The awards ceremony took place in Glasgow on Sunday (November 9)
One Direction were the big winners at the MTV Europe Music Awards at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro yesterday (November 10), with the all-conquering boyband taking home three awards for Best Pop, Best Live and Biggest Fans.
The group’s non-attendance at the event – the 20th EMAs and the first to be held in Glasgow – meant that the spotlight fell for the most part on hostess Nicki Minaj, who herself won the award for Best Hip-Hop and also performed a medley of hits, including her ubiquitous single ‘Anaconda’.
Arriving onstage in a striking ruffled gown which appeared to be on stilts, Minaj promised “the mother of all parties” and did her best to deliver: throughout the show, Minaj could be found playing pitch ‘n’ putt, taking selfies with a T-Rex, leading the Hydro in a chorus of The Proclaimers’ ‘500 Miles’ and even distributing hundreds of drinks tokens throughout the crowd.
Ariana Grande delivered the night’s first performance, playing ‘Break Free’ surrounded by mirrored stalagmites, miniature volcanoes and huge hot-air balloons; a stage-set which seemed more Journey To The Centre Of The Earth than the show’s promised Time Machine theme. Grande was also the night’s first winner, collecting the Best Song award from presenters Alicia Keys and Emeli Sande for her Iggy Azalea-featuring single ‘Problem’. “I want to thank MTV because last time when I met Iggy [the pair presented an award at the EMAs last year], that’s part of the reason that ‘Problem’ happened, which is also the reason that this happened.”
There then followed performances from Kiesza, who emerged from a red telephone box to sing ‘Hideaway’, and Royal Blood, who played ‘Figure It Out’ in front of the caged-in ‘Barlinnie’ section of the arena, named after the nearby Glaswegian prison. Minaj then returned to the stage to boast that she’d learned so much about Scottish culture, “I’ve pretty much become Scottish,” and treated the crowd to a rap she’d written for the occasion, making reference to kilts, whisky, shortbread and the tartan army.
After Charli XCX’s medley of ‘Boom Clap’ and ‘Break The Rules’, Minaj returned to the stage to pick up her own award for Best Hip-Hop. “I can’t thank you guys enough for your energy tonight,” she told the crowd, before promising, “I will be back out here next year to perform.”
U2 came next, though their much-anticipated performance was uncharacteristically muted. The Irish group performed the ballad ‘Every Breaking Wave’ from new album ‘Songs of Innocence’, accompanied by a string section while The Edge sat at a piano for the duration of the song.
The biggest cheer of the night was for Global Icon recipient Ozzy Osbourne, who was presented with his award by Slash. “For four decades, the Prince of Darkness has rocked anyone who’s dared to listen,” said the former Guns ‘n’ Roses guitarist. “He scares the hell out of most people – and all bats. But to me he’s a gentleman, a killer performer, a collaborator and a rock ’n’ roll legend.” When he arrived onstage, the Black Sabbath frontman seemed slightly taken aback by the crowd’s welcome, saying simply, “I don’t know about this icon shit but it’s good to be here tonight. I just wanna thank MTV and all you people here tonight. God bless you all.”
Osbourne was followed by Ed Sheeran, performing his most recent single ‘Thinking Out Loud’ backed by a dancer spinning inside a giant music box, but not before Minaj had ingratiated herself to the crowd by distributing hundreds of drinks tokens throughout. The next award, for Worldwide Act, was won by Chinese pop star Bibi Zhou, whose recent album ‘Unlocked’, who collected her prize from Dutch DJ Afrojack and ended her speech by declaring, “Nicki, I love your butt!”
Coldplay-style LED wristbands given out to the crowd were activated for the arrival of Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias, who performed a medley of ‘I’m A Freak’ and ‘Bailando’, for which he was joined by Cuban artists Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona.
Ariana Grande then won her second award of the night, this time for Best Female, presented by the Bella Twins and David Hasselhoff. The former Baywatch star engaged in some typically ribald banter, asking his co-presenters if “you girls wanna wrestle?” and announcing that “one of the conditions for the winner is that they have to invite me, the Hoff, to the after party.” Grande went on to thank “my fans, my loves, for supporting me so much, like last night when I was too excited to sleep and you were DM-ing me with funny things.”
Following a beamed-in appearance from Alicia Keys – who was playing at an EMA viewing party at the O2 Academy – the show was closed in spectacular fashion by Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil and Slash, who had shared a bill at a special EMA gig in Glasgow on Friday night. Joined by vocalist Myles Kennedy, the trio played a pyrotechnic-heavy version of Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 single ‘Crazy Train’, intended as a tribute to the Global Icon award-winner.
The full list of MTV EMA winners:
Best Song – Ariana Grande – “Problem” ft. Iggy Azalea
Best Pop – One Direction
Best Video – Katy Perry – “Dark Horse ft. Juicy J”
Best Song With a Message – Beyonce – “Pretty Hurts”
Best Female – Ariana Grande
Best Male – Justin Bieber
Best Live – One Direction
Best New – 5 Seconds of Summer
Best Rock – Linkin Park
Best Alternative – Thirty Seconds to Mars
Best Hip Hop – Nicki Minaj
Best Look – Katy Perry
Best Push – 5 Seconds of Summer
Best World Stage – Enrique Iglesias
Worldwide Act – Bibi Zhou
Biggest Fans – One Direction
Global Icon – Ozzy Osbourne