Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 | 8 a.m.
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The screaming is deafening! The applause is overwhelming! The enthusiasm is out of control! All because of handsome men ripping off their white tank tops and dropping their pants to reveal nearly everything. It really is girls gone wild, and I was right in the center of it.
Welcome to the wildness of the amorous audience at Chippendales, now celebrating its 10th anniversary at the Rio with “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With the Stars” heartthrob Jake Pavelka as the guest host through mid-March.
As a guy, though, I confess that I was more fascinated with the antics of the audience than the hunk parade onstage. I thought that the bold bachelorettes, lusty ladies and groping girls made for more interesting studies than the muscular males they were watching. Some of their outfits defied description, as they tottered in on sky-high heels in the tightest and shortest of miniskirts.
I wasn’t surprised that none of them paid me a second look, and I doubt if any male other than George Clooney or Brad Pitt perhaps could break the magnetic attention fixed on the bulging biceps and toned torsos. Security had to hold back the overreaching women, one of whom followed her favorite backstage to plant a kiss on his lips and another who tried to jump up around his neck not caring how high her skirt rose.
Since the show began 10 years ago, there have been a total of 39 men who have performed onstage, and only two now remain from the original lineup. The genial guys -- some of whom came out of military service or started dancing to supplement their medical studies and down-market real-estate business -- have gone on to become pilots, professors, web designers and entrepreneurs.
I asked the producers to compile some fun facts and figures from the amazing 10-year run. They calculated that to stay beautifully buff, the boys have spent some 300,000 hours working out in the gym. They’ve posed for more than 2.112 million official photos after the shows with the affectionate audience.
Girls go wild as the Chippendales tear off those white tank tops -- 122,430 of them through last weekend’s 10th anniversary celebration. And the trademark bowties -- 16,020 of them, plus 42,230 matching cuffs. With the dropped pants, military uniforms, construction worker gear and firemen fantasies, it’s meant 54,600 pounds of laundry.
Over the 10 years, there have been 3,882 performances for more than 1.3 million audience members, with more than 99 percent of those being women. No matter the age be they 21 or 81 -- and I swear there were a few grandmothers in the crowd -- they all go gaga for the guys. Our thanks to Scott Harrison for the photos to prove it.
“Quite the experience!” Jake told me at the anniversary party in nearby Steve Martorano’s Italian restaurant Cafe Martorano after his debut appearance as guest host. “It’s total fun, and I’m loving it. You’ll never hear a more enthusiastic audience at any other show in the world. This noise is louder than a rock concert!
“I’m going to enjoy my month’s run here. I’m going to add lots of little personal touches to things as we go along. I’m going to try and ratchet up the wildness even more, if that’s possible. Bring it on, baby!”
The reality TV star is in Las Vegas with his girlfriend Ashley Vickers, a Los Angeles actress and TV host. He told me that she was the first to encourage him to take on the tough assignment of fending off her rivals.
Jake, who hands out a few of those signature red roses from “The Bachelor” and “Bachelor Pad” at each show, summed up: “It’s a fabulous experience for me and the audiences. The guys are simply great to work with -- they’ve welcomed me like family immediately. They’ve told me not to be surprised at anything the girls try -- and they mean anything! Over 10 years, they’ve experienced some outrageous overtures, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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