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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

New Year's Eve Special

Aired December 31, 2004 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: And welcome. I am Anderson Cooper live from New York's Times Square where the party is underway. We are going to give you, in the next hour and a half, a front row seat to the hottest parties here in New York and coast to coast and around the world. New Year's Eve starts right now.
Countdown to 2005. The world's biggest celebration right here in New York's Times Square. Tonight, musical performance by Celine Dion, the Roots, country musician Jerry Jeff Walker and the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir.

Also joining us, Green Day and the man of the hour, Colin Powell, here to help drop the ball. And no balls dropping in Key West. We'll go live to the world famous drag queen drop. We'll also show you New Year's parties around the world. All the excitement right here on CNN as we take you to every corner of the planet, the countdown to 2005.

ANNOUNCER: This is New Year's Live with Anderson Cooper. Around the country, around the world. Live from Times Square, Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And here we are. Times Square in New York on New Year's Eve. It is certainly the place to be. Welcome to the last hour of 2004, at least where I'm standing, smack in the biggest party in the world. The center of Times Square in New York. It's the 100th anniversary of this celebration. You can't find a better party than what we're going to bring you tonight. Front row tickets to some of the hottest concerts toasting the New Year, happening live across the country.

We've got Celine Dion, live right now at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. That's her performing. We're going to have a live song for her. We'll talk to her in just a bit. She'll perform a hit song from her new album. We've also got the Grammy-nominated hip hop band, the Roots. They'll perform for us from the Electric Factory in Philly. That's them right now.

And at Gilley's in Dallas, no one better, Jerry Jeff Walker, the country rocker lights up the stage in the Lone Star State. I hear there is even going to be a mechanical bull involved and that could get ugly.

At Club NA here in New York, DJ Mateo. He will be joined by special guest Flava Flav. Or is it "Flahva Flav"? I think it's Flava Flav. We're also alive with the spirit from the Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta. We'll hear the Ebenezer Baptist Choir. Taking you around the country, live events as they are happening. You'd have to pay more than a grand for you and a friend to go to all these events. You can trust us, we did the math. We'll spare you the dime.

We've also got an appearance by Green Day, the Naked Cowboy - that naked guy who seems to live in Times Square running around - he plays guitar, I don't think he really plays all that much. But I don't know, he's kind of naked. And so much more as we get all the angles of this global celebration and of course we'll show you the big ball drop at the strike of midnight.

Now you may not know that the ball wasn't even part of the celebrations when Times Square first hosted the New Year's toast, as I said, 100 years ago on this very night. Tonight it is dazzling bright. The ball with 696 multi-colored light bulbs. 504 Waterford Crystal triangles and 90 rotating mirrors.

Down below a massive crowd waits to watch it drop. Hundreds of thousands and that's where we find our own Jason Carroll. Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And hello to you Anderson. I know you were talking about 100 year anniversary. This is a birthday party as well as a celebration. And these are all the partygoers who come out to celebrate. They come from all over - hello - They come from all over the - all over the world, in fact. But I almost have to begin with Southern California, where I am from. And these are some of these girls here from Southern California.

Tell me, how's it going here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going great. It's so awesome.

CARROLL: You've been out here since early this afternoon. What's the party been like so far?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so great.

CARROLL: New Year's resolutions. Quickly. What about New Year's resolutions?

(AUDIO GAP) ... you go back next year. What's the party been like so far this year? What's been the highlight so far?

(AUDIO GAP)

CARROLL: Yeah, I've seen you guys dancing around like (AUDIO GAP). So that's what it's been about down here, Anderson, dancing, partying, whether you're from Southern California, France, doesn't matter. That's what it's going to be like to OC. That's what it's going to be like down here all night long. We'll be bringing it to you. We'll see you soon.

COOPER: Yeah, you got to watch that pom-pom, Jason. Some of them getting in your way here. We have just been joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell, a native New Yorker. This is your first time, though, Times Square New Year's Eve.

COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is my first time. I was born and raised in New York City but we usually watched it at home on television.

COOPER: That's the sign of a true New Yorker.

POWELL: Right. It was a family gathering, everybody celebrating. But to be here in this exciting place and to have the opportunity to push the button for Mayor Bloomberg on the 100th anniversary of this event, I'm delighted to be here.

COOPER: Yes. You know there are lot of people here - I've got to ask you, it's a traditional question. Have you made a New Year's resolution?

POWELL: My New Year's resolution is to hope for peace. We work hard for that everyday. We saw some peace process move forward today in the Sudan. We hope that there will be successful elections in Iraq. We hope that the Palestinians will have a successful election on the 9th of January, which will allow them to begin working with the Israelis toward the creation of a Palestinian state. So my hope as a diplomat and also as a soldier is for peace.

COOPER: And I know as a citizen of the world your thoughts are definitely in South Asia tonight. I am going there tomorrow. I know you are going there on Sunday.

POWELL: I will be leaving for there on Sunday with Governor Jeb Bush. It's a terrible tragedy. I have been in senior levels of government for 20 years and never faced one this massive.

COOPER: Why? Because of the widespread nature of it?

