Grammy Week: Chillin' With Clive
Busting a move. That's what Island Def Jam Music Group president/COO Steve Bartels and Universal Motown president Sylvia Rhone were doing onstage last night at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy night soiree. Akon and Wyclef, the night's final performers, had the staid Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom jumping as they bounced on and off the stage and onto tables (Jean closed with a backflip across the stage) as they ran through hits like "The Sweet Escape," "Soul Survivor," and "911."
But it was on Jean's "Sweetest Girl (Dolla Bill)," which features Akon and Lil' Wayne, that Bartels was pulled onto the stage and standing between Akon and Jean began waving his arms in the air like he just didn't care -- much to the raucous delight of the audience. And Rhone more than held her own in the dance department when she joined Bartels onstage, doing a mean rendition of the bump.
Setting up the audience for Jean and Akon's energetic antics was Alicia Keys, wearing a billowing strapless brown and white polka-dot dress. Priming the audience first with the female empowerment-themed "Superwoman," she segued into her current crossover hit "Like You'll Never See Me Again." Then she brought the crowd to its collective feet as everyone joined her in singing the anthemic "No One," joined by a Mardi Gras-mask-clad Jean on guitar.
The evening's other performers included the Foo Fighters, Fantasia, Daughtry (accompanied on "Born on the Bayou" by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and a black top-hatted and guitar-wielding Slash), David Foster accompanying Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli (to a rousing standing ovation) and newcomer Leona Lewis who after performing her current single "Bleeding Love," sang a mesmerizing cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Davis noted that the British newcomer's stateside debut album is coming in two months.
Davis' party remains quite the draw. Everyone from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to Raquel Welch was there, The laundry list of names includes industry veteran Seymour Stein, Gamble & Huff, Quincy Jones, Lindsay Lohan, Carrie Underwood, best new artist nominee Taylor Swift, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, Island Def Jam chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Missy Elliott, CBS executive Les Moonves, Tracy Ullman, Natasha Bedingfield, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., and songwriter/production teams the Underdogs and Stargate.
After the party, J.I. heard through informed sources that rumors of Michael Jackson's appearance on tonight's Grammy Awards show are just that. That Jackson is back in Las Vegas and definitely will not appear. Guess we'll just have to stay tuned....