Emmy nominees pause to party before big night

LOS ANGELES (AP) - September 21, 2008 ---

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Work hard, party right.

Emmy nominees Chandra Wilson, Sandra Oh, Sarah Silverman, Jon Hamm and Don Rickles were among the stars at a luxe party held in their honor Friday, where many said they needed the breather in a frantic week.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences feted nominated performers at a private soiree at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

In a sunny room filled with yellow roses and orange daisies, a five-piece band played on the patio while guests munched on mini meat loaves, mac 'n' cheese and wild salmon "Wellington." They sipped martinis and a special wine vintage bottled just for the Emmys.

Guests also had a chance to try on pricey diamonds and make their own chocolate gift bags, and each took home a mini makeup kit for the big day.

For the nominees, it was a rare chance to relax in an otherwise busy week.

"I can't keep everything straight from day to day," said Hamm, up for his first Emmy for "Mad Men." "It's been very busy, but it's been busy for a good cause and an exciting cause."

Kathryn Joosten, who won an Emmy last week for her guest appearance on "Desperate Housewives," said she was all about enjoying the week's festivities.

"I already got my Emmy, so I'm just chilling now," she said. Jon Cryer, who's enjoying his third Emmy nod for "Two and a Half Men," said he's just as happy for his colleagues as he is for himself.

"The excitement for me this year is seeing people like Jon Hamm get nominated," he said. "He and I did a pilot together years ago and it's like, 'Oh my God, he's nominated! This is fantastic!' (The Emmys) are like going to a huge great party with everybody you ever cared about professionally."

Though it's Hamm's first Emmy show, he said he won't make a big deal out of getting ready: "I'm probably going to watch some football, take a shower, put on my suit and go to the thing."

The show airs at 8 p.m EDT on ABC.


A MAJOR MASHUP: Josh Groban has raised us up, and now he's going to mix it up.

Groban spent some time Friday on the Nokia Theatre stage rehearsing a TV show theme-song medley he'll sing live from there for Sunday's show. It includes 25 favorite songs, from the "Golden Girls" theme to the "South Park" song - sung in the cartoon characters' voices.

Wearing black jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, his shaggy hair tucked under a gray cap, Groban ran through his four-minute performance as clips from "The Jeffersons" and "Cops" - played on giant screens behind him.

"Nothing I'm singing I've ever sung before, except for 'South Park' with friends," the 27-year-old said. "There's a lot of stuff that allows me to just be me, then there's a lot of stuff that allows me to let my multiple personalities to go play for a bit."

Emmy telecast producer Ken Ehrlich came up with the medley idea just after the Grammys, which he also produced. Ehrlich, Groban and musical director Greg Phillinganes started with 35 songs, then trimmed the selection down to for the show.

"Josh was the only person in my mind" for the performance, Ehrlich said. "I don't think there's anything he can't do or won't try, and that's the fun part."

The performance also includes dancing girls and a surprise appearance by an iconic TV personality.

"I'm so, so excited, especially on a show like the Emmys, to be able to go out there and just goof off," Groban said. "It's so much fun and I hope the audience has fun, too."


SEAL WILL BE THERE: Heidi Klum isn't nervous about co-hosting the Emmys. Just ask her husband.

"You know Heidi. I don't think she really gets nervous," he said on the red carpet Thursday during a Hollywood event at Paramount Studios honoring film producer Arnon Milchan and celebrating the 60th anniversary of Israel. "She's really excited. She's working hard."

Klum was so busy, she was unable to join Seal at the last minute at the glitzy event. The R&B singer, who attended last year's ceremony alongside Klum, said he would again be in the audience to support his supermodel wife.

However, Jason Alexander, who has been nominated for several Emmys but never won, is planning to steer clear of the show. "Unless they're nominating me just because they like me, I can walk right by it and wave at it and not have to care, although I do have some friends that are nominated that I'll be rooting for at home," Alexander said before the event.


RED CARPET ROLLOUT: The Emmy red carpet doesn't resemble a long, elegant hallway. It's more like a living room.

The awards ceremony is being held at the Nokia Theatre for the first time, and instead of a stretch of red carpet, the entire plaza across from the Staples Center will be a carpeted canvas for celebrity interviews and photos.

Preparations began a week ago, with bleachers and platforms constructed outside the new theater. The parking garage is also part of the show: The roof will serve as a pressroom, while the bottom floor is where winners will claim their Emmy trophies.

The Emmy Awards will air live Sunday on ABC.


AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang contributed to this report. ---

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. ---

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