Did you catch the Miss America Pageant on ABC this past
Saturday night? 8 million viewers tuned in for this live telecast, which ended with
23 year-old Laura Kaeppeler of Wisconsin being awarded the tiara and that
Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, transfers her crown to Laura Kaeppler
That was a fun two-hour-long block of television, don't you
think? But had you been out in Las Vegas over the past 10 days or so, you would
have seen that the Miss America pageant isn't just some one night affair.
There's actually a full week of preliminary competitions which then led up to
Saturday night's broadcast.
Now factor in that - in the days prior to the pageant -
these 53 beauty queens just seem to be everywhere in Sin City. There was their
official welcoming ceremony at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on
January 5th, which was then followed by a pancake breakfast the next
day to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. From there, these
18-to-25 year-old young ladies plunged right into hours of rehearsal and
orientation as they readied for the big event.
And as busy as their days might have been (with promotional
events like walking the runway at the Fashion Mall, then signing autographs and
posing for pictures with all the shoppers there), their evenings were equally
full. Take - for example - the night of January 7th. When the
titleholders from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and
the U.S. Virgin Islands went over to the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino to
catch a special performance of PHANTOM: The Las Vegas Spectacular.
The 2012 Miss America pageant contestants at "PHANTOM - The Las Vegas Spectacular." Photo by B. Vartan Boyajian. All rights reserved
You'd think that - in a town where glitz and celebrity are
almost commonplace - that a 91 year-old event like the Miss America pageant
wouldn't make all that much of a splash. But tourists and locals alike
obviously get a real kick out of seeing the girls with their sashes posing in
front of such iconic Las Vegas spots as the Fremont Street Experience and the
Which explains the mad scramble for tickets for the first
few nights of preliminary competitions. Which is where Ms. Kaeppeler initially
showed that she was a comer by winning the preliminary talent competition with
her operatic performance of "Il Bacio (The Kiss)" from Luigi
But once Laura had officially been crowned on Saturday
night... Well, those 52 other young ladies who didn't take home a tiara were
determined not to leave Las Vegas empty-handed. Which is why - the very next
day - a number of Miss America contestants and their family members then
invaded the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
Which was a very smart move on their part. Given that --
with its selection of 170 specialty stores, 15 restaurants and three live
entertainment venues -- there's no better place on the Planet to do a little
retail therapy than by wandering along the Miracle Mile.
Longtime Las Vegas visitors may remember this $300 million
retail / entertainment complex as the Desert Passage Mall, which used to be
attached to the Aladdin hotel. But when the Aladdin was transformed into the
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino back in 2007, this Moroccan-themed retail
center underwent a similar sort of transformation. With the Desert Passage
trading its authentically bumpy, cobblestone streets for a flat, shiny black
floor as it then became an Los Angeles-themed fashion district.
And given that - on average -- 80,000 people now visit the
Miracle Mile Shops every day, it's clear that locals as well as Las Vegas
visitors approve of this mult-million dollar makeover. Where during daylight
hours, shoppers can take advantage of all sorts of breakfast & lunch
specials before they then sample goods from some of the world's best-known
brands. H&M, Wild Pair, Sephora, American Apparel, Victoria's Secret and
Urban Outfitters among others.
But as afternoon gives way to night, a second wave of
humanity comes pouring into Planet Hollywood's retail complex. And these folks
aren't coming here just so they can then catch the Miracle Mile Shops' fountain
show with all of its color-changing fog and lighted-water effects.
No, what brings the crowds into this corner of Las Vegas at
that time of day are the great shows that are presented at two of the Miracle
Miles Shops' live entertainment venues, the V Theater and the Saxe Theater.
The fun actually gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Where -
depending on your taste in music - you can either recapture the glory days of
Motown with "Hitzville - The Show" at the V Theatre or enjoy a recreation
of the Fab Four by catching a performance of "BeatleShow!" over at the Saxe
"Hitzville" really goes all out when it come to recreating
that authentic Motown sound. This show features a male quartet which skillfully
covers The Temptations' hits, not to mention a female trio that channels the
Supremes. Now fold in the Saxe Theater's live house band (which features
musicians who have worked wih Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Diana Ross) and
the show's leading lady, Jin Jin Reeves and you've got the sort of tight,
fast-paced musical revue that Berry Gordy Jr. himself used to present in
Detroit back in the 1960s.
And speaking of the 1960s ... If you catch a performance of
"BeatleShow!" over at the V Theater, you're going to feel like it's 1964 all
over again. As first that Ed Sullivan impersonator comes out onstage and then
introduces the audience to four talented young musicians. Who then do
everything they can to convince the audience that they're actually seeing the
real Beatles live in concert.
And make no mistake, folks. "BeatleShow!" isn't some lip
sync show. The music that you're hearing is live. The instruments, the vocals -
everything that you're seeing & hearing is being performed right in front
of you. Which is why so many Vegas visitors walk away from this show at the V
Theater raving about the great sounding musical revue they just saw.
Mind you, once "Hitzville
- The Show" and "BeatleShow!"
wrap for the night, the Saxe Theater and the V Theater quickly reset and then
become home to two other live entertainment presentations -- the Sin City
Comedy Show and V - The Ultimate Variety Show.
Sin City Comedy Show is just what its title says it is. This live stage
show liberally mixes the Sin City Dollz' racy dance routines in with stand-up
routines by two nationally-known comics. And given that a new name comedian
rotates into the Sin City Comedy line-up every week, you're never ever going to
see the same show twice here.
Variety is also the spice of life over at the Saxe
Theater. Depending on which day of the
week you catch V
- The Ultimate Variety Show, you'll see acrobats, comedians, magicians or
impressionists onstage here. Each of these acts will be presented in the
traditional variety show format that is hosted by a witty emcee who knows how
to keep things clean. Which (given how popular this particular live show is
with Vegas' younger visitors) is one of V - The Ultimate Variety Show's real
In short, if you're looking for a stop along the Strip that
features great shopping, affordable food as well as a unique assortment of live
entertainment opportunities, the Miracle Miles Shops at the Planet
Hollywood Resort and Casino is definitely worth a look-see.
So if you missed out on seeing the Miss America pageant live
in Las Vegas this past week (Don't worry, Those beauty queens will definitely
be next year. This annual pageant is supposed to use the Planet Hollywood
Resort & Casino as its base of operations at least through 2015), you can
at least do what many of this year's runners-up did this past Sunday. Which is
enjoy some great shopping, affordable food as well as a unique assortment of
live entertainment opportunities by visiting the Miracle Miles Shops.