CeeLo Channels Liberace at Planet Hollywood
By Mark Adams
CeeLo worked closely with his stylist, Atiba Newsome, to create all of the custom costumes for his show.
If you’ve been saving your favorite pair of Swarovski-encrusted sunglasses for a special occasion, that moment has arrived. Over-the-top megastar CeeLo Green and his rhinestone-covered piano will hit the Showroom at Planet Hollywood for CeeLo Green Is Loberace, a limited residency through mid-April. Although the entertainer has some big shoes to fill in choosing a Liberace-inspired show, his multiple Grammys and three seasons on NBC’s hit The Voice point to success. And then, of course, there are those costumes: If anyone can pull off an ode to our most flamboyant icon, it’d probably be the man in feathers, floor-length capes, and the shiniest pants—with a little help from his enormous white cat, Purrfect.
The show is something of an ode to Liberace. Where did you get your enthusiasm for the artist?
In order to be great, you also have to have great taste! Flair and fabulosity, if that’s even a word, are noticeable, very striking qualities. I look to those who have succeeded in that high sense of self and style, spectacle, and showmanship, and Liberace is most certainly one of the first people that anyone would think of.
Liberace will always be known for his costumes, and his fans often knew the exact number of crystals used in each, plus other statistics about the opulence of his look.
My closet doesn’t compare to his, even though it may appear to. I’m still getting started. I’ve always been allotted the opportunity to do a few outfits, which had a lot to do with my Grammy performance when I got to perform an homage to Elton John alongside the Muppets, plus the fabulous Billboard performance with the levitating, spinning piano, so I’m off to a really good start.
You’ve done many appearances with our town’s showgirls, and even featured them in your music video for “I Want You.” Will they costar in your show?
There are definitely going to be showgirls! Showmanship, spectacle, sensation, style—expect glamour, and a wonderful array of costumes, and a sense of humor. I’m doing covers, I’m doing original music, I’m having dialogue with the audience. A lot of it’s going to be improvisational; we’ll act on the mood of the audience.
Why did you want to do this show in Vegas?
I’m an admirer of art and invention, individuality, originality, eccentricity—and all of these things are endorsed and invested in in Vegas. And their regard for perfection is something I want to be a part of. The Beatles LOVE show, for example: I’ve seen that four times, and it’ll be almost identical each time to the original time I saw it. I would love to become more of a professional, and the people in Vegas who entertain do such a great job, and in so many ways they go unsung. I would love to use my star and honor them.
The show doesn’t start until 11 p.m., which is late, even by Strip standards.
We initially were thinking of having a party of some sort, but it’s not over-the-top adult entertainment. It’s just after-hours. We won’t be doing anything inappropriate just for the sake of being able to. That’s not our style. A lot of my vibe is adult contemporary, you know what I’m saying?
You recently left your job as a judge on The Voice. Did you enjoy your time there?
The Voice is actually very sweet, encouraging, and entertaining, because it’s not overly produced. A working artist like myself or Christina Aguilera or Adam Levine or Blake Shelton—that counts more than a critic. That gives it a different swing right there. But it’s also about having people get better—not shooting them down because they’re not the best they can be. That’s real life, that’s real love.
The Voice had two breakout stars: your cat, Purrfect, and your cockatoo, Lady. Will they be joining you here?
I’ll go down to Vegas, get settled, and I’ll see how well I adjust. I may have to bring someone to keep me company.
photography by Meeno