POWELL: More people dead, the widespread nature of it, the 120,000 who are dead, millions who are without shelter and economies that have to be restored, villages that have to be rebuilt and the number of countries involved. Some 10 countries were affected by this single event, so it's a big one. I'm looking forward to visiting with the nation's next week, with Governor Jeb Bush of Florida. He has a great deal of experience in responding to this type of crisis, and as you know, early in the day the president raised our commitment to the set (ph) to $350 million.

COOPER: Let me ask you about that. Because initially the commitment was $15 million. That was the first day. The U.S. came under some criticism for not giving enough soon enough. Some people even said that we lost an opportunity to create some goodwill in the Muslim world.

POWELL: This is not the case. I've been in touch with every government. The president has spoken with every head of government and state. They are very pleased at what the United States is doing. In a period of six days, last Sunday this began, our ambassadors started giving out money right away. They have authority to give out about a few hundred thousand dollars. By Monday we had $4 million responding to a Red Cross appeal for $7 million. By Tuesday it was up to $15. By Wednesday we moved it to $35. Then we took two days to make an assessment, and today, Friday, it's up to $350 million. I think that's pretty good over a six day period and it shows the compassion of the American people, the compassion of the government and the commitment of the government to do everything we can under President Bush's leadership to help these people in need.

And the people who are the recipients of this aid are very delighted that American ships are coming, American helicopters are coming, our aid is arriving and our relief teams are on the scene.

COOPER: Well, the compassion of the American people is always extraordinary. This week we have seen such an outpouring of our viewers just wanting to help in any way they can.

POWELL: That's right. The most exciting thing is not only the government money but the private money as you mentioned (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We're generous. That's the kind of people we are. Companies are giving money, individuals are giving money and I hope you will encourage your viewers to give money. If you want to know where to go to give money, lots of sites out there, but if you go to state.gov, my Web site, you will be hyperlinked into a lot of organizations that can use the money.

COOPER: All right. Secretary Powell.

POWELL: Happy New Year. Happy New Year.

COOPER: You too. Thanks very much. Thanks to Colin Powell. From Times Square we go to Key West, Florida, where tradition calls for sushi to ring in the New Year. Have you ever been to Key West for New Year's?

POWELL: Sorry?

COOPER: Have you ever been to Key West for New Year's?

POWELL: I'm right here. I'm off to ...

COOPER: Maybe next year. No one admits they've been to Key West for New Year's, because they've got the celebration there where there is a guy and his name is "Sushi" and he's in a giant pump and - well, you know, it's kind of hard to explain. Luckily, CNN's John Zarrella is down there. John, what is going on in Key West right now?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ah, Anderson, all you have up there is what, a ball? And here we are in Key West. We've got a pirate wrench coming down in a schooner. We've got the Conch Republic shell coming down from Sloppy's Joe and we've got Sushi right up there. A drag queen who we made famous a year ago, who will, at midnight be descending in that shoe down to the floor and out into this crowd. We have thousands of people here and what would our celebration be without as we had last year - Kylie (ph), how are you. Lovely. We have Kylie. You look lovely this year, Kylie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's good to see you again. ZARRELLA: It's very good to see you. And a special guest, Anderson, Marilyn Monroe stopped by to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Marilyn, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Anderson, how are you Honey?

ZARRELLA: Anderson, I think she's taken a shine to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know what, I used to know a John a long time ago.

ZARRELLA: What's that, Anderson?

COOPER: I think this is the part of the evening where your wife sitting at home starts to get a little nervous.

ZARRELLA: No, no, no, my wife sitting in the audience about five feet from me after last year ...

(CROSSTALK)

ZARRELLA: You've got to shave a little closer next year, Kylie.

Anderson, I am going to throw it upstairs to Sushi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.

COOPER: Now, Sushi, I don't know if you can hear me, last year things got a little awkward. You are sitting in a giant woman's pump and as it was descending there was some kind of mechanical problem. What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was, Anderson, it's just, you know, it's a little rocky up here, honey. We had problems getting it up this time. But we did get rid of the awning.

COOPER: I hope this year you're not going to have problems. We were concerned because last we saw, we're showing the video now, you were crawling literally on all fours on the roof of this bar. We were afraid we were going to actually see a drag queen drop. We didn't want to see that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I've been doing that for nine years, darling. It's all an act. I love crawling on that awning, honey. Only in America. I do want to say, Anderson, you are the sexiest man on TV, honey. I saw your coverage of the tsunami and you did a fabulous job.

COOPER: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much. I work in basic cable so there's not a lot of competition in the looks department. I'll take your compliment for what it's worth. We're going to check back in with you a little bit later in the evening.

As you can see, the party there in Key West, Florida, a pretty unique party. Another party happening now in Dallas, Texas, where country rocker Jerry Jeff Walker, the man who wrote the song "Mr. Bojangles" and countless other amazing tunes, headlines tonight's concert where else, in Gilley's in Dallas. Jerry Jeff starts the show in about a half hour. He's going to perform for us but right now he joins us live.

What have you got there? What are you leaning on, Jerry Jeff?

JERRY JEFF WALKER, MUSICIAN: I am leaning on this mechanical bull.

COOPER: Have you ever ridden ...

WALKER: Have I ridden it? No.

