Detractors may slug New Year’s Eve as “amateur night”, but for celebs and the pop culture industry, it’s a professional night on the clock.
While Jay-Z, Kanye West and Coldplay headlined the opening of the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas a year ago, one of the big draws this year is Kim Kardashian at TAO inside the Venetian.
TAO is paying the reality mogul $600,000 for a series of appearances beginning on New Year’s Eve, according to multiple reports.
This year, Kardashian filmed several scenes for her E! reality show inside the club.“
Having a good time on New Year’s Eve doesn’t come cheap — for the bookers.
The average New Year’s Eve fee for relevant talent is $100,000,” Jack Colton, a Las Vegas nightlife expert and creator of the popular nightlife website JackColton.com, told TheWrap. “An A-List celebrity moves up to $250,000, and for a major grab can go as high as $1 million. Your Lady Gaga‘s and Jay-Zs would be considered major grabs,” Colton said.
“It’s a talent arms race, especially in bigger cities,” added publicist Melissa Berger, whose clients include frequently booked “Dancing Wth the Stars” coach Karina Smirnoff.
“It’s like ‘Who are you’ if you don’t have someone like Deadmau5 on New Year’s Eve,” adds talent manager Mike Petolino.
Of course, it’s not always about money. For some talent, like Kardashian, it’s a question of performing in their favorite place. Breakout DJ and producer Kaskade told TheWrap at November’s “Twilight” premiere that his favorite U.S. venue is Marquee (inside Las Vegas’ Cosmopolitan). On Saturday night, he’ll be commanding $250 a ticket for his performance there.
For other celebs, a highly promoted appearance is a professional calling card to corporate America. “When you go to Vegas, you want to be on the same radar as venues that have Jay-Z hosting the weekend after you,” says Berger. “It sets a dynamic, and could even show brands and businesses that the talent is a good fit to be a part of their company.”
Then there’s the plain old visibility factor. Black Eyed Peas front woman Fergie, to quote one of her own songs, “just can’t get enough.” After a 2011 that included monster promotional appearances on the Super Bowl halftime show, “American Idol” and countless award shows, Fergie takes on one last gig as she opens the Las Vegas outpost of 1 OAK at the Mirage. In a two-for-one booking, husband Josh Duhamel is expected by her side.
Across the strip, Axl Rose and the latest incarnation of Guns ‘N Roses will play the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
And coasting on his “Dancing With the Stars” fame, brother Rob Kardashian hosts at Tryst inside the Wynn, with ticket prices starting $175 lower than his sister’s $225 opening price at TAO.
Even those who cover celebrity news are cashing in. “Extra” host Mario Lopez plays hooky from L.A. outdoor mall “The Grove” (where he tapes “Extra”) to headline “Big Bang NYE” at another outdoor mall complex, Hollywood and Highland.
Tom Cruise’s son Connor, who’s recently started accepting publicity heavy red carpet gigs as “DJ C-Squared,” is a late addition to the performing talent at that L.A. bash.
As for the party patrons who shell out for the experience, it comes down the Facebook effect — sharing the experience in real-time or the day after online, a promotional windfall for all involved. “Even a picture from a distance or to hear a celeb you see in magazines speaking on the microphone, you can say ‘I was there!'” says Berger.