HOLLYWOOD — Playing video games at a party might normally be considered antisocial, but at the star-studded Avalon theater on Thursday night it was encouraged.
Omarion, Wilmer Valderrama and Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn were among the celebrities facing off in a first-person shooter as their friends downed free drinks around them.
“Joe just kills it,” Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda boasted of his bandmate.
Thursday’s party was held to celebrate the launch of the highly anticipated new Xbox. The console was revealed to dozens of celebrities and VIPs at the event, which was taped for the global revealing scheduled to air on MTV next week (see “New Xbox To Be Unveiled By Elijah Wood, Serenaded By Killers” ).
“I’ve been gaming for a while,” Omarion said before picking up the new controller. “We’ve got the double TVs with ’Halo 2.’ ”
Ryan Cabrera tried out the new system, but he mainly came to check out the entertainment. Wearing a bright pink jacket, singer Brandon Flowers and the Killers kicked off the party with a short hits set that included “Somebody Told Me,” “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “Mr. Brightside” and “Smile Like You Mean It.”
“I love the Killers,” said Cabrera, who sported a “Vote for Pedro” pin on his sport coat. (Coincidentally, Efren Ramirez, who plays Pedro in “Napoleon Dynamite,” was in the other room.) “It’s fun music you can be an idiot and dance around to. Hooky songs you can sing along to.”
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As the Killers began playing, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and skateboarder Tony Hawk grabbed their dates and rushed toward the stage. Elijah Wood, who hosted the event, caught the show from a private balcony, while Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass sang along from nearby the stage.
As for Cabrera, he also stuck around for the second band, England’s Snow Patrol, for which he was joined by girlfriend Ashlee Simpson, sporting a strawberry blond wig.
Speaking of wigs, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” actress Bai Ling sported a curly blond hairpiece, although it was her very revealing dress that had passersby in the VIP area doing double takes.
Ling, who had to ask a man next to her who Snow Patrol were, mingled with Scarlett Johansson, while Alyssa Milano and Rachel Bilson took over booths with their entourages.
Meanwhile, near the open bar, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland and producer Ross Robinson admired the new Xbox graphics, while Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille admired the bartender, pleading with her to call him later.
Just before the party came to an end, Lil Jon showed up, pimp cup in hand, on a mission: “I want some free games!”
“MTV Presents: Next Generation Xbox Revealed” will premiere May 12 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT in North America and on May 13 in other regions around the globe.