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ENTERTAINMENT: A Tale of Two ‘Talents’

  I went to see ventriloquist Terry Fator on Sunday night. A review will run in the Neon Sept. 12, the week of his return. But for now, it’s enough to say the turnout was amazing; a house packed into the balcony of the 1,800-seat theater on a Sunday night in a slow summer, and with the Olympics on TV.
  Fator’s pledge to meet any and all fans after the show created a line four-people deep, stretched from the theater doors all through the casino to the back of the Shimmer Cabaret.
  His extraordinary popularity still has but one explanation: “America’s Got Talent.” Fator’s winning the NBC talent show last summer pulled him from the state-fair circuit to a Mirage deal that could be worth $100 million to him. And judging by Sunday’s crowd, it’s a good investment for the casino.
  But something is easily overlooked in all this: Fator actually won the second season of the series. Does anyone remember the first winner?
  Well, her name is Bianca Ryan, and she joins “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” for a limited engagement Aug. 26-31. You could say that “Talent” built momentum its second year, or that Fator is just a phenomenon unto himself. But I’d say the biggest difference between Ryan and Fator is a practical one: Ryan turns 14 the day after her “V” stint ends.
  Even Fator, in an earlier interview, was quick to point out that he had been laboring in the trenches for years and was poised to cash in quickly on his victory. Ryan, on the other hand, presumably still had other concerns, such as passing junior high math and the like. The logistics of show business are a little different for a young teen, especially one without a Disney vehicle such as “Hanna Montana” behind her.

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