Oscar Goodman. …
Gary Waddell leaves on a motorcycle trip to Colorado today to mark the anniversary of the death of a friend , a fellow motorcyclist, by spreading his ashes. Waddell, who did his last telecast at KLAS-TV, Channel 8 on Friday after a 32-year tenure as anchor, has another road trip coming up. His colleagues presented him with a motorcycle trip for two in Europe.
Just out of jail, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was spotted shopping for shoes at Fashion Show Mall on Saturday with a large entourage. … Soccer veteran Cobi Jones, a former member of Team USA, spotted at Mandalay Bay on Saturday. He’s in town as an invited guest for the Real Madrid-Santos Laguna soccer exhibition at Sam Boyd Stadium today at 8 p.m. … Hank Thornley, longtime KLAS anchor and the station’s first news director, among those attending Waddell’s farewell gathering at noon on Friday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Whoa! Is it 8:15 already!?” – From David Letterman’s Top Ten Signs Your Date is Not Having a Good Time.
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email@example.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.