The Best of

Grammy-Winning (& Nominated) Artists Who Surprised Guests At Private Parties

The 62nd Grammy Awards are fast approaching, and while taking that stage is epic, these iconic Grammy award winners & nominees shine at private events as well. Celebrity entertainment can wow at any type of occasion according to Brad Stouse of EastCoast Entertainment, who has “booked celebrities for nearly every scenario imaginable. From small, intimate backyard birthday parties to huge corporate merger announcements and everything in-between.”  

There are plenty of ways to make an event unforgettable, create meaningful moments, or get your brand out there — but nothing stands out like a memorable celebrity performance. “Hosts are often looking for a way to shift the entertainment paradigm they’ve stuck to for past events….to curate a water cooler moment for attendees who have ‘seen it all.’ Celebrity talent will always serve to create a memorable event that attendees will talk about for years.”

Somebody Like Keith

Keith Urban on stage with people around him.
photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography

It was only fitting that Chicago-based company, Peak6, brought in a country music legend for their Wild West-themed holiday party. Nearly 700 employees had no idea they were about to experience a private, two-hour Keith Urban concert. 15 stunt men were hired to stage a “bar brawl” before the big reveal — only to be broken up by the company’s CEO who then introduced the crowd to their guest star. One lucky attendee even got to join Keith on stage for a song. 

photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography | planner: Paulette Wolf Events | production: KISHBAUGH + PARTNERS | décor: Kehoe Designs | venue: The Geraghty | caterer: Paramount Events | videographer: Indirap Productions 

We “Still Get Jealous” of This Bat Mitzvah Girl 

photographer: LuvRox Photography

Talk about a “pinch me” moment. This celebration’s guest of honor, Sophia, was shocked to see the one and only, Nick Jonas, take over her own Bat Mitzvah party.  He performed his four hit solo songs including “Levels,” “Chains,” and “Jealous” — and even brought out a guitar to treat guests to a slower ballad. The best part? He wasn’t the only celebrity there… 

photographer: LuvRox Photography | planner: Sara Renee Events | décor: Always Flowers & Events | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | entertainment: Rock With U | invitations: Papery & Cakery | videography: Ruben Senderey

A Wedding Filled With Love & Glee

a couple sings onstage with vigor.
photographer: katie edwards photography

Former Glee star, Darren Criss, and his now-wife, Mia Sweier, pulled off the ultimate surprise at their New Orleans wedding. The musical duo took the reception stage to perform a “first song” together in lieu of a traditional first dance — and we’re all for it. Not only did they wow with their Ballroom Blitz rendition, but Criss even performed the couple’s own ceremony music as his bride walked down the aisle. What’s not a surprise is that their celebration made our Favorite Celebrity Weddings of 2019.

photographer: katie edwards photography | planner: Kristin Banta Events | venue: New Orleans Museum of Art | rentals: Archive Rentals

What do Christina Aguilera and DJ Khaled have in Common?

Christina Aguilera sings on stage with her arms outreached
photo courtesy of Colin Cowie Lifestyle

The answer is this Malibu wedding. The bride and groom hosted a star-studded guest list including P. Diddy, Ryan Seacrest, and more to an ocean-front ceremony, seated dinner, and lavish after-party at their stunning estate. As if the poolside reception lined with 1,000 glowing candles, the dreamiest décor, and a Wolfgang Puck catered meal wasn’t enough, the A-list group was treated to a surprise performance by Christina Aguilera post-dinner. But wait, there’s more. A jungle-inspired nightclub with beats from songwriter and producer, DJ Khaled, served as the ultimate wedding after-party to top off the night (read more about hosting your own perfect after-party here).

photo courtesy of Colin Cowie Lifestyle | planner & design: Colin Cowie Lifestyle | catering: Wolfgang Puck Catering – Los Angeles

Maroon 005 Played This James Bond Party

maroon 005 is on stage with purple lighting.
photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography

With champagne chandeliers, drones, casino tables, and more, this corporate event would make James Bond proud. The party’s crowd of 600 enjoyed on-theme photo ops, acrobats, and curated cocktails, before unexpectedly finding themselves in front of Maroon 5 — and the band’s famous lead singer, Adam Leivine. After dancing to Moves Like Jagger, we speculate that Sunday Morning was a rough one for these enthused guests. 

photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography | planner: Paulette Wolf Events | décor: Kehoe Designs | venue: Redmoon Theater | entertainment: Creative Artist Agency | Technical Production:  KISHBAUGH + PARTNERS | sound: Sound Investment AV | caterer: J&L Catering | transportation: V.I.P. Valet Service Inc. | security: Global Security

Here Comes “Another One”

DJ Khaled and a bride walk down a red carpet with people around them
photographer: LuvRox Photography

Remember the Bat Mitzvah Nick Jonas attended? Well, guest of honor Sophia is luckier than you may have thought. The celebration’s red carpet was rolled out for DJ Khalid — and her girl squad, who enjoyed a pre-party performance from the music mogul. The producer turned social media star fittingly posed for pictures in front of a marquee sign entrance that honored the Bat Mitzvah girl, before taking the stage. 

