Mister D: Loved the Robin Leach dig or maybe it wasn’t. Just shows he’s rude…BUT….this is what I call a snarky “preview.” And can we please get rid of the semantics with this “preview – review” shit (and I know this is what it is called, but when you’re making judgements…it’s a review to me.) Either you went, you saw, you loved, you liked, you have absoluteky no opinion, you dislike, you hate…or you’re lazy and write this piece of shinola. Yes, there is work to be done, but there was a lady on stage who deserves a little more respect than than this toss off. And there was plenty of show material to riff on. You, Mr. Brown, took a snarky approach which was a review and not a “preview.” But I don’t know you, so maybe this is your “schtick.” Next Big Thing? Working on it. Bette Midler still polishing show for Caesars By Joe Brown Wed, Feb 20, 2008 (2 a.m.) If You Go * What: Bette Midler in â€œThe Showgirl Must Go Onâ€ * Where: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace * When: 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sun. * Tickets: $95-$250, 731-7333, www.harrahs.com The day has dawned, the panting can stop. The Next Big Thing on the Strip is now open for business at Caesars Palace: the Bette Midler boutique. Merchandisers have plundered pop culture warehouses for relics and souvenirs spanning Midlerâ€™s millennium in showbiz. Thatâ€™s a lot of tchotckes. The singer/actress/comedian/philanthropist has been in the business for more than 40 years. In a career arc that has seen her go from campy kitsch retro-diva to Disney comedian to Johnny Carsonâ€™s favorite guest to ballad-belting earth mother and comforter to us all, Midler has racked up four No. 1 hits (Mister D: Incorrect, altho I wish it were true), four Grammy Awards, four Emmys and one Tony. Among the Midlerabilia on offer: A signed, Swarovski crystal-encrusted ukulele. A â€œDivinity for Dummiesâ€ T-shirt. â€œBaby Divineâ€ diaper-covering onesies. Baccarat crystal vases with etched autographs. Of course the store is soundtracked with purchase-promoting greatest hits, with a canned, crooning loop of the â€œThe Roseâ€ and other chestnuts on repeat mode from ceiling speakers. (Mister D: actually it’s a “Kiss My Brass” video loop) In a few months sheâ€™ll have to share shelf space with Cher, but for now itâ€™s all Bette. (Mister D: See kids, they really do get along!) And thereâ€™s the little matter of the show next door. Itâ€™s … sparkly. And still shaky. And it opens tonight at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace: â€œThe Showgirl Must Go On.â€ Can Midler possibly compare â€” commercially and artistically â€” with the mass-appeal monolith that was Cirque du Celine? Midler braved two dress rehearsals in the 4,100-seat Colosseum on Sunday (Mister D: This is the one I attended) and Monday night before an invited audience, presumably stocked with family and friendlies. And although this is not a review of the show Ââ€” critics are expressly gagged until sitting through the â€œofficialâ€ Feb. 29 media performance â€” I can say that Midler and her crew are going to need every minute of the next 10 days to make it work. And maybe a miracle. And maybe even Barry Manilow. Very much a work in progress, â€œShowgirlâ€ may even require that most Vegas of renovations â€” demolition and reconstruction. Hereâ€™s what I dare whisper about what I saw and heard: Think pink. And vaudeville. Vegas Classic. The new stage doesnâ€™t look as physically dangerous as Dionâ€™s did. But it is vast. And Midler, 62, repeatedly joked about being exhausted (letâ€™s hope she was kidding), collapsing and panting on the floor. â€œThatâ€™s what happens when you do your own singing,â€ she cracked. Sheâ€™s contracted to perform five shows a week for two years. Midler described her show Monday night as â€œa modest entertainment with a mere $10 million budget … And 44 (breasts)!â€ Her math may be off: I counted 20 â€œCaesar Salad Girlâ€ chorines and three Staggering Harlettes backup singers. You get to see them a lot. And a lot of them. Midler waited about 10 minutes into her 90-minute act before making her first dig at Dion. The 14 white-jacketed musicians are mostly in plain sight â€” including Las Vegasâ€™ own six-piece Fat City Horns. Midler knows her audience: â€œThirty years ago, my audience was all on drugs. Now theyâ€™re all on medication.â€ Other Monday night revelations: You can buy rhinestone-trimmed panties in the lobby. And Robin Leach doesnâ€™t turn his cell phone off during shows. Canâ€™t think of any must-hear hit she missed. Go ahead, guess which song she picked for her final number.