Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester showed fans a new side Saturday night, as the actress and singer-songwriter took the stage at Tao in The Venetian and wowed the crowd with four songs. The evil Blair Waldorf arrived on the red carpet in a Nina Ricci dress and Derek Lam shoes, but later in the night was clad in all black as she crawled across the stage to start the show.
Leighton began her electro-pop set with the Cobra Starship hit “Good Girls Go Bad,” a song in which she is featured, and then followed up with “Somebody to Love,” “Playing Games” and “Your Love’s a Drug.” After her performance, she headed to a skybox table in the moat overlooking Tao, where she celebrated with her band, dancers and crew. Earlier, the entire group dined at Lavo in the adjoining Palazzo.
Also spotted at Tao: Nicky Hilton and David Katzenberg, along with Nicky’s parents Rick and Kathy Hilton. The family watched Leighton’s performance from a table on the dance floor after dinner at Lavo. Nearby at Tao was Travis Pastrana, who was celebrating breaking the world record for the longest rally car jump -- more than 200 feet of water in Long Beach, Calif., on New Year’s Eve. Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley returned to Tao for the third night in a row with a table in the nightclub, and David Spade was spotted dining in the restaurant early in the evening.
Over at Lavo, the Tapout crew played host to a post-fight party in the nightclub after owners Punkass and Skyscrape dined at Tao. Rashad Evans, who defeated Thiago Silva in the night’s earlier UFC 108, celebrated his win at Lavo. Lavo clubgoers were in for a surprise when MC Hammer showed up after 2 a.m. The crowd went crazy when DJ Reach played Hammer’s hits “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit.”
Tiesto, David Guetta @Haze
On the heels of DJ Tiesto spinning at Haze’s New Year’s Eve grand opening in Aria at CityCenter was David Guetta for the double power-punch giants of the wheels of steel. Photographer Denise Truscello shot Saturday night’s action, and our esteemed Editor Don Chareunsy reported, “Haze’s doors opened at 11 p.m., and with chants of “David, David, David” leading up to his appearance, celebrated French DJ David Guetta took to the DJ booth shortly before 1:30 a.m. dressed casually in brown flannel and a brown T-shirt.
“He thanked the crowd in his charming French accent and told them that he would play a song for them for the first and last time. His set included the two hits he’s most known for in the U.S.: ‘When Love Takes Over’ featuring Kelly Rowland and ‘Sexy Bitch’ featuring Akon. When DJ Tiesto hosted at Haze on NYE, he tweeted that Haze was ‘the most beautiful club he had ever seen.’ Haze’s sound and lighting systems are certainly unbeatable in the Las Vegas nightclub scene.”
Karina Smirnoff @Pure
Dancing With the Stars pro dancer beauty Karina Smirnoff celebrated her 32nd birthday at Pure in Caesars Palace on Saturday night. Looking stunning in a white French Connection dress and black and white Christian Louboutin heels, Karina was joined by a group of friends including former DWTS cast mate Lance Bass. Staying true to her Ukrainian roots, Karina toasted her birthday with vodka, and Pure added a surprise, as the Las Vegas Pussycat Dolls presented her with a cake and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.” Our contributing photographer Scott Harrison was on birthday duty at Pure.
Will.i.am, P. Diddy @Pure
Even though New Year’s Eve is slowly becoming a distance memory, the party continued at Pure on Friday night as The Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am took to the turntables to deejay for the evening, while P. Diddy stopped by for drinks. Dressed in a leather vest, beanie and jeans, Will.i.am arrived with a group of 20 that included BEP member Apl.de.ap.
P. Diddy’s entourage included Rick Ross and Cassie. Dressed in an L.A. Dodgers cap and a diamond necklace, P. Diddy joined Will.i.am in the deejay booth as his group sipped Ciroc cocktails and Fiji water, leaving the club about 4:30 a.m. Actor Danny Trejo and actress Meagan Good also partied at Pure.
UFC 108, Tao & Lavo
Pre-UFC 108 festivities and New Year’s weekend celebrations were underway at Tao and Lavo on Friday. Tapout fighters Kenny Florian and Keith Jardine hosted the night at Lavo after dining at the restaurant. After dinner, they made their way to a VIP table on the dance floor, where the fighters stuck mostly to Red Bull and water. David Spade was spotted at a dance floor table in the nightclub.
Over at Tao, Deryck Whibley continued his New Year’s celebration with dinner and then made his way to the nightclub with friends. Earlier in the night, Nelly dined at Tao with a group of friends. Actress-model Devon Aoki dine with two girlfriends, and E! film critic Ben Lyons dined with 10 friends before heading to the nightclub.
Kirsten Dunst & Maroon 5
Partygoers bid farewell to 2009 and rung in 2010 with The N9NE Group at a series of parties in the Palms. Maroon 5 hosted at The Playboy Club after their performance at The Pearl and was joined by actor Jason Segel, actress Kirsten Dunst (who is reportedly dating Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine) and a large group of friends at a VIP table. While at the Palms palaces, Kirsten enjoyed a late lunch at Simon in Palms Place on New Year’s Day and afterward went to Michael Boychuck’s Amp Salon for a manicure. That night, she hit Rain, where DJ Jazzy Jeff spun on the turntables alongside resident DJ Z-Trip. Kirsten arrived with a girlfriend and was seated at a table on the dance floor.
Tampa Rays third baseman Evan Longoria had dinner at N9NE Steakhouse with a group of 18 that included sports agent Mead Chasky. Diego Sanchez, The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner, had dinner at N9NE with a group of 10. After dinner, both groups headed upstairs to Moon, the home of resident DJ Z-Trip. Evan partied at a VIP table on the dance floor.
Guests turned back the hands of time and rocked in the New Year in 1980s style with cover band Flashback Heart Attack at Ghostbar. Cypress Hill was spotted in the lounge with friends. Over at Rain, DJ Paul Oakenfold hosted his Perfecto Saturdays.
Christina Aguilera’s resolution
Singer Christina Aguilera says her New Year’s resolution is “to continue having the best life ever.” Christina made the announcement while hosting the New Year’s Eve bash at Tao. She told the crowd: “I paved the way for the work this year.” Christina has an upcoming album and is filming Burlesque with Cher. She told my colleague Mark Gray at People.com: “Doing film is a whole different animal. … The schedule is grueling, but it’s been really amazing and an incredible learning experience. The best memory was being at home with my husband and son for Christmas and seeing his face and everything come to life with Santa. It was really amazing.” Christina and Cher are presenters at the Golden Globes this month.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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