BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (February 12, 2007) — In a packed ballroom filled with bling-wearing divas, one unlikely singer shined brightest of all at Sony BMG’s Grammy after-party — tall, gangly John Mayer.
The bushy-haired singer, who snagged trophies for best male pop vocal performance and pop vocal album for “Continuum,” was the toast of Sunday’s swanky bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel — just one of several glamorous Grammy parties around town.
Surrounded by small palm trees and nude sculptures, there Mayer was, gripping a tumbler of booze and hunched over starry-eyed revelers asking for photographs.
Or across the room, shaking hands with producer Wyclef Jean, who congratulated him on his wins.
Or being escorted by two serious-looking men to the bathroom and back.
Mostly, Mayer — wearing a sleek suit and his customary sneakers — held court in a cordoned off cabana outside with his reported paramour Jessica Simpson (sporting brown locks) and her sister, Ashlee Simpson.
Even music mogul Clive Davis gushed about the 29-year-old crooner-turned-bluesman, known for his older heartthrob hits “Daughters” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland.”
“I love music, John loves music, and any time I want he says he’ll come in to play guitar for me,” Davis said, smiling.
By 11 p.m., guests including Rihanna, P erry Farrell, Chris Daughtry and Jakob Dylan gathered to schmooze, drink champagne and feast on sushi, waffles with fruit and slivers of meat as New Wave tunes blasted the room.
John Legend, who landed a Grammy for best male R&B vocal performance, embraced “American Idol” alumna and still reeling triple-winner Carrie Underwood.
“I’m not quite used to it, but it sure is fun,” Underwood said of her new, fabulous lifestyle (parties included) post “Idol.”
On an unusual party note, Orthodox Jewish reggae star Matisyahu not only brought along his wife and his mom, but also his gurgling 3-month-old newborn, certainly the youngest Grammy party attendee of the night.
Across town, at People Magazine and Beyonce Knowles’ shindig at Eleven in West Hollywood, a more traditional sort of diva-filled convention took place.
Shimmying to rapper Q-Tip’s bombastic DJ set of powerhouse R&B and pop, big Grammy winner Mary J. Blige laid claim to a corner of the sweltering upstairs floor, sitting next to Knowles and her former Destiny’s Child band mate Kelly Rowlands, as well as Knowles’ mom, Tina.
In a separate booth sat platinum blonde Grammy winner Christina Aguilera and husband Jordan Bratman, drinking and chatting up ingenue Mischa Barton. A thick swarm of fans giggled nearby.
At the stroke of midnight, Blige made her way out with her husband, simultaneously hugging producer Quincy Jones and dancing to Justin Timberlake’s hip-shaking “Sexy Back.”
Numerous celebs left soon after, including Knowles herself, wearing a black, sparkling gown showing off — what else — her sexy back.
Other parties hosted their own tally of glitzy musicians, from veterans to fresh-faced newbies.
At EMI’s party at Boulevard 3 in Hollywood, artists including Mandy Moore, Natasha Bedingfield and Jody Watley snacked on beef skewers and sushi (the most popular hors d’oeuvres at most of Sunday’s parties), and flocked to the club’s outdoor and indoor fireplaces for warmth.
Universal Music Group’s bash downtown saw the likes of Sting and the newly regrouped The Police, along with Beck, 50 Cent, Paris Hilton and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
A few miles away, Warner Music Group’s party turned a former cathedral into a super-disco, with colored lights filtering through the stained glass and dance music bouncing off the building’s high ceilings.
The record company brought in its own chorus to sing renditions of songs by Warner artists such as rock Grammy winner the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Peppers swung by, as did Gnarls Barkley, Kid Rock and Al Gore.
But the diva train wouldn’t be complete without the starlets that made a huge splash at Saturday’s annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills.
Though she didn’t sing, Whitney Houston blew kisses to the excited crowd when Davis announced her presence.
Underwood and fellow former “American Idol” champ Kelly Clarkson performed, along with “Idol” also-ran and Oscar nominee Jennifer Hudson, who is set to make her album debut later this year.
Wearing gowns fit for queens, they summed up what guitarist Steve Vai told nominees as he hosted the pre-televised award presentation: “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how good you look at all the after-parties.”