A cesspool of celebrities headed South for a New Year’s extravaganza full of drama, drinking, dancing and decadence hopping out of the cold and into what can only be referred to with as Miami slang, “fire.”
Last Year’s NYE hotspot The Setai drew in an elite crowd Monday night, with tickets soaring to $1,000, which is apparently the price people are paying these days to see an Oscar winner perform. Arriving in a stellar white ensemble around 9:30 p.m., Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson walked along the red carpet blowing kisses to the stalkerazzi. Yours truly was the ONLY member of the media to sneak inside Hudson’s dressing room (I still don’t know how I pulled that one off) for a taste of the inside scoop. Hudson’s crew, comprised of siblings and respective partners, had just dined at Cheeseburger Baby, because even award winners slum it up sometimes. In a dressing room fit for a queen but sweltering more than the inside of Rok Bar on a Saturday night, Hudson did vocal exercises and requested a carafe of OJ. Hudson’s posse showed interest in heading over to the Shore Club next door to meet up with Eve for some after festivities. The star made a pit stop in Miami after working on her appearance in the Sex and the City movie to give fans an expensive taste of her new album, performing an anticipated hit and three tracks from Dreamgirls. As The Party Crasher exited the green room, taking a breather from the sauna, she bumped into Dylan McDermott, who also made a scheduled appearance, looking as fine as ever.
Neighboring The Setai, the event over at the Shore Club was getting underway as happy couple Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz hosted the soiree and chilled with Eve for a long minute. The twosome took over at the DJ booth, breaking from spinning and smooching, way before the clock struck midnight. Wentz was spotted with what looked like Springbac supplement drink nearby, perhaps prepping for the aftermath on Tuesday. Gabrielle Union stopped by to say hello, no signs of D. Wade, and bumped into Christina Milian who was far too busy to greet as she locked lips with Dre from the Terror Squad’s Kool & Dre for more than a hot second. Chillen’ around by the pool, The Sopranos’ Robert Iler chatted with a stylish Sophia Bush, who sported a chic black bubble dress for the occasion.
For the third consecutive year, NYE at The Raleigh seemed to be overflowing with A-listers and party goers, offering the ultimate poolside gala. Hosted by Mandy Moore, the Belvedere New Year’s Bash at The Raleigh Hotel attracted more notables than any other $300 hotel pool party Monday night. The Mokai Mickey Mouse Club was back for more with Chace Crawford, Sean Pyfrom and JC Chasez gettin’ their party on, and Crawford spent time mingling with a sleek Elisha Cuthbert. A conservatively-clad Michelle Merkin made an appearance as well, followed by a strut down the carpet by Kimberly Stewart. Warren Sapp celebrated another playoff-less year with the Raiders as he sipped on Belvedere and bubbly nearby. Brody Jenner rang in ’08 with his mom and buddy Frankie Delgado by his side, choosing not to join his stepsister Kim at Mansion for the celebration. Moore did the countdown with sparklers and mic in hand, looking especially un-fly in her stale pink dress and feathered NYE headgear.
A few blocks from the triple threat, The Hotel Victor had a party going down with celebrity host Adrian Grenier, A.K.A. Vinny Chase and his band, The Honey Brothers. The scene at The Victor was intimate, the rooftop rounding up only a couple hundred guests to party. NYE at The Hotel Victor could not be compared to any other parties that evening, nor could the sounds produced by the band. Grenier and his “brothers” put on a mediocre hour-long set, which could have been enhanced by a few covers, instead of the banjo-heavy jams they continuously cranked out. Grenier commented on the “weird crowd” and looked exhausted after drumming and strumming, but I’m convinced the “weird crowd” was there for Grenier viewing pleasure more so than the band. The Entourage star and his publicist swatted fans and media away claiming, “give him a break, it’s New Year’s,” words seldom uttered during paid celeb appearances. Although the company Grenier kept was nothing to brag about, the open bar service kept the crowd happy and the Arabian decor made The Hotel Victor stand out as the most fabulous space of the evening.
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Getting busy along Washington Avenue, the Kardashians headed over to Mansion for the party with the three hottest hoes on the block. The event was hosted by Playboy’s own sex kitten seductress, Kim, who was accompanied by slammin’ sisters Khloe and Kourtney along for the madness, taking a much-needed break from E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Kim arrived with lover in tow, New Orleans Saint Reggie Bush, who was sure to keep Kim’s eyes from wandering throughout the night. The couple was all over each other on and off the Mansion stage, as Kim made it a point to back that ass up into Bush several times without shame.
The last stop on the New Year’s Express was Prive, where Nick Cannon hosted a VIP party for a few guests and friends, sipping some typical bubbly. The actor’s main move of the evening was jacking the turntables from the resident DJs to put on a show for the crowd. Although most stars tend to dress to impress on New Year’s Eve, Cannon went the simple route, clad in a black wife beater, sporting a gold chain, accessorized with a mini fro, but with no signature lady on hand, which might explain why he decided not to play dress-up Monday night.
Where were the rest of the hip-hop elite Monday night, you ask? Diddy held an intimate invite-only house party at an undisclosed crib, with no details to be leaked. Rightfully so, I guess some parties are better left private. -- Tracy Block