Antonio Sabato, Jr. brings his Italian charm to Chippendales

It’s getting hot in Vegas. So take off all your… oh wait, sorry we got distracted by all the strip news happening this week.

No, we’re not talking about the Las Vegas Strip, though it is our fave street to celeb watch on. We’re talking strip with a little “s” though there’s nothing little about what’s happening in Vegas. OK we’ll stop with the whole double entendres.

Just a day after Channing Tatum announced he’s bringing a live version of Magic Mike to the “Hard Rock Hotel” we’re headed to Chippendales at the Rio Las Vegas to see the premiere performance of celebrity host Antonio Sabato, Jr.

Hey Tatum, take a note from the guys who pretty much invented girls night out in Vegas. You gotta bring it if you’re gonna perform in Vegas. And boy do the men of Chippendales bring it.

Following on the heels of celebrity performers Tyson Beckford, Ian Ziering and Joey Lawrence, Italian heartthrob, actor, do-it-yourself TV star and leap baby (Yes ladies, he was born on Feb. 29, 1972) Antonio Sabato, Jr. takes to the stage tonight.

We all remember his va-va voom Calvin Klein underwear ads and that steamy Janet Jackson video  “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Now he’s hosting DIY’s “Fix It & Finish It” and we’re just imagining him in a tool belt and not much else.

OK focus everyone. We sat down with Antonio to talk about the show before his debut.

Love will never do without... Antonio. See the model / actor in his Chippendales run this weekend. Photo courtesy by Denise Truscello.

Love will never do without… Antonio. See the model / actor in his Chippendales run this weekend. Photo courtesy by Denise Truscello.

You’re guest hosting Chippendales for the month of May and into June. Tell us what you will you be doing in the show.

I’m doing some of the numbers, which is cool. They’re doing their normal numbers, which are awesome and I’m going to jump in and do some of the numbers with these great guys. Then I’m going to emcee part of it. So I’m going to be talking to the crowd, getting close to the crowd. Finally, I’m going to keep doing numbers throughout the show and we’ll do a closing number as well.

Now that you’ve had a chance to see what the Chippendales guys do, what do you think is the appeal of a show like Chippendales?

I’ve been there and watched the show several times and I’ve seen women from 21 all the way up to 100 (at the show) and how happy they are, the smiles … they walk away having seen a great show, great performances. It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s Vegas. It’s got a little bit of Broadway in it as well.

There’s a multimillion dollar stage and facility, a bar — it takes it to a whole new level. That’s why it’s the No. 1 male show in the world. It’s sexy and girls are very much a part of it. It’s a roller coaster. These guys make them feel unbelievable. And that’s the whole idea behind Chippendales and I think it works. They walk away saying: “That was IT. I want to see that again.”

When you told your wife you were interested in doing Chippendales, what did she think and is she coming to see you in the premiere?

She’ll be out here for the month of May. She’s so excited. She said: “My man is one of the Chippendales.” She was so happy her husband is doing it. There are only a few guys around the world who have been a part of this in the celebrity world. And there’s really not that many more who do it professionally. This is a really small bracket of really cool dudes and I’m one of them. So, it’s going to be great.

We all remember your steamy Calvin Klein ads and your sexy appearance in Janet Jackson’s video. How do you maintain those washboard abs now that you’re in your 40s?

I stay away from the dessert table. (laughter) I kind of failed since I’ve been here because the buffets at all the hotels are pretty good. You’ve got to train hard, stay fit, stay away from the alcohol, be a little bit boring for a bit. Stay the healthy route for a while. That’s how I have been for my whole life, but I’m in Vegas now and the food looks good. (Vegas) you’re tempting me.

You’re following previous celebrity hosts Tyson Beckford, Ian Ziering and Joey Lawrence. Did they have any suggestions for you?

I saw Ian not too long ago. He told me, “Have a great time. I had a blast. I only have great things to say about Chippendales.”

How could you not have a great time? You’ve got fans — women, guys coming from all over the world to see you and cheering.

Did you get any tips from the Chippendales cast?

Just really connect with the audience. Go out there and talk with them. Every night we’re going to have new things. I’m going to have new reactions, new connections with the audiences and it goes from there. I think that’s important for me to have a different show, a different time with them in unique ways.

What do you you think you’re bringing different to the show from other celebrity hosts?

I’m bringing my personality, myself. I kind of transform. When I go on stage I love performing. I love being with the crowd. I don’t think they’ve (fans) seen me do this yet. It’s just a new addition to my career. I think I’m just a good Italian boy from Rome, Italy who’s in Vegas performing at Chippendales. Very exciting.

How did your time on “Dancing With The Stars” help you for your Chippendales appearance? Do you have any secret dance moves?

“Dancing With The Stars” is such a huge live performance that it helps you dealing with thousands of people (in the audience) and millions of people around the country, in a live setting. If you can do that, you can pretty much do anything. You can’t make any mistakes when you are dancing in front of the whole world.

This is more laid back. You have people having drinks. It’s a beautiful state-of-the-art club with an open bar and girls that are already screaming when the lights come on so you don’t have to deal with cameras and action. Here you just go and it runs pretty smoothly.

Did you get to select any of the songs you perform to?

I’m pretty much joining the list of numbers they already had. If I come back in the summer for round two then maybe we can have more time to choreograph something specific to me. But the songs are great. The numbers are awesome already. They don’t need to change.

What’s your favorite?

I like the construction (number), the fashion show and the quiz show with the three contestants – that’s just a lot of fun to see the fans come up on stage and do all kinds of stuff. The closing number with the bow tie and cuffs, that’s great too. If we had more time to rehearse, I think I’d probably be in more numbers.

Not only are you appearing in Chippendales, but you also have a home renovation show – “Fix It & Finish It.” Any plans to film parts of that show in Vegas?

We are actually in development of another show, a reality based construction show. We wanted to come here for “Fix It & Finish It” but instead we went to Arizona (Tuscon). Vegas would be great. It’s a great market. Maybe in the future we can come here.

Any new shows or projects coming out that we should keep an eye out for?

Right now I’m just in development of shows. I’ve got a racing show, a construction show. I’m getting involved in executive protection services – sort of like working for a branch of the secret service, but for private companies. I’m into that. I’m involved in getting all my licenses and permits, which I already did for the state of California. I’m also working on getting them done for Nevada too. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

I finished three films. Just shot my last film,  “Remote Access” for Lifetime in Hawaii and I’ll keep doing that. Whatever comes my way, I’m ready for it.

See Antonio Sabato, Jr. in Chippendales Thursdays through Sunday, now through June 5.



I'm one of a rare breed of folks, a native Las Vegan. That's Las Vegan, not Vegan. Being born in Las Vegas has endowed me with crazy Vegas skills - must be all the exposure to neon. I'm a human casino GPS, celebrity locator (You never know who you'll meet in a casino elevator, right Richard Branson?) and tip calculator. My mom taught me probability and statistics with decommissioned casino dice. When I walk through a hotel, tourists think I work there. Maybe it's my smile, my purposeful walk or my friendly answers. Maybe it's just the black suit. But whatever the reason, gives me the chance to exercise my Vegas super powers every day. Now if I could just predict when Megabucks would hit... You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.