COOPER: How's the party -- and that's probably why. How's the party going there at Gilley's?

WALKER: Well, everybody is getting amped up. We go on in about 20 minutes. Everybody is looking festive and we are all just ready.

COOPER: You are actually a native New Yorker. You're from Upstate New York but really Texas is now your home. Has been for a long time. How does the Times Square celebration compare with how they do it down there in Texas?

WALKER: Well, we don't get 700,000 people in one place to watch a ball, but we get out and who whoop and we sing and we just celebrate being Texas. And yeah, I will say hello to my mom and dad in Upstate New York. Hey Mel, hi Elma, how you doing? You can go to bed now.

COOPER: Well, they're not going to bed because they're going to see you perform. We're going to check with you when your concert begins. Jerry Jeff Walker. We'll be back with you shortly. Thanks Jerry Jeff.

Live at Times Square, we are taking you coast to coast, the hottest New Year's Eve parties in the nation. Celine Dion is in Las Vegas. You are going to have a front row seat at Caesar's Palace. She is performing live right now. She is going to sing us a song very shortly. Plus, the Roots live at the Electric Factory in Philly. With a very special guest taking you onstage for that. First, though, our 360 Trivia Challenge winners. I don't know if you were following this this year. They scored the best in the country. We flew them into New York to let them battle it out for the grand prize of a giant flat screen TV. It was Philip Nash (ph) from Houston, Texas, Douglas Howdon (ph) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Patty Flynn (ph) from Friendship, Texas. They went head to head for the big prize.

Let's watch round one right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: OK, first question, worth 10 points. Who is Britney Spears currently married to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kevin Federline.

COOPER: Patty? Good. Excellent. Because there was sort of multiple choices there.

Question number two. Worth 10 points again. Marek Delka became the prime minister of what country in 2004.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Czech Republic.

COOPER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Poland.

COOPER: You're right. Phil. You got that one right. All right.

Last one in the round. The ban on what expired in the United States at 12:01 a.m. on September 13th, 2 ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Assault weapons.

COOPER: Patty, there you go. Assault weapons. So at the end of the round, Doug, you have 0, Phil, you have 10, and Patty you are in the lead with 20.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CELINE DION, ENTERTAINER: Well, I'm going to turn around and say how's the party in Las Vegas? How's the party? And what I want you to do ...

COOPER: That was Celine Dion a little bit and we're going to join her shortly. We are live in New York City, Times Square and there is really no better place to be. I hope you stay with us already through until well after midnight tonight. If you look at the crowd there are just hundreds of thousands of people here, all looking to party, all having a great time. The weather is warm. There had been some threat of rain but it is not raining at all. There doesn't seem to be a cloud in the sky and the crowd is just waiting for that ball to drop.

Hey how -- And we're joined now by New York's mayor. Michael Bloomberg is making his way over. Mr. Bloomberg, thank you for being with us again.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: How are you?

COOPER: Good to see you. It's become our annual tradition.

BLOOMBERG: It has been and I just hope you can do it for another five years.

COOPER: Let's hope. Let's hope. Last year you told us that your resolution was to work harder and to watch your waistline. I hate to remind you of that but I don't want to -- How'd you do?

BLOOMBERG: Waistline's been OK. Working harder, we can always work harder.

COOPER: How has this year been for New York City? I heard a survey that this is -- for the first time since 9-11, the number one tourist destination for New Year's Eve.

BLOOMBERG: New York City has actually done very well. Tourists are coming. Our hotels are full. The restaurants are doing well. Jobs are coming back. But there's always more to do and you have to build for the future and an event like tonight really gives the world a chance to see New York, to see people work together, play together, shop together, go to school together and they understand they can come here, it's safe, it's easy, it's affordable. And that's good (UNINTELLIGIBLE) businesses (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: Is being the mayor of New York different -- I mean, how is it different from you thought it was going to be?

BLOOMBERG: You know, I've never really though about it. When I look up at the big buildings, I look at the people in the streets, it's always been the most wonderful city and I think what would have happen had my grandparents or great grandparents not chosen to come to America. I never would have had the opportunities and my kids wouldn't have had the future that they have.

COOPER: What are you going to do for the rest of the night? Where does Mayor Bloomberg go after you're in Times Square? Do you go home?

BLOOMBERG: Well I always stop with one of my deputy mayor's and her family and we always have a drink at the same bar, a few -- a little food as well because I haven't had much of a chance to eat tonight. And then tomorrow morning I come to Times Square to thank the Sanitation Department for cleaning up, then I go to the hospital for the first baby and congratulate the mothers and fathers and you know, it's another business day.

COOPER: What's your resolution for the next year? Maybe reelection?

BLOOMBERG: Well, reelection will take care of itself if I work hard and do a good job. Then it's up to the public but I'm just going to keep doing it.

COOPER: Have a great night.

BLOOMBERG: Happy New Year.

COOPER: You too. OK. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York going to be facing a reelection this year. We, in about 40 seconds or so we're going to go to Las Vegas, Nevada, where Grammy Award-winning singer Celine Dion is performing at Caesar's Palace. It's sold out, and this year at New Year's Eve for a show, a new day. Celine, how's the party there in Vegas?

