As an invite-only bash and guaranteed star-studded fete, Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala is one of the hottest–and most exclusive–parties of Grammy weekend. And lucky for you, Cosmopolitan snagged a seat inside. On Grammys Eve, the famed music exec Clive had everyone buzzing when he confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that Beyoncé and Jay-Z would be in attendance. But to everyone’s surprise, they were nowhere in sight during the five-hour celebration that honored Sony chairman and chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing Jon Platt.
To offer some context, Jon and Jay-Z go way back. Jon signed Jay-Z in 1997 when he was at EMI Music Publishing and then later signed him to Warner/Chappell. Jon even accepted Jay-Z's award when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They have a close and long standing relationship, so the absence was a surprise.
While it’s not clear why Queen Bey and Jay didn’t show up—or if they caught moments of the show from a hidden room—the gala went on, even if the occasional whisper of “I wonder when Beyoncé is coming? Is she going to be a surprise performer at the end of the night? OMG! Is that her?” could be heard throughout the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton.
Once the doors opened, everyone mingled, and there was a celeb at every turn. Julia Garner, who made it a date night with hubby Mark Foster, was twinning with Margaret Qualley in matching red cocktail dresses. They hugged and chatted excitedly before taking their seats.
Victoria Monét’s team walked behind her carrying the train of her black and white dress as she strolled to her seat and caught up with Janelle Monáe. Mariah Carey, who rocked an on-brand sparkling sequin silver gown, talked and took pictures with every person who approached her (and there were quite a few). At one point, there was a line of people waiting to meet her.
Megan Thee Stallion strolled into the room with a smile in a cut-out satin dress, and Cher and Bebe Rexha walked in right behind her. “Besties,” Bebe said as she threw up a peace sign for a photo opp with Cher. They went on to embrace Lenny Kravitz, who was wearing a strappy backless vest.
In addition to Julia and Mark, other couples made the event a date night too. Paris Hilton greeted friends with her husband Carter Reum on her arm, Dove Cameron walked around holding hands with Maneskin’s Damiano David, and gala staples Tom and Rita Hanks were on hand too.
When it came time for performances, the excited buzz was real. This gala's performers are always a surprise, never announced in advance, so Serena Williams had the room's full attention when she kicked off the night by introducing the first act: Green Day. “To know me is to know my love for them,” she said after calling them her favorite band. As the group performed “American Idiot,” Serena rocked out near the stage, threw up her hands, and recorded them on her phone.
Tom Hanks hit the stage next to introduce Clive, who highlighted celebrities who were in the room–and their accomplishments–throughout the night. “Clive Davis is the host of this, the most bitching party of any year,” Tom said.
Ice Spice later performed “Deli,” and while Chlöe Bailey threw up her hands and danced in her seat, others hilariously looked like they were in shock as Ice twerked around the stage in a black asymmetricdress. “Oh...kay,” Davis said as he approached the podium after her performance.
Still, it was a needed boost of energy for the lengthy evening, as were Victoria Monét who sang “On My Mama,” Public Enemy with their three-song performance, and Maluma with his song “Hawaii”.
Other performances included Mark Ronson and rising country star Lainey Wilson, who performed “I’m Just Ken,” Noah Kahan, Jelly Roll, and The Isley Brothers. Shania Twain and Meryl Streep threw up their hands as Josh Groban and Michael Trotter Jr. performed “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Earlier in the evening, Clive mentioned that a couple of legends would hit the stage, joined by two new artists. And while guests held out hope that one of those legends would be Beyoncé, the audience was thrilled when Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Keisha Cole, and Andra Day performed “That’s What Friends are For” instead to wrap up the night.
They brought some guests to tears with the song and their words as Stevie Wonder palmed the microphone and called for peace.
“We talk about it, we pray about it, but what we need to do is do about it,” Stevie said. “We as artists have to win those hearts with love, because music is love. Let us use those gifts that we have been given by the almighty. We as musicians have to heal them with love. We can ask to put an end to all of the hurting, these two nations of the world, and begin to love.”
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