Monday, April 22, 2013 | 11:08 a.m.
There was no sleight of hand! It was not an illusion! Our Rio headliner magician Penn Jillette could easily have been shown the exit door on Sunday night’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC. He was elected leader of Team Plan B, and, if you lost, Donald Trump fired you.
Penn was project manager of his dwindling team of celebrity contestants -- actor Gary Busey and actress Lisa Rinna -- tasked with creating a new advertising campaign to promote South African tourism. Trouble is, neither Penn nor Lisa had ever been there, and Gary only talked about his bad experiences when last in Johannesburg.
“For all intents and purposes, we are doing this as a two-person team,” Penn said.
They competed against Team Power led by project manager, actress and Playboy beauty Brande Roderick with country singer Trace Adkins, actress Marilu Henner and Wynn resident DJ Lil Jon, who suggested dressing a model in a shark costume to signify adventure. Maybe too dangerous an adventure?
Penn recruited pal Paul Simon’s bassist and drummer to get Zulu dancers and South African food for their campaign of “Beyond Safari: an exotic world of romance under South African skies.”
Poison rocker Bret Michaels returned to the boardroom as The Donald’s adviser, and together they said Brande had to be fired, although she might have saved herself if she’d bought Lil Jon in with her.
Penn won the day and a second $40,000 to donate to our beloved charity Opportunity Village. He’ll be back again next week and could even add to the $80,000 total that he’s now donated to O.V. from the show.
Meantime, Penn will be at O.V.’s Engelstad Campus on Tuesday at 1 p.m. for a viewing of Sunday night’s second winning episode.
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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Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.