Jordin Sparks

Grammy-nominated and platinum recording artist and season six "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks helped kick off the inaugural celebration of Winter in Venice at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas on Nov. 21 with a complimentary performance on the Las Vegas Strip's only outdoor ice skating rink. The star of the upcoming feature film "Sparkle"entertained the massive crowd with a song selection that included her hits "Tattoo" and "No Air" and the holiday classics "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "The Christmas Song."

Surrounded by candy cane stilt walkers, snow angels, jesters and toy soldiers, the front plaza and the outdoor gondolas of The Venetian were transformed into a winter palace while guests sipped on holiday-inspired drinks including the peppermint Gondolier Blanco and the amaretto-infused Godfather.

The debut of the "Nightly Holiday Spectacular" drew gasps and applause from the overflowing audience as the entire front of the building lit up in flashing lights, lasers and larger-than-life snowflakes. As their attention was drawn to the Rialto Bridge, three tenors and a hip hop violin duo performed holiday hits and classics before a majestic angel lit the 65-foot LED holiday tree in an awe-inspiring moment.

Jordin sparkled in Simon G Jewelry, a body-hugging Fluxus dress that showed off her svelte body and nude Christian Louboutins, which she purchased at The Shoppes at The Palazzo. She raved about The Venetian and The Palazzo, saying she loved her beautiful suite and the delicious food at LAVO, also adding, "I love spa services and being able to indulge and turn off my phone. I had an amazing, amazing time at Canyon Ranch."

When asked about her holiday health tips, Jordin joked, "I am the worst person to ask. I eat the food, I sleep on the couch, I watch football, have a good time with my family and worry about it later. Just enjoy the holidays."

After posing for photos with lucky meet and greet winners, Jordin officially welcomed the holiday season and the opening of the skating rink with a ribbon cutting ceremony with John Caparella, president and COO of The Venetian, The Palazzo & Sands Expo. Guests were treated to a spectacular performance from professional skaters before lacing up their own skates to take a spin on the ice.

The first true celebration of the winter season on the Las Vegas Strip, Winter in Venice runs through Jan. 8, 2012 as the ultimate destination for an unforgettable holiday experience. Caparella said, "Winter in Venice is going to be an annual event and this is just the beginning. We're going to build on it and make it better next year."

Photo By: Scott Harrison/Retna