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Concert Review: Peapod Foundation benefit at L.A.'s Avalon

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Peas_l

Peas_lWoo, PopWatchers! I am here at Los Awards Del Grammy, and the pre-parties are fiiiiiine! So last night — after EW’s own party in honor of the space king himself, Timbaland — I trotted over to the Black Eyed Peas’ annual benefit for their Peapod Foundation, this year honoring Interscope founder Jimmy Iovine and raising money to build a fancy music academy for kids. (Ostensibly so that more young people can have the opportunity to become a star too young/get addicted to crystal meth/get clean/discover miraculous career rebirth/sweat in unfortunate places on stage, just like Fergie.)

Anyway, I didn’t see the whole thing, but what I caught was pretty fly. (See pics on Flickr.) I walked in to the Avalon just as the waiters stopped handing out the dinner food (dang) and started handing out Twinkies (yay!), but more importantly, there on the stage before me were the Peas themselves (pictured), performing “Pump It,” or as it is more commonly known in my household, “That Cell Phone Commercial Song.” And then, before I could even catch my breath — and just as I was thinking about how Fergie is all that’s left of Lauryn Hill’s legacy — out pops Wyclef Jean to freestyle with Will.i.am. “My name is Will.i.am!” said Wyclef. “I’m Wyclef!” said Will.i.am. Then they both rapped in Spanish, which, if you’re keeping track, makes two years in a row now that I have heard Wyclef rap in Spanish at a pre-Grammy party. Then they asked the crowd to place their hands in the air and wave them apathetically, and then it was on to bigger and better things…

addCredit(“Black Eyed Peas: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com”)

…like John Legend! Oh, so cute. And so charismatic when he’sstanding and belting out “Save Room,” less so when he’s plopped behindthe piano, warbling “Ordinary People.” We also got a nice solo set fromFergie, who introduced “All That I Got” as “something a lot of y’allhaven’t seen me do: stand here and sing a ballad.” But she also wentahead and got Fergalicious and brought down her London Bridge, becauseagain, not so much with the ballads in the party atmosphere. Alsohanging out was Macy Gray  (who’s always up for a good time), kickingit on “Finally Made Me Happy,” and then the highlight of the eveningfor me: The great Sergio Mendes, who brought back John Legend for”Please Baby Don’t” (off Mendes’ Santana-style collabo album Timeless),and then everyone came out for an all-star rendition of “Mas Que Nada,”or as it is more commonly known in my household, “Oh, Ah Ee Ah Ee Oh.”

And then I left. According to my intrepid colleague ShirleyHalperin, I missed seeing Common, and, more inexplicably, MC Hammer.But that’s the Grammy party circuit, kids — you duck in, you duck out,you get what you can. I was thankful to see Sergio Mendes; I was happyto have avoided “My Humps.” No concert scale rating on this one — I wastoo distracted by Twinkies. But it was a good show for a good cause,indeed, so, yay, kids! Don’t do crystal meth!