THE LITTLE PRINCE: Fans gathered in Harlem at Jimmy’s Uptown Tuesday night at the release party for Prince’s new live triple-box CD set, but had to wait nearly four hours for the artist-now-known-as to arrive as he flew in from his hometown of Minneapolis. When he did show, the eccentric singer held court all by his lonesome in the VIP section until an exuberant George Clinton cleared security to say hi, followed by Meshell NdegèOcello. Across the way, Salma Hayek, who declined to talk about her upcoming film, Frida, and actor Ed Norton also were keen to greet the Purple One, but they had to wait their turn. As soon as Prince gave the OK to his publicist, he received his slew of VIP visitors one at a time.

And it would appear that musical savoir faire has little to do with being an American Idol. Once granted an audience with Prince, Justin Guarini and Nikki McKibbin, of "American Idol" fame could do little but smile and nod. Clearly underwhelmed by them, Prince brightened up when he met Tamyra Gray, who chatted him up for a few minutes, while Justin and Nikki looked on with dazed smiles on their faces.

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