Can’t Keep Miami Down: Mariah, Lil Jon, Nelly Get Pre-VMA Bashes Hopping

R. Kelly, Neptunes also come out as city's nightlife gets back on track.

MIAMI — After Hurricane Katrina brought the city to a halt, Miami — and its infamous nightlife — bounced back in a big way Friday with Mariah Carey, Lil Jon, Pam Anderson and R. Kelly among the stars who came out to shake off the storm and shake up VMA week.

Katrina and her waves couldn’t stop the party Mariah had planned on her yacht, but the weather did make the star move it. Twice.

The private event (read: no red carpet) was first scheduled to be sheltered at the Setai, and then finally found a home at the Raleigh Hotel, where revelers could enjoy the view from the penthouse balcony. It was so windy, however, that most chose to stay inside, nibbling on sashimi from Nobu and dancing to the DJ’s retro playlist, which included a strange juxtaposition of New Edition’s sweet “Candy Girl” with Prince’s adults-only “Erotic City.” Dressed in a coral Cleopatra-inspired gown, Mariah was instantly swarmed upon arriving, so she went behind the veil — a curtained-off corridor that secluded her from invited guests. Even if they didn’t get to party with her, attendees got a parting gift: a bag stuffed to the brim with girlie goodies from Christian Dior, Urban Decay and Levi’s.

Brooke Hogan — spotted dancing with her mother/chaperone — left soon after Mariah’s 11 p.m. grand entrance to hit the Stuff magazine shindig, which also had a forced move: from Star Island to the mainland. Hogan did, however, call Mariah’s party “awesome.”

The Neptunes, Lil Jon — who admitted onstage that he was tired — R. Kelly and Kanye West were among the big honorees at the annual BMI Urban Awards. Fat Joe and the Game started off the show with separate performances, and 112 joined Guy members Aaron and Damien Hall onstage to pay tribute to Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band.

As the night progressed, Jon must have sipped on some Crunk Juice, because he didn’t appear to be tired at all, but was instead in full-on party mode hosting a shindig at the Shore Club. Jon not only got on the turntable and spun records including Run-DMC’s “Rock Box” and “Sucka MCs” and A Tribe Callled Quest’s “Scenario,” he was seen handing out shots of tequila from his personal bedazzled bottle.

Lil Scrappy was grinding on girls on the dance floor like a young Bobby Brown, while Luke Campbell and Jermaine Dupri both made the party’s rounds as well.

Ricky Martin‘s event at Hotel MTV was supposed to be canceled due to weather, but the listening party must go on. It was so crowded, though, that fans were lucky to get anything more than a glimpse of the singer’s new haircut, which was premiered just around midnight.

Meanwhile, Pam Anderson’s party at Privé was a bust for celebrity spotters. Though the actress — dressed in a white halter top and white Daisy Dukes — was supposed to be celebrating her friend, video director David LaChapelle, the two kept to a secluded VIP area. Guests Jessica Simpson, Eddie Murphy and Quincy Jones joined them in the off-limits zone, so that the bulk of the party appeared to be a celeb-free affair — just another night on the Miami night club scene at a $1,000 a table, minimum.

Nelly‘s party next door at Opium Garden was more of the same: If there were stars on the premises other than the rapper — clad in his requisite wife-beater undershirt — they kept themselves well hidden.

At Mansion, the circus was in town. After being shut down by the weather on Thursday (see “Diddy, Kanye, R. Kelly, Usher Burning Up Miami With Pre-VMA Parties” ), Diddy finally threw his first big party of the week. It was a real red-carpet event as stars including Fat Joe, the Game, Jacki-O and Ice-T all came out.

Directly across the street at Onda, MTV’s own Buttahman held his annual birthday bash where special guest R. Kelly showed up with a large Chi-Town contingent.