Duo announces deal

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LAS VEGAS (AP) – They won’t just be showing up for rodeo week in Las Vegas any more. Country music duo Brooks & Dunn announced a two-year contract Monday with the Las Vegas Hilton.

“It’s really exciting. The Hilton has given us an opportunity to play more than once a year,” Kix Brooks said at a news conference. “I’m really looking forward to a little more Las Vegas.”

In addition to their National Finals Rodeo performance Dec. 4-6, Brooks said he and Ronnie Dunn would perform at the Hilton hotel-casino in March and July next year, then return for the rodeo in December 2007.

The announcement came on the eve of the 41st Academy of Country Music awards at the MGM Grand. Brooks & Dunn are nominated in five categories and have won 19 ACM trophies – more than any other artist. Their current album “Hillbilly Deluxe” peaked at No. 1 and has gone gold, selling more than 500,000 copies.

Asked if they would adjust their high-energy performance for Las Vegas, Dunn jokingly replied, “We’re reading the Wayne Newton books now.” Then quickly added, “Nah, we’re going to do the Brooks & Dunn show.”

Brooks noted shows range in Las Vegas from four Cirque du Soleil presentations to Newton, to Broadway (“Mamma Mia!” and “Hairspray”), to David Copperfield and Celine Dion.

“Audiences here come from all over the world. They’re so hip, you can do your thing here,” Brooks said.

The duo was introduced Monday by Reba McEntire, who performed at the Hilton earlier this month and will host Tuesday’s awards show (8 p.m. EDT, CBS) for the eighth time.

“It is my great pleasure to introduce these guys to the Hilton family,” McEntire said.


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