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July 24, 2014

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Exclusive: CeeLo Green’s ‘Loberace’ is renewed — on its official opening night at Planet Hollywood

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

The official opening night of “CeeLo Green Is Loberace” at Planet Hollywood on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

'CeeLo Green Is Loberace' Opening Night

The official opening night of Launch slideshow »

'CeeLo Green Is Loberace' Red Carpet

Big Gipp, CeeLo Green, Khujo and T-Mo arrive for the official opening night of Launch slideshow »
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Robin Leach, Jennifer Romas and CeeLo Green backstage after the official opening night of "CeeLo Green Is Loberace" at Planet Hollywood on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

CeeLo Green Only You

“Las Vegas is where dreams come true,” said CeeLo Green during the official premiere of his show “CeeLo Green Is Loberace” at Planet Hollywood early this morning after midnight. And backstage at 2 a.m., CeeLo celebrated the news that his debut Las Vegas run will return in October with more shows. The first run of 28 performances ends April 13, then he returns through New Year’s.

When I saw the preview run-through Wednesday night, I agreed not to reveal three surprises. My review of the first show was posted Thursday; my lengthy interview with the music superstar was posted Feb. 20.

The first surprise was the appearance of Boy George, an uncanny lookalike and soundalike so realistic that many people thought he was the real one. Boy George actually sent an email to impersonator Bryan Watkins (Shannel), saying: “I’m so glad CeeLo chose you for me -- you are the best me.”

CeeLo told me that the flamboyant pop prince had inspired him and that the British singer was one of his music influences. Brian was the last to be auditioned, flying in from New Mexico to L.A. so late about a month ago that they were shutting the building and parking lot. He implored them to let him show them his Boy George, and he was hired on the spot.

The second surprise was a mini-CeeLo. He had the audience captivated with his performance and made you think this was how CeeLo was at age 6. The audience was thrilled that CeeLo strolled among them singing and talking as relaxed as could be. The all-around performer is as comfortable as could be in his debut. Fans glad-handed him, sang, waved and danced at their seats.

Finally, the night’s biggest surprise was when CeeLo’s Goodie Mob of Khujo, T-Mo and Big Gipp joined him onstage rising from beneath the floor on a lift. CeeLo formed the group in Atlanta in 1991. The crowd jumped to its feet cheering, and the rapidly slimming CeeLo, from his new EDiet, even gave me a shout-out from the stage at the end.

On the red carpet outside Chi Theater that also is home to “Peepshow”: Holly Madison; curvy Coco Austin and her dogs Spartacus and Maximus (Coco’s contract in “Peepshow” has been extended through July); “Peepshow” cast members including Cheaza and Josh Strickland; and CeeLo’s 10 fabulous felines who make up his sexy L.A. dance team.

Also, producers from NBC’s “The Voice,” on which CeeLo is a mentor; Frank Marino from “Divas Las Vegas” at The Quad; Eric Benet; India Benet (his daughter); Goodie Mob; actresses Aly and A.J. Michalka; and V. Bozeman, who sings “Freak Out” in “Loberace.”

You get a great idea of the amazing, sometimes surreal video effects CeeLo uses in “Loberace” when you watch his new music video “Only You” with singer Lauriana Mae and its bending buildings. Backstage, CeeLo told me that he flies to Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday to perform at the Laureus World Sports Awards. It’s 20 hours of round-trip flying before he returns for Wednesday’s show.

“I used to be deathly afraid of flying,” he told me. “Now, though, it’s the place I get the best sleep of all. I’ll pass out the moment we take off and wake up as we’re ready to land. When I get back to Las Vegas on Wednesday, I won’t even know I’ve flown all the way there and back.”

He talked about the new show: “I’m having a great time with it. I’m enjoying all of it. Interacting with the audience, talking to them every night, makes it always different from show to show. It’s fun, it’s hot, it’s exciting; mainly, it’s a party with some of my favorite music and some favorite covers. I’m inspired by what’s happening, and we’re making it better and tighter every night. It’s growing, and I love to watch it grow.

“I’d always wanted to do this kind of a show in Las Vegas. We came to try it out to see if it worked well for everybody. Here we are on opening night, and we’ve already been renewed. That’s a fantastic vote, and the dream I always had for Las Vegas has come true.”

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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