MIAMI -- It was a long, exhausting and very exciting week on the MTV Video Music Awards party circuit. And the end of the show Sunday night by no means spelled the end of the festivities surrounding the event. As they did the previous two nights, the stars came out to enjoy themselves.
In South Beach, Usher had it poppin' at Opium Gardens. Last year, Ush gave a classic VMA afterbash at the Shore Club, incorporating acrobats, lions, panthers and tigers and a man on stilts who knew how to flip. This year it was a lot simpler, but there was a lot more dancing by everyone. Even in the VIP section, which is supposed to be stiff, Jermaine Dupri was leading a group bounce and chants of "yea, yea," as some Dirty South records spun. JD was there with Nelly, who did a lot of grinning and talking to the folks, while Timbaland sat quietly taking everything in.
JD and Nelly made a detour on their way to the strip and stopped by the Versace mansion for an even higher-energy shindig. Snoop Dogg was cooling out in the back room, R. Kelly was spotted on the roof and later partied in a private room three floors up. Alicia Keys was walking around the dance floor, JD was dancing, Nelly did some more politicking with the fans, and singer Joe took pictures with girls. The dance floor was located poolside, and we all know what happens in Miami, stays in Miami (unless you read it on MTVNews.com), so some women jumped in the water fully dressed. Get down, girl, get down, go 'head.
VMA host Diddy delivered the world's biggest party during the show, but he seemed to run out of steam at downtown Miami's club Space afterwards. Upon leaving the party -- just a few minutes after going in -- a couple of people could be heard calling the fiesta wick-wick-wack. Maybe it had to do with the very prissy man who was manning the guest list. He was trying too hard to keep the party exclusive, only letting in types that looked like they could be a King magazine model or came from a rich Miami family. Diddy did attract the likes of Quincy Jones and Bow Wow, however.
There's no such thing as pacing yourself in Miami, so after a week of partying that only a hurricane could temporarily derail, stars hit the city's hot spots the night before the Video Music Awards as well.
Jamie Foxx knows how to throw a party: His gala at the Loews was decked out like a superstar's wedding reception, with banquet tables overflowing with carved turkey, salmon-and-asparagus soufflés, risotto-and-pecorino-cheese croquettes and much more. Foxx walked the stage, pouring shots in female guests' mouths, while dancers clad in lingerie, pearls, fur and feathers wiggled on the sidelines.
Foxx and his DJ also acted as MCs, shouting out who was present and bringing them up onstage to join the party. Christina Milian was brought up with the "news" that she and Foxx would be getting married that very night. Ludacris came up to rock out on the mic, but O.J. Simpson avoided a similar invitation. "O.J.'s in the house!" Foxx yelled after spotting him, and made a dance move that incorporated a slashing-knife motion, adding, "This party is going to be killer!" Shaquille O'Neal towered above guests, Nick Lachey ducked out a back exit with a huge entourage, and Eddie Murphy was enthralled by two female acrobats who sashayed their way up and down cords hooked to the ceiling, twirling over the crowd.
Jay-Z and his crew snuck in the back door of Mansion on Saturday night to catch the Stateside debut of his friend Mike Shinoda's side project, Fort Minor. Jay just missed the set, however, and it's unfortunate 'cause the Linkin Park rapper was dropping fierce rhymes with the help of hip-hop duo Styles of Beyond and the tandem beats of a DJ and drummer. "The album comes out November 22 -- one-one two-two, so it's easy to remember," Shinoda said.
While the VMAs were still more than 18 hours away, Bam Margera was in the mood to give out some awards on Saturday night, hosting the "First annual BMAs" at the Opium club. Margera and his assembled army of, um, dignitaries -- including Carson Daly, Tony Hawk and a heavily fannypacked Hulk Hogan -- held court in an upstairs VIP room, hijacking the club's PA system to announce the winners of categories like "The two male singers we'd like to see fight to the death" (congratulations, Gavin DeGraw and Ryan Cabrera!) and "The two chicks Don Vito would most like to see make out with each other" (way to go, Lucy Liu and Angelina Jolie!).
None of the winners were on hand to accept their awards, though at one point the Hulkster did take the podium pretending to be a very pregnant Britney Spears, accepting the "Expecting MILF" award and claiming to be on the lookout for "rednecks to marry."
Kanye West wanted his guests at the Shore Club to feel special, so the event was designed to feel heavenly -- literally. Bikini-clad models strutted around in angel wings, recalling the Victoria's Secret "Angels" ads, while white mist wafted in periodically, giving a cloudlike atmosphere. Will.I.Am and Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas popped by before their performance later at the Rolling Stone party at Mansion. Needless to say, the ethereal mood was greatly disrupted when Suge Knight was shot in the party's VIP area.
Hours before that incident, Knight was spotted just down the block at the Victor Hotel, holding court with an entourage downstairs at a loud and rowdy afternoon barbecue being thrown by Ludacris. Unlike many of the shindigs held on the South Beach strip, this one felt like a real party -- not an exercise in corporate sponsorship. Luda hung tight in a Porn Star T-shirt, mixing with guests who ate chicken wings and drank fruity rum concoctions. Luda also provided free massages, courtesy of two pros who set up shop near the pool table and pounded out the stress of weary partiers' backs -- definitely a highlight.
Even with a storm in town, the heat was brutal. So director John Singleton helped a few of his closest friends -- including Snoop Dogg, Mos Def and Good Charlotte -- to chill out at his pool party Saturday afternoon at the Sanctuary rooftop pool. An ice sculpture dripped cold water on the already slippery floor as Biz Markie DJ'ed and Snoop posed for pictures with his pistol -- a gold miniature hanging around his neck on a chain. Cold Mountain Creamery also helped guests chill with scoops of free ice cream, received with much welcome from guests not already clad in skimpy swimwear.
Jessica Alba was nowhere to be seen at her Us Weekly-sponsored event at the Sagamore -- and neither were any other celebs, unless you count the Heatherette boys. Was that Paris Hilton sneaking out? Was that Carmen Electra getting out of a car? No one could tell, and the VIP area was stuffed instead with Us staffers -- sending the message that they're not just like us, since they couldn't bother to mingle with guests, and all left en masse early in the night. One bonus, though: Alba provided not one but two gift bags, perhaps as compensation for not showing up.
Diddy warned partygoers days in advance of his fiesta at club Nocturnal that they would not be allowed to leave until it was over. The "12 Hour Party" started at midnight and was not supposed to end until noon. Revelers didn't have that much stamina, though, and around 6 a.m. people started filing out. Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams hosted a party at the exclusive new hotel Setai, while Jermaine Dupri and director Dave Meyers shared hosting duties at the mansion formerly owned by Gianni Versace. Myers rented the mansion for the entire weekend.
On Sunday afternoon in Miami, you really didn't have to look any further than the Ritz Carlton Hotel to see a gaggle of stars. Upstairs in a private dining area, 50 Cent was chatting it up with a small group of reporters about his upcoming movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " and its soundtrack. As he exited the room, 50 was immediately swarmed by several women.
Meanwhile, just a few feet away at the dining area where the Carlton's pool is, Fif's ex, Vivica A. Fox, was eating with three of her friends, while at the table next to hers was the singer Joe and his crew. Across from them, L.A. Reid was meeting with Christina Milian, and those two were greeted by Slim Thug. Brooke Hogan laid out on the other side of the pool, sunbathing, while Mobb Deep's Havoc was strolling through the indoor dining area and his partner Prodigy held court in the downstairs lobby. While John Singleton was coming in, Lil Jon's artist Bohagan headed out after picking up a fresh T-shirt from his room.