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July 22, 2014

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Celine Dion’s 2019 contract extension at Caesars Palace surprised the suits

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Erik Kabik/Retna/ErikKabik.com

Celine Dion’s post-show news conference at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 15, 2011.

Celine Dion’s decision to extend her residency to 2019 came as a wonderful surprise, if not an ecstatic shock, to entertainment executives at Caesars Palace and producing conglomerate AEG.

When I first learned of the lengthy extension from the respected Celine Dion News website late Tuesday afternoon, I didn’t know that Celine’s manager husband, Rene Angelil, had given the exclusive news to Journal de Montreal journalist Raphael Gendron-Martin a few hours earlier. Raphael interviewed me about Celine last week the day before he sat with Rene; if only it had been the other way around!

On the phone this morning, Raphael told me: “Rene admitted that when they left Las Vegas in 2007 for the ‘Taking Chances World Tour,’ they made a three-year deal to return, but they didn’t tell anybody. He said it would have been much simpler and less expensive to bring back the same show. But he’s a gambler, and he says when you’re a gambler, you don’t look at how much it costs.

“Rene said, ‘From the first new show, they all talked about doing an extension for the three years we had already. We finally negotiated a total of eight years. It has been two years already, so there are six left -- to 2019.’ ”

Raphael added: “It all means that with five years of ‘A New Day’ and the total of eight years for her new current show, she will have a total of 13 years. Las Vegas has indeed found its new queen. When I pointed out the 13 years to Rene, I asked if they could continue on for 20 years in the gaming capital. He laughed, ‘I do not think so.’ ”

Meantime, when I quizzed Caesars and AEG chiefs about the 2019 extension, they admitted that the specifics were “news to us,” but “we always want to talk with Rene about more shows.”

Rene summed up with the Montreal showbiz writer: “We did not hesitate to extend our residency several years. This is an ideal situation for Celine. We do not have to travel far. We have our home there, and the schedule was made based around school for Rene-Charles. It was a no brainer. Celine loves the show there.”

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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