Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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Stars of all wattage levels converge at Hot Hollywood bash

Photo by Kevork Djansezian, AP

Chris Brown put aside his text-messaging long enough to dance to the Beastie Boys classic Brass Monkey.

By Sharon Knolle, Special for USA TODAY
Where else could you find both smoking hot Kanye West and ice-cold Pauly Shore? Or red-carpet staple Bai Ling dancing with online gossipmonger Perez Hilton (both of them sporting pink hair)? Only at Us Weekly's party Wednesday night to celebrate its Hot Hollywood List, which includes the Heroes cast and Mary J. Blige.

The party, which was so eagerly attended that someone fainted on the red carpet outside, was held at new Hollywood hot spot Opera.

Former boy-bander JC Chasez, said, "It's a great spot. One of my buddies runs it and we always have a good time."

Zac Levi of the new NBC show Chuck, said the new club is "getting back to what Hollywood used to be. Great music, beautiful people."

West and Blige both put in brief appearances, but neither stayed more than an hour. West refused to answer questions about his wedding plans, other than to admit he is making some, but he did say that he's going to tour in November with Common, kicking things off in London.

Chris Brown, who hung in the corner with Kanye's crew, was among the last stars to leave the party, having grooved all night to old-school hits like Brass Monkey by The Beastie Boys -- for that one, he stopped texting and jumped up to dance.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and girlfriends sat on one end of the couch overlooking the main dance floor, while Jamie Lynn Spears and her friends briefly sat on the other. Spears refused to answer any questions, about big sis Britney or otherwise.

Heroes' Adrian Pasdar said that with the "special recount" -- NBC's creative ratings strategy in counting two Heroes airings as one showing -- "it looks like 18 million people" tuned into the premiere. "It's always good when people watch your show," he grinned. All he could reveal about upcoming plotlines is that Nathan will shave his Grizzly Adams-type beard next week. "I have a scene with my children, and I ask them if they like the beard and they both say, unequivocally, 'No.' But there's a reason I have the beard," hinting it had something to do with Nathan's briefly glimpsed scarred reflection.

"It's good to be the king," crowed Greg Grunberg of the Heroes cast's Hot status. "The hottest person in Hollywood, that's what it feels like. For us to be here, it's huge. It means that people watch the show, and that's great."

Pasdar and Grunberg told how they were "mobbed" during their recent world promotional tour. "They had this little mall thing and 500 people were supposed to come," Grunberg said. "Ten thousand people showed up! And kids were getting trampled. I was literally yelling for people to stop, it was crazy."

"It's not just a show that's premiering in America anymore, it's international," said Pasdar. "It's the sense of hope and optimism that's bringing people in and keeping them."

Grunberg had a different theory about why people are tuning in: "Hayden's hot!"

They both pooh-poohed the rumors about a romance between 18-year-old Hayden Panetierre and 30-year-old Milo Ventimiglia. "They're friends. We were in Europe together and I'm kind of a surrogate dad to her and anything inappropriate would not have happened on my watch," said Pasdar. He added that if it had, "I would have had to sit them both down and talk to them."

David Anders, who plays the legendary (if surprisingly non-heroic) samurai Takezo Kensei, sports a British accent on the show, as he did on Alias. "My storyline with Masi Oka is kind of the comic relief in the premiere," he said, adding, "It's fun."

Learning Japanese for the role is "difficult," he admits. "When I do a take, I ask, 'Did I get it?' I have a great Japanese coach but then there's Masi telling me a different way! It gets a little confusing." He confirmed he's a regular this season.

Shalim Ortiz plays the new character, Alejandro, who's on the run with his twin sister. The actor has been sworn to secrecy about upcoming plotlines, but assures that Alejandro does have a power and we will find out "very soon" what that is, promising that "our twin connectivity does play a part."

Photo by Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Chuck's Zac Levi longed for a chance to meet fellow NBC Monday night star Ali Larter.

Chuck's Levi was "honored and very excited," to make Us Weekly's list. "Everything that's happened so far has been a surprise and I hope the snowball effect keeps coming. We're just going to keep hammering away and hope the viewership keeps growing. The response has been very positive and the preview we showed at the end of the premiere will bring in a lot of new viewers, I think." Levi, who gives his status as "single," was hoping to meet Heroes' Ali Larter.

The Hills star Lauren Conrad was "psyched" about being included on the list. "It's always cool to get an award for anything." Although she said her clothing line is doing, "really well," she showed up in a dress by Jenny Packham. Besides Opera and Les Deux, she said she and her Hills pal Audrina are "getting more into dive bars now. Random places, just because they're fun to go to. We like to take a break from the scene. We'll go to sports bars. They're more, like, 'guy guys' there. I'm looking but I'm dating."

She said she'd rather meet a "regular guy in a sports bar" than some of the same old Hollywood scenesters, with the added bonus that most "regular guys in sports bars" won't have ever seen The Hills.

She shrugged off the ongoing feud with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, who were also at the event, saying, "We just don't talk. I don't talk about her. People make more of it than it is."

House's Jennifer Morrison, newly having returned to her natural blond, wasn't mourning the end of her engagement to co-star Jesse Spencer. Although she wouldn't comment on how that has affected filming, she did give us some tidbits about the new season. "Next week, you'll see me blond. What we've been talking about is that (my character) is naturally blond, like I am, and she's been dyeing her hair to be taken more seriously. And now she's at this place in her life where she's like, 'I've proven myself, screw it!'"

As for the new characters, she said, "They're fantastic! It's sort of sad that they can't all stay because we have to fire so many of them. I don't even know who's staying and who's going!"

Her strapless dress by Marchesa gave her some trouble when she went to bust a move on the dance floor, but when Are You Gonna Be My Girl? by Jet came on, she didn't seem to care.

Amanda Bynes, in a sophisticated dress by Herve Leger, assured reporters that she really is 21, having celebrated the milestone back in April, but that she's "not a big clubber." The Sydney White star said she was "very honored" to be named as Hollywood's Hot "Good Girl," and is scheming how to get back on it again for next year! "I was very excited and I'll try to continue being 'good,' but I don't know!"

Chasez, who "mutually parted ways" with Jive Records, is still looking for a record label. "It's show business, but right now it's business, show," he lamented of having to spend more time on the business side of things. "I have some material that I want to get out and it's about timing and all that other stuff, but I have a great record coming out."

He said he was approached about appearing on Dancing With the Stars, but that it was Joey Fatone's "moment to shine. Next year I'll release a new album and then it'll be my moment to shine," he promised.

Possibly the last star to leave was Shore, who had earlier been rebuffed by Brown's bodyguard when he attempted to say hello. He was still considered hot (if not Us Weekly hot) by an eager fan who asked for him to pose for a photo with her.

Posted September 27, 2007