Elton John hosts annual Oscar viewing party, gives intimate performance

By Wade Sheridan  |  Feb. 29, 2016 at 11:31 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Elton John hosted his 24th annual Oscars viewing party Sunday, which helped raise $6.2 million for his AIDS foundation.

The event featured some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry including Mariah Carey, Caitlyn Jenner, Sheryl Crowe, Steven Tyler, Hillary Swank, Lana Del Rey, Kelly Osbourne and Dave Grohl.

Taking place inside the Dolby Theatre in West Hollywood, guests who purchased a ticket helped donate to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and were treated to a five-course dinner designed by noted chef Gordon Ramsey, along with a gift bag containing a signed Elton John CD.

"By supporting our work, you are standing up against the issues that drive the AIDS epidemic. You are speaking out against racism, helping to end poverty and homelessness, and rejecting homophobia," John said in a statement. "By being here tonight, you are saying no to stigma, no to the status quo, and yes to a more just and equal society and the end of AIDS."

The legendary singer documented the star-studded evening on social media posting pictures of himself posing with various guests and commenting on their dazzling attire.

"Mariah looking glam-fabulous. She's wearing more carats than I am!," John wrote on Instagram, referring to her 35-carat engagement ring she recently received from her boyfriend, Australian billionaire James Packer.

Charlie Sheen also stopped by showing his support for the charity after confirming he was HIV-positive in November. "Glad to see Charlie Sheen at the party. In great form and in great spirits," the singer wrote in a photo alongside the actor and David Furnish.

As the Academy Awards ceremony came to a close, John performed an intimate concert for his guests featuring a number of his hits songs. On Saturday, leading up to the event, John held a surprise free concert in West Hollywood near the area where he first got his big break in the United States.

John performed for a crowd of thousands singing hits such as "Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with special guest star Lady Gaga.

For 24 years, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised over $300 million for research and treatment.

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