American pop artists dominated the MTV Europe Music Awards last night (Oct. 6) at Liverpool Echo Arena, and the performers and winners were also keen to bask in President-elect Barack Obama’s election victory.
Britney Spears sent a video acceptance for her two awards: best album for “Blackout” (Jive/Sony BMG) and best act of 2008. Host Katy Perry, whose costumes included an Obama-print dress, won the new act gong. “I want a recount,” she said. “The host can’t win.” Perry also opened the show sitting astride a giant chapstick during a performance of “I Kissed a Girl.”
Pink collected the first award of the night, taking most addictive track for “So What” (LaFace/Sony BMG). California rock act 30 Seconds To Mars won the rock out award and the video star award for “A Beautiful Lie” (Virgin). The awards were voted for online by fans across Europe.
“This has been a really exciting week for us Americans,” said frontman Jared Leto, who got the crowd to chant “Congrats Barack.”
There was also recognition for a Liverpool’s most famous musician, with Bono presenting the ultimate legend award to Sir Paul McCartney. “This is the man who invented my job,” said the U2 singer. Bono was also jeered when he said the Beatles would have been Irish, if the Irish potato famine hadn’t driven their ancestors to Britain.
“I’ve got to thank my mates Ringo, George and John,” said McCartney. “Many years ago, four little boys born here in Liverpool — and we went on to do quite well.” McCartney also thanked people in the U.S. for “voting in Mr. Obama.”
The Liverpool crowd gave a warm reception to U.K. acts who performed, including Take That, the Ting Tings and Duffy. U.K. urban artist Estelle joined Kanye West for their first major awards show collaboration on “American Boy,” featuring a ticker-tape finale with an image of Obama on the giant screen.
Eighties pop act Rick Astley was the unlikely winner of the best act ever, following a viral Internet campaign that raised his profile in the past year.
Other performers included the Killers, Kid Rock, Beyonce, Pink and local indie rock act the Wombats, who covered Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love.” Perry closed the show with a performance of “Hot N Cold.”