DION: Hi Anderson. How's everybody doing? Well, how's the party in Las Vegas? How's the party doing? How we doing? (CHEERING)

DION: I have to say we are very, very happy to be all with you tonight and to do this next song, and I would like to say to everyone if I may that our hearts are with all the people that are suffering in South Asia and we wish for 2005 better days for everyone and peace around the world.

(MUSIC)

DION: Happy New Year New York. Happy New Year everybody.

COOPER: Happy New Year to Celine Dion as well. Making a big difference in a lot of people's live this year. And we are bringing you the best parties in the nation live from New York's Times Square. The countdown, 35 minutes left but the party is just getting started. We're going to get down and dirty with Jerry Jeff Walker out in Gilley's in Dallas. He is going to be performing live as well. Also, tonight, we've got a lot of places -- That's what's going on in Gilley's, someone's about to ride the bull.

Also tonight the Roots live in the Electric Factory in Philly. That's what happening right now. We have front row tickets and a backstage pass. You'd be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to go anywhere else. Stay with us. Live performances ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in New York's Times Square ringing in the New Year. They are having a massive sing-along. More than 500,000, maybe as many as 700, 750,000 people expected, all singing along to the old Beach Boys songs.

We're taking you coast to coast tonight. Live performance around the country. You have the Roots live in Philly at Electric Factory.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And, nobody better than this, the Ebenezer Baptist Choir live in Atlanta Georgia.

Sermon going on. Soon the singing will begin. We'll take you there live. First, Times Square, home to New York's great Broadway theaters. There is plenty of theater right on the sidewalks. You don't need to buy expensive tickets. For example, one fixture around these parts is the cowboy that doesn't wear much more than his boots really. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Erica Hill is with the well-known, the world-famous, naked cowboy. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Anderson, that's right. World-famous he is. He is Times Square's naked cowboy. And you can't have a party in Times Square without the naked cowboy. Naked Cowboy, happy New Year.

NAKED COWBOY: Happy New Year to you. HILL: All right. You've been performing in Times Square for almost five years now. 1500 shows. Give us a little signature Naked Cowboy.

COWBOY: Naked Cowboy coming to a town near you mama. Naked Cowboy coming to a town near you.

HILL: All right. Everybody says New York is the greatest city in all the world. Why would you choose to spend New Year's in New York? Which, I mention this is your very first on CNN prime time -- night time Times Square performance. Correct?

COWBOY: Yes ma'am.

HILL: Why New York. Why do you love New York?

COWBOY: Well, New York loves me.

HILL: And he's a modest cowboy. Not just naked but modest too.

COWBOY: Honest.

HILL: Honest. What's coming up in 2005? You got your resolutions?

COWBOY: I'm going to continue to live my life just like I do. Perfect.

HILL: How do you not get cold? We need to know?

COWBOY: I pretend that I'm not cold and it works.

HILL: All right what are some of the most requested songs you get? Give us a taste.

COWBOY: Like a Naked Cowboy. Hell yeah. Or, I'm not cold, I'm not cold. I don't care what you say, I'm not cold. Mamas, don't let your baby's grow up to be naked cowboys.

HILL: What about something original coming up for 2005? Real quick.

COWBOY: Happy New Year, Happy New Year, Happy New Year.

HILL: Anderson, there you go. What more do you need than a happy New Year from the Naked Cowboy?

COOPER: Erica, thank you very much. I think parents around the country will agree with you. Mamas, don't your babies grow up to be naked cowboys. The clock is winding up to midnight here in Times Square. The party's really getting started.

Jerry Jeff Walker live at Gilley's in Dallas. He is going to be performing next. That mechanical bull. I want to see that bull sometime tonight.

Also tonight, the Roots live in Philly. We'll take you to the front row of their show.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And one of the most original parties of all, an eight- year-old tradition in Key West, Florida, Sushi being dropped from a high heel. That's a live shot. I'm not sure what's going on there. It's good it's not in focus because I'm not too sure we want to see it closely in focus, if you know what I mean.

We're going to be live from Key West. We'll see when Sushi actually drops. Not sure we'll -- Yeah, we'll do that -- but first, round two of tonight's mega 360 trivia challenge. Our contestants flown in from all around the country. They have beaten everyone else in the country to make it to our final round, which is a few questions away from choosing a champion. In fact, I think this is the final round. The winner takes home a flat screen TV. Let's have a quick look.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: OK. Round two. First question. Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison, five months home confinement. Her co-defendant received the same sentence. Name that co-defendant. Patty?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peter Bacanovic.

COOPER: Yes, you are right. Peter Bacanovic. 20 points for Patty there.

Second question. Doctors determined that Ukrainian politician Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with what? Phil?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dioxin.

COOPER: Excellent. Right. Dioxin.

And final question of the round, again worth 20 points. Which desperate housewife was not nominated for a Golden Globe Award? Phil?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eva Longaria.

COOPER: Yes, you are correct. Now we are at the end of the second round. Doug, you have 0. Phil you have 50 and Patty you have 40. Quite a race between the two. Doug, you can still come back, though.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: 27 minutes and a few seconds until the ball makes its one minute long descent and hits the New Year, 2005. What does the year hold? Thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people out here in Times Square tonight. A balmy evening, it's in the 50s. You couldn't ask for a better evening. Let's go back to the heart of Texas now at Gilley's in Dallas, they are rocking the night away, waiting for 2005. Jerry Jeff Walker is on stage. Let's listen in on his show a bit.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And that was Jerry Jeff Walker. Uh-oh, the mechanical bull is about to go. We've got to stay and watch that a little bit. We're just -- How long? 25 minutes away there. It's getting going. 25 minutes away from the ball drop here in Times Square. But you can see the party is going on at Gilley's. Now it's getting up. I can do better than that I think.

Coming up next we're going to have the Roots performing live in Philly at the Electric Factory. Plus live in Key West, Florida -- that's the Roots there, live performance going on. And there's the scene in Key West, the big drag queen drop in about 24 minutes. We'll bring that to you as well. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just 22 minutes away from the big ball drop in Times Square. Let's go to the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. 2005 is getting an official welcome from a hometown group of musicians. They are called the Roots and they are getting notice. Nomination for two Grammy Awards. Best urban alternative performance for the song "Star" and best rap performance by a duo or group for their hit, "Don't Say Nothing." Let's listen.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And you've been listening to the Roots performing live. They are good. You are also seeing a little mechanical bull action there from Gilley's in Dallas. We're covering parties around the country but right here right now the party is in New York's Times Square. 18 minutes and 40 seconds or so until the ball drops, signaling 2005. You stay with us all the way through. We'll be right back and then we're taking no more breaks. We're going all the way through to 2005.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Those pictures. There is no place like New York right now at 17 minutes before the ball drops before the new year begins, 2005. The dawn of a new year here in New York and around the world. You can feel the anticipation here. They are getting wild down in the crowd. People are singing. People are dancing. It's a very calm crowd. Very few problems, the police are telling us. Let's go to Jason Carroll who's been partying with the revelers. Jason?

CARROLL: Well, I got to tell you, it's so much fun out here. We've got an international contingency of people. Australia, Venezuela, China, Mexico, Brazil is here as well. I've been down here documenting it all. Taking pictures of everybody as things go by. But the big question down here for the crowd is, what did they do this year that they're not going to repeat next year? What did you do this year you're not going to repeat next year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Changed my major.

CARROLL: Changed your major.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jump off a bridge.

CARROLL: Jump off a bridge. Please don't.

What are you not going to do next year that you did this year?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Move. Never again.

CARROLL: Never again. Did you hear that Anderson? Everyone's -- 17 minutes away. Who are you going to kiss?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My boyfriend.

CARROLL: Who are you going to kiss? 17 minutes away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody.

CARROLL: You know you always have me. You've always got me down here. All right, Anderson, we're going to keep (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I'm going to throw it back to you.

COOPER: Where is that naked cowboy? Get him over there. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Jason, we'll check in with you a little bit. A few short minutes to go before 2005 arrived on the East Coast. 15 minutes or so. Sushi is about to make her grand descent onto Duvall St. in Key West, Florida, I am told. She is inside a giant red high- heeled shoe. If you have to explain this tradition, it doesn't really translate very well. Her fans are waiting for her. So is CNN's John Zarrella. John?

ZARRELLA: Anderson, this is the eighth year that Sushi has descended in that shoe and I talked to Sushi a little while ago, Sushi said it took her 40 hours to make that dress, it took her about an hour to put all that makeup on and get ready for this big event. Thousands of people here in the crowd. Of course joining me, Kylie is with me. Kylie, having a great time, aren't we?

KYLIE: Yes we are.

ZARRELLA: It's a wonderful, wonderful ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fabulous time.

ZARRELLA: And Marilyn, are diamonds still a girl's best friend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. But nothing beats a good New Year's Eve in Key West.

ZARRELLA: This is a wonderful event, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fabulous, just fabulous. Wonderful.

ZARRELLA: You were terrific, girl, with your singing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

ZARRELLA: Wonderful. It is just an absolute blast down here, Anderson. Just up the street we have got the conch shell is going to be falling from Sloppy Joe's. The pirate wrench is coming down from another bar up the street, the Scooter, and it is just a great night. Look it, the crowd is here and in less than 15 minutes Sushi, who is throwing out the beads, is about to descend in the shoe.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Well, John, I hope Sushi is staying fresh because it takes a lot of energy to descend in that shoe from what I imagine. John, I understand -- you said this is an eight year tradition. I understand the police tried to shut it down when it first started, but now the whole town gets behind it, the mayor, everyone.

ZARRELLA: Yeah, and not only that, they did try to shut it down, they told Sushi, that's it, get out of the shoe, you're done, the first year. And this year Sushi had a police escort that brought her here to this event, so how times have changed in the eight years since they started this tradition. It has just become, I tell you, unbelievable. Bigger crowds than we had last year, Anderson. As you know we did it for the first time here. This year there have got to be 7 to 10,000 people here at Duvall St. Anderson?

COOPER: John, is that one of the things they teach at police training academy in Florida? To escort Sushi. That's go to be a class like in and of itself.

