Michael Jackson And Elvis: In Vegas, Two Kings Rise And Fall

  • 1 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline everlastinglove_MJ

  • *
  • Hoaxer
  • Posts: 2884
  • a.k.a. Susan
1/11/2012 @ 11:48AM |4,601 views
Michael Jackson And Elvis: In Vegas, Two Kings Rise And Fall

On the surface, MGM’s Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas seems fit for a king. Designed by famed architect Cesar Pelli, the gleaming, glassy complex is one of the newest on the strip, boasting 4,000 guest rooms, 16 restaurants, 10 bars, a full-service salon, barbershop, fitness center and spa, as well as a specially-designed 1,800-seat theater devoted to Cirque du Soleil’s show, Viva Elvis.

The show was meant to be a major anchor for the Aria. But on a recent visit to Vegas, the grand halls hosted only a trickle of tourists, its floors populated by a patchwork of gamblers. Days later, MGM officially asked Cirque to shutter sparsely-attended Viva Elvis by the end of 2012.

“The Elvis show never seemed to resonate here,” says Jonathan Shecter, a Las Vegas music and talent programmer. “[And] because this property was a bust, Elvis … couldn’t sustain itself. There wasn’t enough business here to support it.”

Meanwhile, the fortunes of another king are on the rise in Sin City. The Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour parked itself at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for the bulk of December. The show, a joint venture between Cirque du Soleil and the Jackson estate, was accompanied by the Michael Jackson Fan Fest—an exhibition featuring the some of the superstar’s most notable accoutrements, including his sequined white glove, his military-inspired jackets and a “Smooth Criminal”-inspired saloon.

From taxi-tops sporting Immortal’s logo to hotel keycards emblazoned with Jackson’s image, the show was both unavoidable and massively successful, bringing in an average of about $2 million per night in Vegas. During the second week of December, that sum was half a million dollars more than the next highest-earning live show, Taylor Swift’s tour, according to concert data provider Pollstar.

The fact that Immortal managed to either sell out or nearly fill the 8,500-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center every night—while Viva Elvis struggled to attract crowds a quarter that size—speaks volumes to the shifting fortunes of The King of Rock and Roll and The King of Pop. Michael Jackson’s estate has raked in over $400 million over the past two years; Elvis’s has taken in just over $100 million by FORBES’ count.

To be sure, there have been a few factors working against Elvis and his Cirque show. The Aria and its theater were built as centerpieces of a development called CityCenter, a 76-acre project created as a joint venture between MGM and Dubai World that opened during the worst days of the recession in 2009 and never emerged as the high-end destination it was supposed to be.

“It was one of the last high rise projects built,” says Las Vegas real estate broker Bruce Hiatt. “Prices were high when CityCenter began sales while the real estate bubble burst. That put CityCenter in a tough position to be successful with buyers running for the exits across the USA.”

Location of Viva Elvis aside, one reason The King’s star seems to be fading in comparison to Jackson’s is, quite simply, that he’s been gone much longer. There just aren’t that many people left who can associate youthful moments and experiences with Elvis and his music.

The same can’t be said for Jackson’s songs, which remain very popular with those in their twenties, thirties and beyond. One need only look at the influential entertainers who attended “Immortal” (the night I was there, the list included Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Cee-Lo Green) for confirmation.

“The face of Vegas is now twenty-something and thirty-something people who want something hip and fun, something they can relate to,” says Shecter. “I think Michael connects more with that audience than Elvis does.”

Even as “Viva Elvis” prepares to take its final bow, plans are already in the works to renovate MGM’s Mandalay Bay Theatre, which currently houses the Lion King, to accommodate a modified version of Immortal in time for a 2013 opening.

If the show’s December run is any indication, it should be a bonanza for MGM, Cirque du Soleil and the Jackson estate—and another sign that Elvis’s star may have already been eclipsed by Michael Jackson’s, in Las Vegas and beyond.
It's all for L.O.V.E.

Offline Loveunited

  • *
  • Hoaxer
  • Posts: 370


SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal