All her fans were aflutter Saturday night (July 7) in Las Vegas as Mariah Carey’s new residency “The Butterfly Returns” celebrated its grand opening at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Carey — who said she was “still working out the kinks” at a post-show reception — looked stunning and sounded strong throughout the nearly two-hour performance. Earlier in the week, the fires of controversy were stoked when it was revealed during a debut-night staging snafu on Thursday (July 5) that Carey was lip syncing to a track. (Saturday night’s performance appeared to be mostly live.)
As one would expect, Carey worked her way through her hits and a handful of costume changes while being flanked by nimble back up dancers, among them her boyfriend Bryan Tanaka. Her 7-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe even made an appearance. For her looks. MC wore a sparkly fringe sequin ensemble to start, followed by a sleek sheer black sheath — similar to what she wore to the after-party — and capped off with a white stunner accented by a feather train.
This iteration of the residency didn’t make Carey the focal point of highly-stylized production numbers as her first Las Vegas stage show, “#1 to Infinity,” did. She played through 50 dates at the Colosseum between 2015 and 2017 and grossed more than $23 million by the end of the run. “Infinity” was a chronological performance of her 18 No. 1 hits, starting with 1990’s “Vision of Love” and ending with 2008’s “Touch My Body.”
While that show focused on Carey the entertainer, “Butterfly” is meant to capitalize on Carey the singer with most of the action happening behind the microphone while the dancers are left to do what they do best. Additions to the set list included “Shake It Off,” “Make It Happen” and the namesake “Butterfly.”
Like many Las Vegas residencies, including the recently opened “Just A Girl” from Gwen Stefani across the street at Planet Hollywood Resort, “The Butterfly Returns” is for the die-hard fans. The crowd was filled with Carey’s adoring “lambs” who brought homemade signs and made their own “Mariah” fashions, including one such T-shirt printed with a collage of her face throughout her 30-year career.