photographer: LuvRox Photography | planner: Sara Renee Events | décor: Always Flowers & Events | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | entertainment: Rock With U | invitations: Papery & Cakery | videography: Ruben Senderey

Just Imagine (Dragons)

Imagine Dragons are on stage with white lighting around them
photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography

Nascar and alternative rock go together like companies and holiday parties — which is why this corporate celebration left guests swooning. The racing-themed event featured branded elements including classic checkered flags, oversized car tires, and race track-inspired activities. The most memorable part? Quinn XCII and Imagine Dragons put on remarkable performances for the hundreds of employees in attendance. 

photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography | planner: Paulette Wolf Events | venue: WCF Events

When Off-WHITE met BLUEface

a tapper and the bar mitzvah boy are on stage with the audience at their feet. Red lights are around them.
photographer: LuvRox Photography

The brand Off White has taken pop culture by storm, with founder Virgil Abloh becoming one of the hottest designers in the fashion industry — he even designed Hailey Bieber’s wedding dress. So it comes as no surprise that we’re seeing more and more “Off White” inspired Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. With on-theme décor, signage, catering, and party favors, the only thing that could have made this party any trendier was a celebrity appearance: enter, Blueface. The American rapper joined the Bar Mitzvah boy on stage for a surprise performance, and it’s safe to say every party goer was thrilled to see his face. 

photographer: LuvRox Photography | planner: Carrie Zack Events | décor: Bambini Soiree | venue: Miami Beach Edition | entertainment: Rock With U

How MillerCoors “Let Love Rule”

a singer on stage points to the sky while holding his guitar.
photographer: Eric Guideng

When MillerCoors hosts its Distributor Conference in Las Vegas, you know it’s going to be epic. But what attendees may not have known was that the company planned an incredible concert to round out the weekend. A custom deck and stage were built over Caesar Palace’s most expansive outdoor pool, with mood-setting lighting, strobe lights, and branded signage. The man who took the stage was none other than rock icon Lenny Kravitz — if the Coors didn’t have guests buzzing, he certainly did.

photographer: Eric Guideng | planner: Gravel Experiential | venue: Caesars Palace | lighting: 4wall Lighting | sound: Sound Image | rentals: CORT

Tik Tok — Ke$ha’s On The Clock

Ke$ha performs with pink projection mapping
photo courtesy of THE TEMPLE HOUSE

This invite-only event is what pop star dreams are made of. Hilton and Live Nation came together to create the perfect party experience for their valued guests. A rainbow entrance led way to a completely Ke$ha-ed out event… The “Party Don’t Start Til I Walk In” photo wall is where you would find us. 3D projection mapping allowed the stage’s backdrop to change with the tempo of her tunes as she performed hits that ranged from 2010 to 2017. 

photo courtesy of THE TEMPLE HOUSE | production: Live Nation Special Events | venue: THE TEMPLE HOUSE | projection mapping: United Projection

Flo Rida Takes Florida

Flo Rida crosses his arms and poses for a photo with the crowd.
photographer: Jonathan Connolly Photography

We can’t tell who had more fun, private concert attendees or Flo Rida himself — and the best part is guests had no clue he was coming. The Palm Beach after-party started with snacks, drinks, and decadent desserts — we’re talking handmade milkshakes adorned with king candy bars, and warm cookies paired with shots of milk. Yum. Guests indulged and mingled before being “interrupted” by the famous hip-hop artist for an hour-and-a-half performance. 

photographer: Jonathan Connolly Photography | planner: YSD Events | décor: The Special Event Resource and Design Group | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | entertainment: AEG Live | lighting: JM Event Group | photo booth: The South Beach Photo Booth Co.

The Best Place to Rock and Roll 

a band is on stage performing for a wild crowd.
photo courtesy of EastCoast Entertainment

Talk about an on-brand experience, this multi-day corporate conference took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. On day 2, attendees enjoyed live music, before the band paused to announce a surprise guest — rock star Mark McGrath. The lead singer of Sugar Ray had guests roaring as he sang hits such as “Fly” and “Someday.”

photo courtesy of EastCoast Entertainment | planner: Amazae Events | venue: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | entertainment: EastCoast Entertainment

That’s a Rap

a man is on stage pointing to the crowd with projection mapping in the background.
photo courtesy of Ziegfeld Ballroom

Warner Brothers Music Group took their employees back in time with an 80s-themed corporate holiday party. From the neon palette to the arcade games, retro televisions, and colorful tunnels, we think they did a rad job. However, the highlight of the night had nothing to do with the theme — except maybe his outfit. That’s right, Trey Songz stole the stage with a whirlwind performance that had every guest on their feet. 

photo courtesy of Ziegfeld Ballroom | planner & production: Chlo Events & Production | entertainment: Total Entertainment | rentals: Bubble NYC Event Rental Furnishings, Taylor Creative Inc. | a/v: Innovative Stage Productions