NEW YORK — One thing's for sure: Fergie now owns as many jewels as a duchess.
At the Thursday launch party for her first solo record, The Dutchess, Fergie was given a diamond watch, necklace and tiara (see "Meet A New Fergie On Each Track — Introducing The Dutchess"). After a long day of radio and television promotion for her new album, Fergie Ferg hit Manhattan hot spot Tenjune to kick back and celebrate.
But it wasn't that easy — before getting in the door, a swarm of photographers and onlookers went berserk trying to get a photo of the "London Bridge" singer. "Right here, Fergie! Turn left, Fergie!" the photographers screamed. "Make eye contact, Fergie! Fergie! Fergie!"
"It's overwhelming, the whole thing," Fergie told MTV News. "It's my release date, my party, 'David Letterman,' all of it — so many huge things in one week."
The Black Eyed Peas singer wore a sultry, backless, black Gucci gown with high heels to the party. "This dress I bought for [fiance Josh Duhamel's] sister's wedding, so I wore it again," she said. "Yes, I wear things again. I like it. I feel comfortable in it." She also sparkled in a swanky diamond watch, a gift from producer/bandmate Will.I.Am. "You can tell time wherever you are," she said, "which is very pragmatic for us."
Speaking of world travel, Fergie said she's thinking about going on tour for The Dutchess once the Black Eyed Peas are off the road. Her next single will be "Fergalicious," based on the 1980s J.J. Fad song "Supersonic," which reminds her of the old days, when "I went to Knott's Berry Farm [in California] and did what I thought was a dance battle," she said.
She also has her eyes on Hollywood and will be starring in the Quentin Tarantino/ Robert Rodriguez-directed movie "Grind House" with Rosario Dawson and Rose McGowan (see "Tarantino Gushes About 'Grind,' Says Next 'Kill Bill' Is 10 Years Away"). "I'm still working on it," she said. "It's a very small role, which is what I want. For me, I think I have to earn a place in that world, and I want to do that."
Inside the party, shots of Fergie from her "Kids Incorporated" days flashed on TV screens, while women danced on platforms in Fergie attire: boys' underwear, chain necklaces and white tank tops. Songs like Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time" and the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" got partygoers to shake it on the dance floor, and then the place became silent for Will.I.Am to smother the princess Pea with more presents on the main stage (see "Will.I.Am's Busy With Diddy, Justin, Kelis — But Peas Are Intact").
"Can the 'Dutchess' please report to the stage?" asked Will, who was flanked by two palace guards in full costume. "In the year 2002, I had the pleasure of meeting Fergie Ferg and we all took sacrifices. She took a sacrifice by putting her solo career aside and doing the Black Eyed Peas. And we made the sacrifice by not knowing where we were going to go. But we went into it with open hearts and open minds. And here we are three and a half years later releasing Fergie's solo album.
"We've recorded all over the world — Australia, Beijing, London, Paris, Canada, America, Mexico," Will continued. "And this project has been so important to me to stand alongside Fergie Ferg and record in the studio, and out of appreciation for her trusting me, I've got something I want to give to her."
He then draped Fergie with a huge, blinding diamond necklace, and, as if that weren't enough, he pulled out a massive diamond tiara from a black box. "A duchess wouldn't be complete without a proper crown," he said.
Fergie, who looked like she was on the verge of tears, thanked Will.I.Am for "believing in me when I was living at my mom's and just really understanding that girl that was in suburbia and seeing something that was in her."