Luxe Life Blog
Photos: Strip transforms into winter wonderland with Jordin Sparks
When platinum recording artist and Season 6 “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks kicked off the opening-night celebrations of Winter in Venice last night, I was reminded of holiday festivities at Rockefeller Center in New York. It was a snowflake-covered winter playground outside the Venetian and Palazzo last night complete for the first time with an ice-skating rink on the Strip.
That’s right! Only in Las Vegas in the middle of the desert could we have an outdoor rink. It all looked spectacular with fabulous professional skaters leading a steady line of kids from ages 8 to 80 onto the synthetic ice. We have an ice-skating rink here where the “Skating With the Stars” cast rehearsed. There were plans at the once-to-open Fontainebleau for a rink, but this was the first one on the Strip and attracted thousands of fans. The Venetian’s Holiday Spectacular is open through Jan. 8.
The Grammy-nominated 21-year-old, who is starring in the remake of “Sparkle,” entertained the crowd from the ice rink with a song selection that included her hits “Tattoo” and “No Air” and the holiday classics “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.”
Jordin, who celebrates her birthday Dec. 22, wore a massive sparkling diamond ring on the fourth finger of her left hand. She was linked with Chris Brown, her “No Air” duet partner, after his breakup with Rihanna.
She told me: “I’m a little cold, but this is an incredible experience -- and something I’ve never done before. I’m having the best time. It’s hard to believe the holidays are here, and I’m celebrating them in Vegas. That’s a first for me. I’m too young to do what everybody comes to Vegas for, so this was absolutely perfect for me this way.”
The Glendale, Ariz., native added: “I have a beautiful suite in the Palazzo and have gotten to enjoy Lavo and the spa services at Canyon Ranch. To be able to turn off my phone and indulge made for an amazing time at Canyon Ranch. … I’m the worst person to ask about health tips for the holidays. I eat the food, I sleep on the couch, I watch football, have a good time with my family and worry about it later. Just enjoy the holidays!”
Candy-cane stilt walkers, snow angels, jesters and toy soldiers helped transform the casino resort’s front plaza and the outdoor gondolas into a fun and flashy festival of lavish lights. The debut of the nightly outdoor holiday show won big applause as the Venetian facade lit up in flashing lights and lasers.
I stood with Miss Nevada Alana Lee to watch three all-in-white tenors and a hip-hop violin duo perform holiday hits and classics atop the Rialto Bridge. Then another all-white majestic angel with her wings adorned with lights lit the 65-foot LED holiday tree. Alana is ready for the Miss America Pageant, which starts here at Planet Hollywood with rehearsals and preliminaries Jan. 9, with the ABC telecast Jan. 14.
Jordin sparkled in Simon G Jewelry, a body-hugging Fluxus dress that clung perfectly to her svelte body and nude Christian Louboutin high heels she’d purchased at the Palazzo Shoppes. Jordin was photographed for her first-ever bikini shot for People’s Most Amazing Bodies issue in June.
After posing for photographs with meet-and-greet winners, Jordin officially cut the white ribbon to open the skating rink with John Caparella, president and COO of the Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo. The out-of-town pro skaters who are hoping to bring their ice-skating show here executed fantastic moves before guests laced up for a spin on the ice.
Gorgeous model-beauty Kristin Lynne was first on the ice and told me: “This is so incredible to be skating on the Strip. It’s wonderful to have this for the holiday season. It’s a great workout, marvelous exercise because it’s a little more difficult than regular ice, but it sure looks and feels like Christmas.”
The hotel’s head honcho summed up: “Winter in Venice will now be an annual event, and this year is just the beginning. We’re going to build on it and make it even bigger and better next year.”
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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