There was glitz, there was glamor, the was top-shelf vodka at $400 a bottle. And of course, there was Paris Hilton, who flew in by private jet from her Club Paris in Orlando just in time to treat 2000 partyers at the Shelborne hotel to a showgirl shimmy as she counted down to midnight. "You are at my party," she yelled. "The best party in the world!" For Hollywood heat seekers, Miami's South Beach was the capital of celebration on Dec. 31, with revelry revolving from nightspot to nightspot past dawn. At the Shelborne, Paris and pals—including sister Nicky; Nicky's beau, Entourage star Kevin Connolly; David Schwimmer and John Stamos—held court in a private cabana next to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's. Nearby at the club Mansion, Nicole Richie focused her digital camera on new boyfriend DJ AM and Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey smooched under a sprinkling of midnight confetti. An hour or so later, Simpson and Lachey left Mansion for Opium Garden—just as Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria and boyfriend JC Chasez exited Opium Garden for Mansion, where P. Diddy performed an impromptu concert around 4 a.m. At 4:15 a.m. Lindsay Lohan crossed the velvet ropes at the Raleigh hotel demanding "Where's Paris? Where's Paris?" The party princesses united inside before heading for a breakfast bash at the Star Island home of P. Diddy, who offered his 25 guests just what they needed for the New Year: best wishes—and black coffee.
DOUBLES THE FUN
Making it from Manhattan to Miami in a single night of celebration was challenge enough. But as Lindsay Lohan, 18, prepared to perform her single "Rumors" at the MTV "Iced Out" New Year's Eve party, she had other matters on her mind: namely, her $3 million in borrowed Harry Winston jewelry. As she told PEOPLE, "I'm so afraid it's going to fall off." It didn't—a good omen for the entertainer who shot to stardom in 2004 but also weathered family strife and a hospitalization for exhaustion. Performing on MTV's broadcast was "surreal," she said. "I never thought I'd be able to do this." And, thanks to a private jet, be partying with Paris Hilton and friends at Miami's Raleigh hotel a few hours later. At Opium Garden the next night, Lohan ran into ex-beau Wilmer Valderrama. No drama: She wished him a happy New Year, then hit the Rok Bar, where she was going strong at 4:30 a.m. Still, from here on out, she says, her plans include "just resting" as well as "learning from mistakes. I'm going to say No more than Yes to work, be with my family more, take care of myself."
In the Big Apple, New Year's Eve meant Times Square, mellow nightlife (blame the exodus to Miami) and lots of resolutions. At the nightclub Marquee, Scarlett Johansson nibbled chocolates and vowed to become "politically active," while Ryan Seacrest aimed to "stop wearing so much pink." Over apple martinis festooned with flashing lightbulbs at MTV Studios, Ashanti resolved to "start a charity." Actress Christina Milian planned to "eat healthier and work harder." And speaking for the weary everywhere, Ja Rule made his pledge: "To relax."
On New Year's Eve, even a nightlife-averse artist likes to put on a funny hat and release a little steam. Or just a chord or two. At the Casino Estoril in Portugal's capital, Woody Allen (with wife Soon-Yi Previn) took the stage with his New Orleans Jazz band, welcoming 2005 with a wicked clarinet.
New Year's Eve diners at the Pasadena restaurant Madre's were astonished to see Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony walk in around 10 p.m. "Everyone thought they'd be doing something more elaborate," says one source. Instead, Lopez, a part owner of the restaurant, sat with members of her family, including her father, David. Wearing a foil New Year's crown, she counted down to midnight and kissed Anthony. Then, backed by the restaurant's musicians, he sang to his wife, says a witness: "Jennifer joined him for some songs. Everyone was amazed they were getting a private concert." Festivities were rowdier at the L.A. home of rockers Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. They cleared the furniture out of their living room, hired a DJ and danced with more than 250 pals—including Mark McGrath and Vincent Gallo—until 5 a.m. Then the hosts headed for bed, leaving heartier rockers to party on.
With an entourage of 25 in tow, hostess Mariah Carey led the midnight countdown and sang "Auld Lang Syne" for partygoers including Antonio Sabáto Jr. to inaugurate Pure, a new nightclub at Caesars Palace. On the club's terrace, Carey caught the last few moments of a fireworks display over the Strip. She headed out at 4 a.m.—after investor Shaquille O'Neal called from Miami to ask how things were going on the club's opening night. (Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, also part owners, missed the bash but stopped in earlier for a peek.)
Karen S. Schneider. Jacqueline Charles, Laura Figueroa, Julie Kay and Jon Warech in Miami Beach, Chris Gardner, Marisa Laudadio and Kwala Mandel in Los Angeles and Saryn Chorney and Megan Mann in New York City
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