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Snoop Dogg gives nickname to Will.I.Am; Grammy parties heat up

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Peapodconcert_l

The Grammy Awards won’t be broadcast from L.A. until Sunday night, but the partying is already underway in Hollywood. At the Avalon Thursday night the Black Eyed Peas hosted their fourth annual Peapod Foundation benefit concert, featuring performances by Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Nicole Scherzinger, John Legend, Ne-Yo and Natasha Beddingfield (the latter two backed by Randy Jackson on bass). Will.I.Am was wearing a cast on his leg — Snoop nicknamed him “One-Legged Willie” — but that didn’t stop him from dancing all night long. A few blocks away at Boulevard3, Rihanna took the stage at the InStyle Grammy Salute to Fashion, which showcased spring lines from fashion houses such as Justin Timberlake’s William Rast, Beyonce’s House of Dereon and Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface. On the rock tip, video channel Fuse presented a Panic at the Disco performance at hotspot Goa. Fall Out Boy friend and fan Pete Wentz handled DJ duties and kept girlfriend Ashlee Simpson close by. Panic’s four-song set included one surprising choice: a cover of The Band’s “The Weight,” which seemed to go over well with Grammy-nominated attendees, including Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Chris Daughtry and Mark Ronson.

Here’s what’s in store for the rest of Grammy weekend:

FRIDAY

• Timbaland protégés OneRepublic play the Avalon, where they’ll be joined by Flo Rida, Chris Cornell and Best New Artist nominee Taylor Swift. Expect celebrity guests such as Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Pink and Chris Brown to show for the Verizon/People Magazine-sponsored event.

• Aretha Franklin, who’s up for her 18th Grammy award, will be honored as Musicares’ Person of the Year. The annual gala, which includes a live auction (private painting lesson from Tony Bennett, anyone?) and a sit-down dinner, will feature performances by artists including Herbie Hancock, Faith Hill, Fantasia, Ledisi and Robin Thicke.

• Mark Ronson will hold court at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel where he’ll be celebrating his Grammy nods sans muse Amy Winehouse.

• Jermaine Dupri hosts the So So Def/Island Records pre-Grammy party at Central Hollywood Lounge. No doubt girlfriend Janet Jackson will be in the house, along with pals Nelly, Nas, Kelis and Ashanti.

• Ashlee Simpson premieres some of her new tunes, including her latest single, “Outta My Head,” at Ritual Nightclub. Ashlee is expected to play a short (presumably non-lip-synched) set, her first since wrapping the I Am Me tour in 2006.

SATURDAY

It’s all about Clive Davis’s bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where A-listers come out in droves. Past years have featured unforgettable performances by Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Diana Ross. There’s also the perennial rumor that Whitney Houston will perform. This year is no different. Will Whitney finally make her stage comeback? Only Clive knows for sure. Still, there are plenty of artists confirmed to attend the exclusive bash, including Foo Fighters, who are first to perform following the sit-down dinner. Also rsvp’d are Rod Stewart, Carrie Underwood, Feist, Fantasia, Lindsay Lohan, Bill Maher, Naomi Campbell and P. Diddy.

SUNDAY

• The official Grammy after-party kicks off at the LA Convention Center immediately following the Awards. While not quite on the level of, say, the Oscars’ Governor’s Ball, the event continues the celebration with a lavish reception catered by Wolfgang Punk. On hand to entertain several thousand Grammy guests will be Natasha Beddingfield, Cyndi Lauper and DJ Chris Cox. 

• Warner Music Group hosts an invitation-only fete for nominated artists at Vibiana downtown. Josh Groban, James Blunt, Nickelback and Paramore are expected to attend the soiree, touted as a “zero landfill” waste event. So much for the fancy WBR logo napkins. 

• SonyBMG throws its annual post-party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Dozens of artists from all of the company’s labels invited to attend. Beyonce, Columbia Records’ pride and joy, is a regular at the bash, as are John Mayer and John Legend. Chris Brown will be there this year, too, even if he can’t legally drink. And technically, Britney Spears has an open invitation. Could she show?

• Island Def Jam head LA Reid will be honored at STK, West Hollywood’s brand spankin’ new steakhouse and lounge. The intimate affair, co-sponsored by EW, is expected to draw many of the artists he’s guided over the years, including Usher and Mariah Carey, who will toast the longtime exec.

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