By Zachary Swickey
Over the weekend, former NBC/Universal honcho Jeff Zucker dished out $250,000 to have Drake perform at his son’s bar mitzvah. Sounds like a lot of cash, but it’s a deal compared to the $1,000,000 Kanye West was reportedly asking for a performance. Sometimes controversial, private performances have long been the industry’s dirty little secret: the performer gets paid a ton of cash, and, usually, no one ever knows about it. And, if you ever caught an episode of “My Super Sweet 16,” then you know just how lavish some of these parties can be (read: great buffets). So, if you’re looking to book some top-notch talent for your next shindig, here’s a quick run down of how much it’ll cost you. Hopefully, you’ve got a rich Aunt or something.
What better time to have your favorite pop star serenade you than New Year’s Eve? Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska paid a cool half million for Rihanna to do just that for him and some buddies. You’ll soon notice Russian billionaires seem to be the main customers for the private concert business.
Miley Cyrus: $1,000,000
In 2008 a high-powered attorney from Texas hired Miley Cyrus to perform a private concert for the Lanier Law Firm’s “Christmas Cheers and Charity” holiday party. The $1,000,000 bash went down on a ranch in Houston and included a barbeque for 7,000 guests. Hope they got to bring their kids.
Leona Lewis: $1,500,000
For his daughter Libby’s 21st birthday party, John Caudwell didn’t want to throw some ordinary bash. So for only $1.5 million, he requested Leona Lewis to perform for Libby and her 200 close friends. Lewis was on vacation at the time, but made herself available … even letting the birthday girl duet with her on “Bleeding Love.”
Jennifer Lopez : $2,000,000
Russian billionaire Andrei Melnichenko is notorious for throwing insane parties. In keeping this tradition he hired Jennifer Lopez to fly out and perform a 40-minute private concert in front of only 60 guests. The $1.2 million fee also included $800,000 Melnichenko paid to cover travel expenses for J.Lo, her hubby Marc Anthony, and their entourage. Still paltry compared to the $4 million he paid Christian Aguilera to perform at his wedding.
As previously mentioned, these lavish parties can often cause all sorts of controversy for various reasons. Sting got his fair share of unwanted attention when he performed a private gig for the daughter of Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov, who, according to various human rights organizations, is a big proponent of torture, media censorship and rigging elections. I suppose it’s easier to overlook when you’re paid upwards of $3M.
George Michael: $3,500,000
If you thought the person you can thank for Limp Bizkit was hurting for some income, you thought very wrong. Yet another Russian billionaire, Vladmir Potanin, hired the star to perform a private 75-minute set for 300 guests at his annual New Year’s Eve party. Getting paid $45,000+ a minute doesn’t sound like a bad gig.