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Toni Braxton dishes on her return to Vegas, her upcoming CD and dating again

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Toni Braxton’s coming home.

On Fri., Aug. 9, the former Flamingo headliner will make her triumphant return to the Las Vegas stage with a special performance at The Pearl inside the Palms Casino Resort. Best known for such hit songs as “Un-Break My Heart,” “Breathe Again” and “Another Sad Love Song,” the sultry R&B songstress said she can’t wait to “rediscover” Las Vegas’ food scene while she’s in town.

“There are so many new restaurants since I’ve been there in five years, I think I’m going to have to rediscover Vegas again,” Braxton told Examiner.com. “My favorite restaurant in Vegas, though, is Noodles in the Bellagio hotel. It’s Asian cuisine and I love it. Every time I go (to Las Vegas) I get it, whether I dine there or get carry-out.”

While Braxton’s excited to be performing in Las Vegas again, the self-proclaimed foodie is also excited her “mini tour” will be taking her back to her home state of Maryland so she can treat herself to some crab cakes.

“I don’t get home as often as I’d like to, so the first thing I have to do is have a crab cake,” Braxton stated. “No one makes ’em like Maryland, so I go to Phillips or wherever I have to go to get them. Everyone has the best one, so you’re never wrong.”

Aside from the food, this tour is especially important to the Grammy Award winner, who’s not only celebrating her 20th anniversary in the business, but has also been busy recording a new CD with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds titled Love Marriage Divorce.

“The reason I’m doing this (three-and-a-half-week tour) is because I haven’t toured in five years since I was first diagnosed with lupus and the doctors said, ‘You’ll never be able to perform again,’” Braxton stated. “So this is my test tour to get my body ready and to get my confidence up to see how far I can push my body three, four shows a week. I’ve done one-off shows once or twice a month but never consistently. And then from this tour, hopefully Babyface and I will be able to go on tour—we’re talking about possibly doing a six-month world tour, so this tour is so important on so many levels for me. But I think I can do it. I think I’ll be okay.”

Braxton said she’s planning to “have fun” while she’s onstage and “act like an 18 year old.”

“I’m going to really engage myself with my fans,” she said. “I’m not going to tip-toe around. I’m going to pull 20 people onstage!”

One of Braxton’s favorite things about performing live is seeing how her fans respond to her music.

“I like to have that audience participation and see people singing along,” she said. “I know I don’t have a lot of dance songs, but I like to see them dancing a little bit or getting romantic with their partners. I like to feel like I’m entertaining them.”

Should things go okay on Braxton’s “test tour,” the former “Beauty and the Beast” star may even plan a return to the Broadway stage.

“I love Broadway. It’s one of my favorite things to do ’cause I get to dabble a little bit in acting, so I’m hoping that with this show I can prove to myself that I can do this again and that I can go from three or four shows [a week] to maybe six or seven or eight and maybe do Broadway,” Braxton said. “This show is really about getting my body ready to be active again in my career, ’cause I’ve kind of been a little suppressed in it and just taking baby steps and being too cautious in what I can and cannot do. Sometimes you just have to push yourself and do it, so I’m going to try.”

Braxton even teased that she may be returning to the Vegas stage for more than one night.

“Me and Babyface are talking,” she coyly stated. “There is conversation about us coming to Vegas, so keep your fingers crossed. They’ve presented options, so maybe next year Toni and Babyface will be exclusively performing in Las Vegas somewhere for like three months or eight weeks or something like that.”

In the meantime, fans can look forward to her upcoming CD release, which will feature eight duets with Babyface as well as two solo tracks from each artist. When asked what the powerhouse duo sounds like in the year 2013, Braxton replied “we’re familiar, but different. We’ve kind of reinvented ourselves. We’ve added Tom Ford to Gucci. We’ve added in some other designers to help us be what we are, which is classic. I think it’s going to be refreshing, like, ‘Wow, what is that?’ It’s kind of nice. I feel great about this period.”

As for who else Braxton would like to record with, the singer said she “always want to perform with Michael Jackson, but unfortunately he left us too early.” If she could perform with anyone right now, though, “it would probably be Mariah Carey. If me, Mariah, Janet Jackson and Mary J. Blige could do something together, I think that would be kind of great.”

Braxton was quick to clarify, however, that she only wants to record with Carey, Jackson and Blige—not tour with them.

“We can’t tour together,” she laughed. “You can’t have four divas up on the stage—we’d kill each other. But we could do a song together and each do a cameo for that one song.”

While having four divas onstage may not be the wisest idea (ticket sales excluded, of course), the “Braxton Family Values” star said she could see herself touring with her sisters one day.

“Before all is said and done, I think there will be a Braxton family tour where we all come together,” she said. “We’ve talked about doing a play of our lives and how we became The Braxtons and putting music to it, so that’s on the back burner, but it’s something we’re all working towards.”

For now, Braxton’s just “flying solo”—both on tour and in love.

“My divorce is finally final, so I’m going to be out there dating again,” Braxton stated. “I haven’t found anyone yet, but I am looking to have my heart unbroken. I just want to be happy.”

Toni Braxton performs Fri., Aug. 9, at 8 p.m. inside The Pearl. Tickets start at just $53. Call 702-944-3200 or visit ticketmaster.com.

For more on Toni Braxton, visit the singers official website.

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