CANNES, France -- The real rock stars were the stars of the opening night of MidemNET in Cannes. With the NRJ Music Awards show hosted in Cannes on Saturday night, the music industry was given a reminder of who really runs the show.
After the panels and keynotes concluded, a crowd of screaming fans descended upon the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès to see the stars walk the red carpet. Earlier in the day, fans were camped out outside the Carlton and other hotels in hopes of spotting some of the music celebrities in town for the awards show.
Broadcast on national TV, the awards had a mix of languages and both live and played-to-tape performances. Usher turned in one of the show's best-received performances and won an award for International Male Artist. Shakira performed "Waka Waka," won International Female Artist and International Song awards and labored through some French phrases during a chat with the emcee. Two of the Black Eyed Peas - Will.i.am and alp.de.ap -- where on hand to receive the prize for Best Concert perform (Fergie and Taboo sang and dance on video screens) with a troupe of dancers. And Yannick Noah, former tennis great and father of Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah, performed a medley of his hits and showed a singing voice as graceful as his son's shooting technique.
Photo Credit: © 360 MEDIAS - IMAGE & Co
Not that there aren't stars at MIDEM. But industry stars are on a different level. Vivendi CEO Jean-Bertrand Lévy drew only a modest crowd for his keynote interview earlier in the day (more people had watched the previous panel). Digital music rock stars like Topspin's Ian Rogers and TAG Strategic's Ted Cohen were seen walking uncontested around the conference grounds. And while many people talked about Terry McBride's panel earlier in the day and the presentation given by Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research that warned of another "Napster moment" looming in digital music, neither of the two were in any danger of being mobbed by a gang of crazed admirers. Not even Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai drew a mob of tech fanboys as he quietly chatted with a friend outside the main hall during the midday break.