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Why Planet Hollywood Should Forget CeeLo's Loberace Show

Where: 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
October 11, 2012 at 9:23 PM | by | ()

On the actual stage where he'll be performing, with the same band and, we assume, at least some of the same staging, we saw someone not ready for a long term, Las Vegas Strip residency.

Charisma is a funny thing. CeeLo Green may be a big star with an amazing voice. But, back him off the mic and off script, he shrinks in stature and interest. CeeLo can't adlib, is unfocused, low-key, low energy and flounders as he waits to sing.

There's still time for Caesars Entertainment to politely and classily back out of their deal. Say CeeLo is working on a TV show, a movie, a new album, more of his great charity work. Lots of excuses. But, if they go ahead with next year's already once postponed ‘Loberace’ show at Planet Hollywood, it will fail.

As media guests, we attended a taping of a special video performance to accompany the release of his Christmas album, "CeeLo's Magic Moment." Rod Stewart and The Muppets guest starred. They were great. Lots of folks from all three seasons of CeeLo's TV show The Voice were brought out. Should be a huge night, right? Three people in our vicinity fell asleep. A handful walked out and most of the rear section got up to leave while the band was still playing the last number. These were not casual fans. Also, the room was not filled. And, not a hint that the audience wanted an encore. It was bizarre.

CeeLo is no wallflower. But, he seemed ill at ease in a moment that should foreshadow a year of even greater success. He turned to berating the lighting crew and audio crew for volume and brightness problems. This writer worked professionally in TV for over two decades. We know this video shoot will be a pain to fix some of the miscues, false starts and mistakes the singer repeatedly made.

No one doubts the man can sing, but that's kind of all he does. Well, he saunters around a fixed circumference from the mic stand and he perspires. A lot. Cee Lo sweats a lot. Like, wow, again with the towel swabbing? And, not in a Barry White/Luther Vandross manner, but in an uncomfortable, almost anxious way. He has a nervous tick of rubbing the sweat by his glasses, even as he sings. Yep, we were really focusing on this. And, he doesn't dance, either. He's no Heavy D.

After seeing him perform, the whole CeeLo meets Liberace thing now seems odd. For such a "lady killer" mythos, there's a quasi-effeminacy about this singer's voice that made some of his slower vocal passages sound like a male Eartha Kitt. He tried overly hard to project a swinging Vegas vibe, decked in red vinyl suit he quipped he bought at an "S&M store." Yep, the Muppets were appearing on the same bill.

But, maybe we're missing something. His lumbering stage presence hardly inspired a sex symbol image when detached from his singing. And, where was the real flash, the crazy jewels, the Liberace Rolls Royce-isms? We saw lots of lasers and a robot hatted percussionist doing a fake Daft Punk thing that looked more Tron 1981 than 21st century tech. Yes we know this wasn't at all the final product but, we'll bet, it's really, really close to the whole Loberace concept.

The finale of CeeLo singing Forget You with six showgirls seemed lifted from the proposed show. It's not that special. (As you can see, our sneaky, unofficially snapped picture didn't work out the way we hoped.) Promised for Planet Hollywood next year is the addition of a floating piano and some magic tricks. We bet you'll be able to find a Groupon code one month in.

We'll keep it simple. In this exact same theater, earlier this year, we predicted that Surf the Musical would close early. We said the same thing last night about any extended CeeLo Green stage show. Have him run some occasional nice concerts with a Vegas theme and everyone can have a great time. Commit to Loberace as a residency show and you'll flop.

We heard deep rumors, months ago, that Loberace was very light on content, much to the consternation of executives. Then, the delay was announced. A number of local journalists have fawned over the singer and his local prospects, but we're fine standing alone and saying, we don't get it, it won't work, pick a new idea. Planet Hollywood/Caesars Entertainment, forget CeeLo. There's plenty of other fine talents dreaming of a Vegas residency for Christmas.

The "CeeLo & Friends" Chrismas special runs November 26th on The Warner Sound YouTube Channel. The Muppets are really good.

Archived Comments:

I TOTALLY agree...

With the type of schedule CeeLo has these days, keeping a commitment to a Las Vegas residency Show seems out of the question to me. It' won't happen.

Thin out his schedule to make Loberace his priority? It won't happen.

Fill that large Planet Ho showroom on a regular basis? It won't happen.

Create a totally entertaining Loberace Show?
It won't happen.

Disappoint his audiences with multiple Loberace cancelations? It will happen.

Trust that CET will improve their entertainment judgement? IT WON'T HAPPEN.

I haz a sad

I am/was so excited for this. sigh. But, I believe you. Why can't they just treat it like an intimate concert? Why does it have to be a "show." Can't he and Taylor trade off at Bally's?

Shocking but yet...not surpising

I too am/was pretty excited about this show.  When I read the headline I was shocked.  But then as I read your explanation, I realized I wasn't totally surprised after all.  

The Voice is a good correlation.  When he's performing, he's a star. But in the chair/not singing, off script, I sadly find he's the least interesting of the bunch.  Sure I'd choose him as my coach still if I had the chance (and any talent whatsover) but I find myself waiting more to hear what Adam, Blake, and the two other boobs have to say.

Having said that, I'll still look to see this show once it opens and hope that it's much improved.