ZARRELLA: Down here in the Conch Republic, I guarantee that's, Marilyn, that's got to be a training course for the police down here, right, escorting Sushi up here to the ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a requirement when you're in Key West to escort Sushi down the street every day.

ZARRELLA: Well, there you have it. Marilyn Monroe gives it to you first hand. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, John and Marilyn -- I forget the name of your other friend ...

ZARRELLA: Kylie, that's Kylie.

COOPER: Kylie. All right Kylie, thanks very much.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'm sorry, Kylie, what is that on your head? I can't see that. ZARRELLA: What's on your head, Kylie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a party favor.

ZARRELLA: It's a party favor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Anderson have one on?

ZARRELLA: Anderson, you heard, where's your party favor, Anderson?

COOPER: All right. I'm going to hold you to it John ...

ZARRELLA: We'll see you, Anderson.

COOPER: I'll get that party favor.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: 12 minutes left to go here in New York City. The party, as you can tell, is just getting started. It is such an incredible sight. I'm a life-long New Yorker. We talked to Secretary of State Colin Powell before. He was born in New York as well. So many New Yorkers don't come to this but they are really missing out. That, of course, the giant ball which is going to descend, it takes about 60 seconds. The minute before New Year's comes that ball, six feet wide in diameter, more than 1,000 pounds, all those lights, that Waterford Crystal, slowly descending. And when it hits, those last 10 seconds, the crowd chanting along, counting along, and then the place breaks out into song, "Auld Lang Syne" and "New York, New York." And I've got to tell you, I am not a big softy, but it is a moving moment to be here when you hear all those voices singing and there really is no place like New York, New Year's Eve in Times Square.

You can see all the hats. A company, I think Discover Card company has sent out these hats. I've got one down here. I'm going to pick it up and show it to you. I'm not going to put it on because I am going to maintain what small ounce of dignity I still have left but this is the big hat. It's like a court jester hat. And you can see if you look out in the crowd, it's just a sea -

What's that, you want me to put this on? You know, it's -- All right. All right.

And you know, if you listen closely -- No, I don't want to give a free logo advertisement. If you listen closely, you can hear the last shred of dignity that I had just being swept away there. I just heard it. All right.

But it is quite a party out here and everyone sort of is hemmed in and that's the ball that we'll be sending in just 10 minutes from now and as the minutes click down, already Mayor Bloomberg and Secretary of State Colin Powell are on the stage, on a podium behind me and they are kind of gathering, kind of getting their families together. They are going to stand around. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Mayor Bloomberg will actually hit the button that will begin the ball descending but right now they are taking photographs, and you know, it's interesting.

It's really like, for the last hour, from 11 to midnight -- there you've got some marines dancing like with a stewardess from a space ship, I don't know who. It's maybe USO I'm guessing. Probably some USO folks. It is -- And there are some New York police officers getting in on the party.

Everyone really is in a great mood here. New York, when I grew up here in the late '70s, Times Square was a very different place. There is no drinking here anymore. Especially on Times Square. Police really have a firm control. It is very orderly. People really just in a good mood. And it is such a nice thing to see. It is one of those great things about New York. Let me just shut up for a few moments and let's just watch the pictures, let's just here the sounds.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Let's quickly go back to Philly. Let's take a look at the scene. Roots performing live onstage. Let's listen.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And we are just taking you from party to party around the country, watching here in Times Square in the upper right hand part of the screen. That was the Roots performing in Philadelphia. Let's take you live to Jerry Jeff Walker in Gilley's in Dallas.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: That was Jerry Jeff Walker live from Dilley's. Let's go down to the crowd here in Times Square. Six minutes left to go. Jason Carroll down with some partiers. Jason?

CARROLL: You got it. Six minutes left. Boy the crowd just can't wait for that minute to strike. On this side, I got to get Jersey in the house, though. I finally got you on. I'm a man of my word. New Year's resolutions. What are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what? Just to have a happy marriage I guess.

CARROLL: Newly married. There you go. We're very, very close now to the very end of it. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) down here. We've got some Dick Clark fans. We're very close, at this point, to the end. What do you guys think? You're only a few minutes away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we're pumped, we're so excited to be here.

CARROLL: You know, I never knew people in Philly, in Pennsylvania were this wild. With this wig here and everything going on.

You guys though -- you missed Dick Clark though, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did. We missed Dick Clark. We were upset that he couldn't get here but Regis is all right.

CARROLL: And you got Anderson Cooper and Jason Carroll here, too. Not bad, not bad at all.

We're going to see you in just a little bit, Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks very much. Just about five minutes left to go and you can see that ball. All eyes are on that ball at this point. People who have been waiting here for many hours, just waiting for that ball. They started gathering early this morning. The first people coming. Michael Bloomberg is being introduced to the crowd. Let's look on that stage.

BLOOMBERG: ... of the New Year's Eve ball and lead our countdown to 2005.

(MUSIC -"LOVE TRAIN")

COOPER: And about a minute, 20 seconds to go before 2005 begins. In about 19 seconds that ball will begin to descend. There you see Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. In a few seconds they will press the button, the ball will descend, and it will be one minute to 2005. There it goes. One minute left.

