Lots of pop stars who are huge in Europe never succeed in the United States, but judging by Thursday’s MTV Europe Music Awards, Europeans can’t seem to get enough of American idols.
Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé Knowles and Christina Aguilera were the big winners at this year’s racy, profanity-laden EMAs, held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Eight of the 12 awards were presented to U.S. residents.
Timberlake won three trophies: Best Album for Justified, Best Pop and Best Male. The Neptunes, who produced much of Justified, presented him with the latter, and after they gave him the statue of an “M” on a spring, Timberlake returned the love.
“If I could have had a picture-perfect night it wouldn’t have been as good as this,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone else I would have wanted to present me with this award more than Pharrell and Chad.” During the show, Timberlake played human beatbox during a performance by the Black Eyed Peas.
Beyoncé was the second biggest winner, taking two awards: Best R&B and Best Song for “Crazy in Love.” She also performed with Sean Paul on “Baby Boy.” The host of the show, Christina Aguilera, took home Best Female, one of four awards she was up for.
Viewers had something to take away with them as well. The running interplay between longtime rivals Kelly Osbourne and Aguilera was fierce and catty. During the pre-show, Aguilera refused to walk the red carpet if Osbourne — a guest VJ for the event — was present. Kelly responded by calling Aguilera’s music “crap” and saying she was a “cow.”
Later, a skit was aired of Aguilera throwing darts at a board decorated with a picture of Osbourne. This irked the Ozzy offspring, who voiced her disapproval when she came onstage to present an award. “If Christina Aguilera has to resort to throwing darts at my head after everything she’s achieved and everything she’s done, then she’s a really sad, sorry person,” Kelly said. “And I take it as a complete compliment.”
“Honey, if you can dish it out, you’ve got to learn how to take it back,” Aguilera later retorted with a voice of mock sympathy.
If that wasn’t fiery enough, there was full-frontal nudity to keep viewers glued to their sets. During Travis’ performance of “Beautiful Occupation,” an assembly of nude protesters marched onstage with signs that covered their naughty bits. At the end of the song, they lifted the signs. And near the end of the show, Aguilera marched a line of men in kilts onstage and asked them lift their outfits to display their wares so she could decide who to take to the party after the show. She earned the privilege, dancing in the opening and changing outfits 12 times over the course of the show.
The award for Best Group went to Coldplay, Best Dance Act was given to Panjabi MC, Best Hip-Hop went to Eminem and Best Rock was handed to the White Stripes. Also, Sean Paul won Best New Act and Sigur Rós took Best Video. Performers included the White Stripes, Pink, the Darkness, Kraftwerk and Missy Elliott.