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If you go to the lounge at The Palms now, it's suddenly "The Gossy Room" and everything that transpires therein is a "gossy" this or a "gossy" that. So what is this new thing called gossiness? Since a dictionary entry was not available, we commissioned our own:

Gossy (goss•y) adj.:

  1. anything of or pertaining to pasty-faced British vocalist Matt Goss

  2. qualities likely to induce hysteria in middle-aged women

  3. having the stage presence of Liquid Paper

  4. possessing a voice so small it cannot be heard even when amplified.

The nondescript Brit, who recently supplanted Zowie Bowie as the The Palms' resident musical act is the perfect entertainer for those who find Justin Timberlake too great a shock to their systems. He's got the moves, the suits, the requisite porkpie hat but there's no "there" there. Even so, the ladies ate him up. From all the free-flowing pheromones, you'd have thought you were at a Tom Jones concert … save that no panties were flung onstage.

Pussycat Dolls producer Robin Antin more than compensates with an eight-piece band (nine, when Goss joins in on guitar), two backup singers, four lingerie-clad booty-shaking dancers and a video wall of old Vegas footage, plus CGI imagery of dice, neon, fire, the Rat Pack - you name it. (There's even a laser-light show at one point. How Eighties can you get?) Whatever this show lacks, production values are not it.

But right from Stevie Wonder's "Very Superstitious," it's clear that the problem is Goss himself, who may be a terrific bandleader but as a headliner is strictly from hunger. Not only is his personality miniscule, so is his singing voice. All the king's microphones and all the king's amps can't lift Goss above his brassy, groovy backup ensemble - and when they do, it's clear that his intonation is very approximate of pitch. He's scarcely better when speaking: His palaver emerges as a slurred, indecipherable blancmange. And while Goss has clearly been working on his choreography, his ants-in-my-pants jitterbugging looks quite coached-up.

Musical creativity isn't a problem for Goss, who hopscotches through a variety of genres, working the Pink Panther theme into "Fever," for instance. Bringing something distinctive to the table, though, is not his game. "Lucky Be a Lady Tonight" is a Sinatra knockoff so pallid it makes you wish for the Marlon Brando version (yes, he really sang it). Staying in the Rat Pack vein, "I've Got the World on a String" is almost adequate. Switching to rock, "Hotel California" showcases some terrific instrumental playing, accompanied by a faint vocal solo in the background.

Mid-set, Goss repairs to the piano and accompanies himself in song. Suddenly, you can hear him: He's got a high, sparrow-like timbre with a plaintive throb; the sort of voice best suited to the sappier numbers in the Billy Joel category. However, it's not apt for fronting the kind of large-scale show Antin has assembled. As though to make the point, not only does Goss seem happiest when jamming with the rest of the band, the two most rousing numbers of the evening were a pair of call-and-response songs where the audience did much of the work.

Vocally, he was inspired to his best effort when Pussycat Dolls lead vocalist Nicole Scherzinger dropped by for a duet. Freed from girl-band restraints, Scherzinger cut loose with some powerful R&B stylings that not only raised the roof but Goss' energy level, too. Afterwards, she playfully threatened to make "The Gossy Room" the "The Scherzi Room."

If only she would.

Matt Goss
10 p.m., Fri.-Sat.
The Palms
4321 W. Flamingo Rd.
(702) 944-3267