By Stacey Willets The NFL brings some excitement to the winter doldrums. Super Bowl XLII, and the playoff games leading up to it, are...

By Stacey Willets

The NFL brings some excitement to the winter doldrums. Super Bowl XLII, and the playoff games leading up to it, are hot events enticing consumers otherwise occupied with tax forms and post holiday blitz credit card statements. For the week of Jan. 7 through Jan. 13, pro football even manages to surpass teen queen Hannah Montana in the Overall Events rankings, with the Green Bay Packers assuming the top spot and offering a must-see event in this slower time of year when the industry is selling less tickets (but more ticketers).

And then there were four. The Green Bay Packers take the top of the Sports chart, ready to host the New York Giants for the NFC Championship. The New England Patriots rank at number three, slated to host the San Diego Chargers for the AFC title. The winners of Sunday’s games will move on to the second-ranked event, Super Bowl XLII. Whether it’s finishing out a perfect season, proving their quarterback isn’t ready for the retirement home, or playing the underdog, each team is looking for their own fairy tale ending.

The Little Mermaid finally enjoyed its opening night January 10. The show, which was originally slated to open December 6, pushed back the date due to the stagehands strike in November. Whether the extra time was well spent is up for debate. In an acerbic review, Ben Brantley of the New York Times shares a less than optimist outlook about the production’s likelihood to sink or swim. However, at least for this week, opening night hoopla buoys the musical from number seven to number four in the Top Theatre rankings and from number four to number three in the Top New York City Theatre rankings.

Hannah Montana may still be the number one concert event, but Disney isn’t taking any chances. Due to the capricious nature of her young audience, Ms. Miley’s fifteen minutes could be up any day now, leaving her to go the way of the Cheetah Girls. What to do when her fame fizzles out? Enter Jonas Brothers.

The trio occasionally turns up on the Hannah Montana television series for Hannah to crush on, and the group has been recently seen on the Best of Both Worlds Tour as her opening act. Although they have the aid of plenty of Hannah hype, the boy band has become popular in their own right, and Disney is striking while the iron is hot. Jonas Brothers are ditching the opening act gig to become headliners. Already, their Look Me in the Eyes Tour, number eight in this week’s Concert rankings, is selling out shows and prompting additional dates to be added. These are promising signs for Disney, which has a Jonas Brothers original movie and television series in the works.

The Divine Miss M is dethroned just three weeks after taking the top spot, leaving Vegas seeing Red . . . Piano. Fellow Caesar’s Palace entertainer Elton John rises to number one for the first time. Heading into its fifth year, the Red Piano endures as a staple in the Top Vegas rankings. The “career overview performance” knocks newcomer Bette Midler to number two. Not a bad place to be considering her show doesn’t open until late February.

Caesar’s may have the top acts, but it isn’t the only hotel holding a pair. The Venetian is represented by Blue Man Group at seven and Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular at ten.

(The image accompanying this story was taken by Jim Biever and is from FanIQ.com)

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