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Longtime Vegas showman 1 of 30 left vying for $9.2M Circa jackpot

Kenny Davidsen has stood the test of time as a Las Vegas showman, playing piano and singing in four shows a week for the last decade-plus.

Davidsen, who doubles as a fantasy football fanatic, also has persevered in the Circa Survivor contest, where he is one of only 30 entrants from a field of 9,267 still in the running for the $9.2 million prize.

“It’s been a roller coaster so far,” he said. “Yet we’ve got to win six more games. We’ve got a long way to go, and we don’t have a lot of good teams left to use. But it’s pretty exciting to be this far.”

Davidsen’s contest alias is “Bow Tie Cabaret,” the name of his free Friday night show at the Piazza Lounge at the Tuscany, where he enters his weekly Survivor selection at the Circa sportsbook.

Davidsen owns more than 70 bow ties and is in 84 fantasy football leagues, 54 as commissioner. But he only has one Survivor entry for the second straight year with his contest partners and pals, Scott Frankel and Forrest Ryan.

Last year, they were eliminated in Week 2 when the Bengals were upset by backup quarterback Cooper Rush and the Cowboys on a last-second field goal in Dallas.

“We’ve only picked one road team all year this year, because we learned a lesson from last year,” Davidsen, 48, said. “But this week we might have to go with a road team because there’s not a lot of home teams with good matchups.”

Davidsen survived with the Chiefs on the road over the Jets in Week 4, when Kansas City blew a 17-point lead before holding on for a 23-20 win.

His biggest sweat was in Week 1, when Washington trailed Arizona 16-10 in the fourth quarter before it converted a fumble into a touchdown in a 20-16 triumph.

The field was slashed from 80 to 30 last week, when 24 entries were eliminated by the Steelers and 24 by the Jaguars. Davidsen advanced with the Buccaneers, who overcame a third-quarter deficit en route to a 21-18 win over the Panthers.

Davidsen used the Lions over the Raiders in Week 8 on “Monday Night Football.”

“Funny, if we still had Detroit available, we might’ve taken them on Thanksgiving but we would’ve lost,” he said. “The only team we had available was the Cowboys, so it worked out great.”

The New York native said he has saved the Eagles (over the Giants) for Christmas, a separate contest week.

“I’m a former New Yorker and my partner also is a former New Yorker and lifelong Giants fan,” Davidsen said. “It’s funny that he also wants to go against the Giants this week, because he said the Giants are abysmal.”

Davidsen moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to play at the Don’t Tell Mama piano bar after performing at its Manhattan location. He plays shows Wednesday and Saturday nights at the bar at Neonopolis.

He also is musical director for “Mondays Dark,” which will celebrate its 10th anniversary show Monday night at the Pearl at the Palms.

Davidsen might be perspiring more from the Packers-Giants game than from his performance.

“We’re deciding between three teams this week. We narrowed it to the Ravens, the Packers or the Texans,” he said. “The funny thing is that if we go with Green Bay over the Giants, that’s ‘Monday Night Football,’ so I might be sweating the end of that game right as I’m starting ‘Mondays Dark.’

“Let’s hope Green Bay wins by 24 and I don’t have to worry about it.”

Davidsen, who has been playing piano since he was 4, had a double-major of music and journalism at New York University. He considered becoming a sports writer before writing a story on the New York Rangers.

“What I learned from doing that was it was a little more like work, and music’s never been work,” he said. “But I love sports.”

He started playing fantasy football 14 years ago and fell in love with it for the competition and camaraderie.

One league quickly turned into 10, and 10 turned into 84, and that doesn’t include best-ball leagues.

“I’m in about a hundred of those,” he said. “I’m not even counting best-ball leagues because those you draft and you’re done.”

He said being immersed in fantasy football is a big help in Survivor.

“We watch every game, and we’re in tune with every team,” he said. “It helps us get a pulse on all the teams because you want to pick against the most lifeless team there is, which is why we may go against the Giants.”

If Davidsen collects his share of the $9.2 million, the thing that will change the most for him is his wardrobe.

“Honestly, I don’t think anything would change for me because I love my work,” he said. “I never became a musician for the money.

“I’d probably buy some socks. I really need socks. I have old, ratty clothes I probably should replace.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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