By Ian Simpson
LISBON (Reuters) – Madonna stole the show at the MTV Europe
Music Awards on Thursday with the first live televised
performance of her new single “Hung Up,” emerging from a giant
glitter ball wearing purple leather boots and matching leotard.
The 47-year-old queen of pop rocked the Atlantic Pavilion
on one of the music industry’s most important nights outside
the United States, and said she still got a kick out of playing
to a crowd.
“After I fell off my horse it was amazing to be able to get
up and dance,” she told Reuters backstage, referring to a
riding accident in August when she cracked three ribs and broke
her collarbone and a hand.
She confessed she had feared that energetic performances
like the one in Lisbon would no longer be possible because of
“Being in front of all the people, waiting for it to come
up, and waiting to see the audience, my heart was just pumping
out of my chest,” Madonna said in a brief interview.
Madonna will be hoping “Hung Up,” the first single from her
new album “Confessions on a Dancefloor,” puts her back on top
of the charts after her last album failed to sell well.
“I’ve been making records for over 20 years. I’ve had an
incredible run, highs and lows, but I keep going.”
Scooping two awards were as pop-punk idols Green Day, who
won Best Album and Best Rock categories. Their record “American
Idiot” also won at the Grammys this year.
Best Male category went to Robbie Williams, beating
competition from 50 Cent and Eminem. Gorillaz was named Best
Group and Coldplay took Best Song for “Speed of Sound.”
Best Female category went to Colombian-born Shakira, Snoop
Dogg snagged Best Hip-Hop, Best R & B was won by Alicia Keys,
Best Pop by the Black Eyed Peas, and the Chemical Brothers were
awarded Best Video for “Believe.”
System of a Down were crowned Best Alternative, and James
Blunt took away the Best New Act gong.
COLDPLAY, CARTOONS, COMEDY
Irish rocker Bob Geldof was given the humanitarian Free
Your Mind Award after staging what was billed as rock music’s
greatest day with Live 8, a global anti-poverty concert watched
by hundreds of millions of people.
Madonna, handing Geldof the prize, called him “my hero.”
Gorillaz “appeared” using hologram-style technology to beam
three-dimensional, performing cartoon characters on stage.
Billed as the world’s most successful virtual band, the
human artists behind Gorillaz traditionally appear at live gigs
as silhouettes on a giant screen combined with images of their
cartoon alter egos.
U.S. actor Jared Leto had the crowd booing, whistling and
turning their thumbs down at U.S. President George W. Bush, in
a moment of political controversy.
“If you can’t criticize the president in our country, who
can you criticize?” he said.
Williams was in typically exuberant form, taking a dive
into the crowd during his performance and joking at the expense
of none other than Madonna.
“She’s amazing. She’s an absolute legend. I can’t believe
she’s 89 and looks like that,” he said.
Hosting the event was spoof Kazakh television presenter
Borat, a guise adopted by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen
who is renowned for his risque, politically incorrect humor.
His opening gag on the night was no exception.
“It was very brave of MTV to start the show with a
transvestite,” he joked, referring to Madonna.
(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Mike
Collett-White in London)