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LOS ANGELES — “We’ll be drinking apple juice and hanging out with our moms,” joked Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine backstage at the Grammy Awards Sunday night of the band’s plans after being honored as Best New Artist.
That was hardly the case because, whether you win or lose, there are always parties to attend. Levine and his mates first hit the Entertainment Weekly-sponsored bash at Geisha House, where Usher and Nelly serenaded the crowd from their perch atop a couch while Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi boogied down.
At EMI’s party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, lovey-dovey couples including Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, Laura Dern and Ben Harper, and Lisa Marie Presley and fiancé Michael Lockwood munched on chocolate-covered strawberries in poolside cabanas. Joss Stone, still high off her performance with Melissa Etheridge, gushed, “That’s like the highlight of my life, you know!”
“I don’t drink, but tonight I’m going to let my friend Captain Morgan take advantage of me,” joked John Mayer. It’s the kind of philosophy that most of the artists take on a night like this (especially when nearly every major label hosts a party), whether it be Kanye West, who arrived at his own Valentine-themed bash (sponsored by Boost Mobile) at midnight or Ciara, who worked the Sony BMG fete with air kisses. Five minutes after Ricky Martin left to continue the party shuffle, Slash, still clutching a glass of red wine, jogged after his own limo, which had apparently left without him.
At Warner Music Group’s party at Pacific Design Center, Zach Braff bragged about his best soundtrack trophy (for “Garden State”) and his wardrobe. “I’ve combined Prada’s beautiful sleek formal style with my old beat-up lucky sweatshirt. Trust me, tomorrow Gwen Stefani will be wearing this.” His gal pal Mandy Moore was careful to pose separately for photographers outside, but the couple canoodled once safely inside. “The luxury of being in this business is that you get a lot of help to get ready. I couldn’t pull off all of this by myself,” she said. “A couple of hours ago I was in my pajamas vegging out on the couch.”
Of course, the Grammys didn’t begin and end on Sunday. On Friday night, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, James Brown, Carlos Santana, Earth, Wind & Fire, Macy Gray, Pink, Nikka Costa, India.Arie, Levine, and Randy Jackson jammed on stage a la Live Aid for the Tsunami Pea Pod Jam Session, benefiting UNICEF at Avalon. Cameron Diaz and Timberlake made out like crazy backstage before and after the show, while Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey arrived hand-in-hand to quell those pesky breakup rumors, and even swung by the after-party at Spider Club at 2 a.m. Wyclef Jean performed an hour-long, anti-Bush set at Heineken’s pre-Grammy bash the next night. “This isn’t any of that Britney Spears lip-sync shit,” he told the crowd.
But the official place to be Saturday is always Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy soiree at the Beverly Hills Hotel. When the host entered the Grand Ballroom, everyone turned to see who his date of honor was this year — “American Idol” Fantasia Barrino, glam in a Ghost dress. “I chose the long black dress to match my date tonight,” she said, never leaving his side until she got up to perform with Chaka Kahn.
Jamie Foxx performed a duet with Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys sang a number with Santana. Diana Ross didn’t take to the stage, but instead danced with all five of her kids at the table. “We haven’t done this in years,” daughter Tracee Ellis Ross said, adding that she planned to pinch her mother’s coveted gown after the party. “Honestly, I almost ripped it off her tonight,” she admitted.
“Everybody who you want an autograph from is here tonight,” said Foxx as he took a look around the room. “It’s so much fun to go in there and loosen them up. Hey, I don’t care about the 45 percent tax bracket, we can all have a good time!”