CROWD: 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

(APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC -- "AULD LANG SYNE")

(MUSIC -- "NEW YORK, NEW YORK")

COOPER: And a happy New Year to all of you watching at home or in parties or wherever you are.

(MUSIC -- "AMERICA")

COOPER: All across America people are pausing and watching together, the New Year. Raleigh, North Carolina, Providence, Rhode Island and of course, back here in New York, the biggest party of all. 700,000 people.

The immortal Ray Charles.

(MUSIC -- "AMERICA")

COOPER: And this the scene in Key West, Florida, the eighth year of what they call the drag queen drop. Not sure exactly what's going on there but. The tradition in Key West is that the shoe drops at the stroke of midnight. Certainly doesn't seem to have dropped at this point.

It's -- Let's continuing our look at parties around the country. Gilley's in Dallas, in Philadelphia -- this is Jerry Jeff Walker, performing live right now at Gilley's in Dallas. (MUSIC)

COOPER: And we are back live in New York's Times Square. The crowd still standing around hugging one another, people kissing, shaking hands, wishing each other a happy New Year. Let's look and listen.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: CNN's Erica Hill standing down in the crowd. Erica, what's the scene down there?

HILL: Well, what a happy New Year. A great start to the year. How did it go so far? This is your fourth New Year's, you're from the Netherlands?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

HILL: What do you have to say to everyone back home and here in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, why not?

HILL: Why not is right. As we move down the line, I'll just go here. We have Stephanie. Stephanie in New York wearing a Boston Red Sox hat. You can do that this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. We're going to do it.

HILL: Can you do it again in 2005? Do you have a prediction?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course! Again!

HILL: It's good to have the team spirit, right. We know you're from Boston. Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Southern California.

HILL: A little cold if you're a So Cal boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yeah, I am used to playing golf on Christmas day in shorts and a T-shirt.

HILL: You can do that here, just -- You'll be cold. Kind of like the Naked Cowboy. Happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexico. Happy New Year. The best New Year ever.

HILL: Is this a lot like celebrating in Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, yeah.

HILL: Happy New Year.

Where are you from? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New Jersey.

HILL: New Jersey? Oh, you came all the way across the bridge. My goodness. New Jersey. Have you ever been to Times Square before?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah but not for New Year's Eve.

HILL: Was it worth it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, definitely.

HILL: Did you catch the ball drop? Because I missed it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Good. I'm glad one of us did. The energy here is great. When the ball went down, the confetti came out, the energy absolutely amazing, Anderson, here in Times Square, I know you can feel it up there.

COOPER: Yeah, it's an incredible feeling, Erica. Erica, have you been in Times Square before for the ball drop? Because it's my third year but it's really hard to describe unless you've actually been here.

HILL: Not for the ball drop. And I don't think it's something I ever thought I will do but I got to tell you it's definitely worth it. The energy alone, just to be here in the middle of it, to see all that confetti, absolutely incredible.

COOPER: It's so cool, to see in the crowd the people that you're talking to. People from all around the world. I think I saw an Australian flag. I see behind you, where are the people you're with now from?

HILL: We've got Australia, Brazil, where you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from New York but I'm from Texas.

HILL: You're from Texas, all right. Lone Star State. Sometimes it's its own country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. San Antonio.

HILL: Where are you guys from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston.

HILL: Houston. We've got a lot of Texans here. All right, we've got people from all over, Anderson, but now we're going to send it back to you. And happy New Year, Anderson.

COOPER: And to you as well, and to everyone there at home or at parties wherever you are watching. We've been taking you to parties around the country. Celine Dion performed for us a little bit earlier in Las Vegas. Her show still going on. Let's take you there now.

(MUSIC -- "MY HEART WILL GO ON") COOPER: Celine Dion performing live in Las Vegas. Now the scene in Baltimore, Maryland. The fireworks continue as the parties from coast to coast in the cities large and small continue. Quite a night it has been indeed. That the scene in Philadelphia. The fireworks across the night sky. So many families, so many children looking out in wonderment as the sky opens up with light.

The party here continues in New York's Times Square. The crowd still milling about. People talking, hanging out, talking with each other. Enjoying the last moments of this wonderful evening. That the scene here live in New York's Times Square. In Philadelphia, the band Roots performing live. Let's check in with them now.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And they are so good. The Roots playing live in Philadelphia. The party in Philadelphia continues. The party at Gilley's in Dallas continues, the party with Celine Dion continues in Las Vegas and here in New York's Times Square the party continues as well. CNN's Erica Hill down in the crowd as she has been all evening long for us. Erica, still a lot of people around.

HILL: Yeah, there are still a fair amount of people. We found a couple of sailors we thought you guys might want to meet. What are your names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Franklin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark.

HILL: And this is Mark's first time. His first weekend in New York. Why did you pick New Year's in Times Square.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His family lives here and I always wanted to come to Times Square for New Year's and it was incredible. It was incredible. God bless America. Everybody have a happy New Year.

HILL: And it's worked out pretty well for you too. You just got a young lady on the streets just came up to you and said, "Pardon me, do you mind if I give you a little New Year's love."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a great year already.

