Elton John's always been known for outrageous sequined costumes, feather boas, oversized glasses and platform shoes, so it's little surprise that the Rocket Man is being wooed by the land of Siegfried & Roy, Wayne Newton and Fat Elvis.
According to Billboard, John is in talks to make like Celine Dion and commit to an exclusive three-year contract headlining the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for a whopping $54 million.
The Colosseum is, of course, the same state-of-the-art stadium built specifically to house the Canadian diva's spectacle, created by Cirque du Soleil producer Franco Dragone (O and Mystère).
While pop songstress-turned-Vegas showgirl Dion kicked off her $100 million run in Sin City last March to much fanfare, John is said to be negotiating a multiyear stint that would start next year. No word on how such a long-term deal might work out logistically, since Dion's contract stipulates she take the stage five nights a week for the next three years.
John's publicist could not be reached for comment Monday.Since tapping Dion to revive its fortunes, the folks at Caesars have been hoping to lure other performers to the venue. Aside from Sir Elton, promoters have already booked Gloria Estefan for a nine-day run at the Colosseum October 10 through 19, the first extended stay for a performer since Dion's engagement began.
Other artists eyeing the facility include country star Tim McGraw, who's got two gigs there next Friday and Saturday, and Mariah Carey, who's booked for July 26 as part of her scaled-down theater tour.
"For Celine, it's worked very well especially for an artist who's a new mom. For her to essentially do 60 shows in one city and let the audience come to her has proven financially very successful," says Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni.
Through June 30, Pollstar reports that Dion's show has grossed a whopping $33.2 million, or roughly $500,000 a night at the Colosseum, which holds approximately 4,100 seats. Tickets for the diva's Vegas shows are averaging $135. Tickets to see McGraw are going anywhere from $65 to $150, while tickets for Carey range from $49.50 to $150. No word yet how much fans will have to plunk down to see Estefan.
For John, one of the most flamboyant rock stars to come down the pike and one of the bestselling solo artists of all time (behind only Garth Brooks), playing Vegas could be a real, um, feather in his cap financially--especially considering he was on the verge of bankruptcy a few years back, thanks to his lavish lifestyle.
A passionate collector, the "Sad Songs" singer and avowed shopaholic is equally famous for blowing millions on homes, jewels, cars, clothes, designer wigs and flowers.
But continuous touring, including annual dates with piano man Billy Joel, have kept him in the black. The occasional garage sale has also helped.
Late last month, Sotheby announced plans to auction off 11 years' worth of furniture and art--all told more than 2,000 pieces of memorabilia--that had been gathering dust in John's British residence.
"[Elton]'s perfect for Vegas," says Bongiovanni. "He's going to appeal to older fans that presumably would be willing to drop some money at the tables. He's got a pretty significant work ethic, too. He's been out all over the place."
Including Broadway. John, who penned the scores for the Tony-winning musicals Aida and The Lion King, recently signed on with longtime partner Bernie Taupin to write the music and lyrics to The Vampire Lestat, a musical based on the bestselling Anne Rice novels.