Stars Flock to Grammy Pre-Parties

In Los Angeles for the big show, stars like Fergie and Carrie Underwood get a jump start on the celebration

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Kevin Mazur/WireImage

With the 2008 Grammys on Sunday, the stars began to party early, hitting a bevy of Hollywood hotspots and events on Friday and Saturday.

At Friday’s PEOPLE/Verizon Wireless kickoff party, Pink, dressed in a top hat, smoked cigarettes and drank cocktails with girlfriends while best new artist nominee Taylor Swift performed. Fergie worked the red carpet in pin stripes, while Miley Cyrus, dressed in red and white, joked to PEOPLE that her dad said her dress looked, “like a Valentine!”

Inside, Lindsay Lohan hung out with Travis Barker before getting introduced to Cyrus. The former teen queen and the reigning teen queen chatted, giggled and snapped pictures in the VIP balcony. Below fans screamed “I love you,” to the Hannah Montana star.

The night’s honoree Timbaland said his mind was elsewhere – and for good reason. Girlfriend Monique Idlett gave birth to their daughter in November.

“[Fatherhood] keeps me grounded,” the producer told PEOPLE. “Now I want to live normal. All the hype and the media doesn’t mean anything. I want to do normal things with my kid.”

Meanwhile, at the Roosevelt Hotel, Mark Ronson threw a party hosted by Belvedere Vodka, which attracted the likes of Prince, Adam Levine, Dylan McDermott and Rumer Willis who snuggled with singer Kenna as she waited for the valet. Also snuggling: party-hopper Paris Hilton and Simon Rex.

Aretha Franklin was honored at the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year bash at the L.A. Convention Center. Ne-Yo, John Stamos and Tony Bennett all came out to support the Queen of Soul, while performers like Josh Groban, Corinne Bailey Rae, Fantasia and John Legend joined her on stage.

“I’m going to be with my mom, pretty much that whole day, that whole night,” Ne-Yo told PEOPLE of his Grammy day plans. “[We’re] going to eat, going to pray and go to the show, and hopefully win some Grammys!”

The next night, he kept the partying going at Microsoft’s Zune Midnight Grammy brunch to celebrate the 23 nominations scored by Ne-Yo and his Def Jam label mates, including Jay-Z and Rihanna, at new Hollywood hot spot 86.

Out for a second night, a star stuck Mark Ronson (he was standing next to Stevie Wonder on the red carpet!) talked to PEOPLE about his pal and nominee Amy Winehouse, whose album he produced.

“I wish she was here It would be nice to celebrate this moment together,” he said.

Clive Davis also threw his annual soiree on Saturday night, bringing in the likes Lindsay Lohan, Whitney Houston, nominee Carrie Underwood and Janet Jackson with Jermaine Dupri and Alicia Keys, who was one of several performers of the night. The Foo Fighters and newcomer Leona Lewis also took the stage.

Inside, Nicole Richie (who looked “amazing,” according to an onlooker who asked, “What baby weight?”) chatted with Ashlee Simpson, while their boyfriends Joel Madden and Pete Wentz (both in black fedors!) kept each other company.

Also showing off her post-baby body at the party was Tameka Raymond, who was by husband Usher‘s side all night.

Reporting by Reagan Alexander, Shruti Dhalwala, Jessica Herndon, Kim Lansing, Tiffany McGee and Nicholas White

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