By John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 27, 2021 - 7:28 pm
For the Vegas entertainment scene, the year 2021 was a little like a combo wrap of 2019 and 2020. For a brief burst in the summer, life blossomed back to normal. But as the year closes, it’s back to tracking COVID surge statistics, masking, vaxing, even avoiding crowds, feeling a lot like 2020.
We are at once entering the unknown and familiar as 2022 arrives. The Go-Go’s just canceled their New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day shows, moving to Feb. 11-12. “Magic Mike Live” at Sahara just ended a brief pause Sunday because of a COVID outbreak in its show. The Chippendales show at the Rio is due back Wednesday after abruptly going dark last week. This, too, was a COVID-enforced pause.
But 2021 does close with most of the city’s busy entertainment schedule returning, full force. We return, then, to the Kats! Awards, shelved in 2020, back now. Some of the highlights as we rest up, mask up and rev up for the new year:
Best New Aquatic Effect
To Carrie Underwood, who arrived at the Theatre at Resorts World with high expectations and elevated hype. She was the first headliner to open the venue after Celine Dion stepped away to deal with health concerns. The closing number, where Underwood winds up soaked as she sings, “There Must Be Something in the Water,” was an instant classic. So was the show.
Best Use of Las Vegas Talent by a Strip Headliner
We can’t give enough credit to Usher for his “Backstory Pass” pre-show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. His team parked it in its creative partnership with Majestic Repertory Theater and Table 8 Immersive founder Troy Heard, who enlisted such Vegas favorites as Skye Dee Miles and Eric Jordan Young. We even have ex-Olympic track athlete and longtime Caesars Palace dealer Martha Watson as the Den Mother, counting up the money as she extols life lessons.
The result: An amazing piece of recruiting to match a vision built inside a unique venue themed for a superstar headliner’s life story. If that all makes sense. Usher’s concept sure does.
Best Use of Las Vegas Talent by a Professional Sports Franchise
The Raiders entertainment team dug in, hit the scene and installed David Perrico’s Pop Strings as its house band at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders season has been star-crossed, to put it mildly, but the Perrico call has been on the money. We get chills seeing those fiery Vegas musician rocking The Death Star...
DAVID PERRICO IN THE NEWS
Here's where you'll find all the latest news about David Perrico, Pop Strings Orchestra, and Pop Evolution.