It used to be home to stars of yesteryear with the likes of Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland performing in the twilight of their careers. Nowadays a Las Vegas casino residency marks the ascension from contemporary icon to legend with Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey gracing the stage. Lady Gaga recently signed a two-year residency at MGM Park Theatre and is set to pocket $1m per show. A hefty fee, but just one of many WTF facts surrounding casino acts on the world-famous strip.
Take Britney, who revived her career with her four-year stint at the AXIS at Planet Hollywood, she bid farewell to her Vegas stage on New Year’s Eve after 248 shows, banking an estimated $140 million! But even this pales in comparison to Celine Dion who has not one, but two Las Vegas residencies. The first, “A New Day” is the most successful of all time, selling over 3 million tickets and raking in over $385 million. Her second residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace shows no sign up of let up either, now extending to 2019!
If there were one rule of a Las Vegas residency, it’s that you better put on a spectacle. With hoverboards, holograms and more than 335,000 Swarowski crystals, Jennifer Lopez does exactly that performing an octane set through pyrotechnics and laserbeams! However, no one puts on a show quite like Elton John who invested a massive $1 million on the aptly named Million Dollar Piano, decked out with a glass top and LED lights flashing imagery including a video of Kiki Dee for his performance of their hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.
Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan whether it be Mariah Carey’s shaky opening night, despite a repertoire that features more Billboard number ones than any other female artist (she has 18!) or a stage malfunction at magician, David Copperfield’s residency at the MGM Grand, which led to a technician being dragged into the vortex of an oversized fan. Though, no mishaps come close to that of Siegfried & Roy, and the now infamous night of October 3, 2003 when their white tiger, Montecore bit Roy on the neck. Luckily, Roy defied the odds and not only walked and talked again, but also performed magic again, though not at the same heights as their Mirage Resort & Casino show.
Check out all the numbers involved with the biggest casino acts of all time.