HILL: Kind of recreating that famous photo from the '40s. It wasn't New Year's but kind of close there. Well happy New Year's to both of you and we appreciate you stopping by. They're heading back to North Carolina soon, but these folks are going to stick around for a little while longer. The party continues down here. Anderson, I'll send it back up to you.

COOPER: All right. Erica Hill. Thanks very much. We'll check in with you in a little bit. We have much more to come live from New York's Times Square, plus, here's a look at Sushi dropping from the shoe in Key West. I'm told it actually happened. Here it is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: At the scene in Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir. The sounds, so many different ways of celebrating this wonderful evening.

And here we are at Club NA in New York City where the party really is just getting started. Who knows how late it is going to go there. Let's listen.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: All right. Time for another one of our big events this evening. The moment you have no doubt been waiting for. Dun-dun-dun- duh. There we go. Here's the third and final round of tonight's 360 challenge. It's anyone's game. Who's going to win? Who's going to take home that giant flat screen TV? I feel like Alex Trebek. Let's take a look. Final round.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

COOPER: All right. This is the final question. It's worth 50 points. Doug you could come back. It would be a sudden-death tiebreaker in the even that you did get this correct.

Final question. Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest best actress Academy Award nominee for what film? Phil?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Whale Rider."

COOPER: Excellent. Phil, 50 points. You win with 100 points. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

COOPER: Nice job. Nice job.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: And that, of course, the 360 crew celebrating your victory and we have for you here this huge crown, the ANDERSON COOPER 360 crown. Phil Nash, congratulations. And your scepter. You are the trivia challenge master of the universe. We are so not even worthy. Congratulations on winning and you win the big flat screen TV. How was it coming to here to New York for New Year's?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, amazing. You see it on television and you can't really imagine it until you're here.

COOPER: And who -- and I know you wanted the flat screen TV and you wanted to come to New York, but the crown has got to be the cherry on the cake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really can't tell you what this is like.

COOPER: Well, congratulations, you are truly a trivia master.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. COOPER: It's really been a pleasure to meet you and I'm so glad to you made it up to New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, glad you had me.

COOPER: All right. We're going to go to a short break. We're going to take you now to Celine Dion as we take you to break, live in Las Vegas. Be right back.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And you're looking at the scene. The party going on at Gilley's in Dallas, Texas. Jerry Jeff Walker live on stage, bringing in the New Year, 2005, Texas style.

I also want to show you a club here in New York, NA, there's a DJ playing, the party very much under way there. A whole different tune.

And we are back here live in Times Square. Let's check in with CNN's John Zarrella, who, last we saw, was literally draped in drag queens down there in Key West, Florida. John, how was the big pump drop?

ZARRELLA: Ah, the Sushi drop was great. All the way to the ground this year. Didn't come down on the awning. Came right down to the ground, got out, popped a bottle of champagne. It was a great night again, and, of course, Marilyn Monroe dropped by. Marilyn, what about New Year's resolutions this year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this year, I plan to lose a little more weight than what I lost last year.

ZARRELLA: Oh. I think I am going to join you in that resolution. I need to do the same thing. Anderson, another great night. You see we got people up on the stage here. Everybody has been partying. Have you ever had a kiss from Marilyn Monroe, Anderson? I don't think so. Anderson?

COOPER: John, just one question. Did Sushi drop a little late or did it happen like clockwork?

ZARRELLA: Sushi dropped about five seconds behind you guys, the real time, because we lost the TV feed. So we were about five seconds late. But it's still New Year's and as you can see, it's really crazy now. Anderson?

COOPER: Well, John, I'm glad your wife is nearby. And, as always, John Zarrella, a stand up job. No one does a better job. Thanks very much.

Jason Carroll is down in the crowd here in New York's Times Square. Jason, how's the crowd going? CARROLL: Oh, they are still here, still hanging out. It was a really great night for everyone who came out here. These are some of my brand new friends, Anderson, from Seattle, Washington, came all the way out here for the first time. What was it like? Did you have fun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my first time in New York City for New Year's and it's been a blast.

CARROLL: Was it worth it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 26 minutes into the New Year, it's definitely worth it.

CARROLL: Feeling good. Feeling good. How was it for you? 10 years old? Was this your first time heading out here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

CARROLL: No?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

CARROLL: What did you think of it this time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was better than all the other times?

CARROLL: Better than all the other times. Can't do better than that. Also down here at the other side of things we've got my friends from Colombia. So what do you think of New York City? How does it compare to Colombia?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a first time here and it's all so ...

CARROLL: You had a good time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a really good time.

CARROLL: How about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is very well. Is the first time here.

CARROLL: First time.

And you're from LA, my hometown. What did you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was fabulous. I was here with my family. Such a good time. It was amazing.

CARROLL: Glad you were able to come and have a good time. And they're still out here partying. They're still out here partying. I'll see you later, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll live in Times Square. It has been a difficult week for so many people in so many places around the world. We wish you at home a very safe and happy New Year's. We wish you peace in the year to come. I'm headed to Sri Lanka tomorrow. I will be there Monday. Reporting live on ANDERSON COOPER 360, seven o'clock Eastern Time. Thanks for joining us. Have a safe and happy New Year's.

(CHEERING, FIREWORKS, MUSIC, ETC.)

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