Hottest Party of the Year

updated 06/26/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/26/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS A VELVET ROPE?

Birthday boy Antonio "L.A." Reid has some serious juice: The Island Def Jam Music Group chairman rang in the big 5-0 at New York City's Nobu 57 with pals like Oprah Winfrey, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and John Legend. Said Usher: "At Puffy's parties, there's a lot of miscellaneous people, but at L.A.'s, it's VIP, VIP, VIP."

DANCING WITH THE SUPERSTARS
Despite the blinding wattage and luxe locale, the vibe was pure basement party. With R&B and hip-hop pumping, 300 guests packed the tiny dance floor: Usher busted out his best Michael Jackson moves to "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," as tennis great Serena Williams swayed and Star Jones Reynolds let loose with her husband, Al. When Lionel Richie hit the stage at midnight with his classic club thumper "Brick House," Mariah yelled, "Yay!" and even Oprah—who later grooved to the Spinners' "I'll Be Around" with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds—jumped up to two-step with the ecstatic crowd.

CRAZY IN LOVE
The usually reserved Jay-Z twirled a giggling Beyoncé to the music all night, and at one point they giddily sang Aretha Franklin's "Respect" to each other. Avril Lavigne and her fiancé, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, laughed with pals and chatted up everyone from Clive Davis to Rihanna. And Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri traded little love bites when Jackson's "Nasty" filled the room. "I love it!" said Reid. "This is 50 years of meeting people and building relationships. These people are family."

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