Justin Timberlake brought sexy back to Copenhagen on Thursday night, as the pop star picked up awards for best male and best pop act – in between hosting duties – at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2006.
Timberlake kicked off the night in spectacular fashion, bursting through a giant exploding speaker to perform a medley of his hits, including “SexyBack,” while giant glitter balls lit up the auditorium.
“It’s nice to pick up the most prestigious award tonight,” he said after winning his best pop trophy. “I’m convinced that you guys gave me this because you talked me into hosting the show.”
The other big winners on the night were Atlanta-based hip-hop duo Gnarls Barkley, who walked away with the award for best song as well as the new Futuresounds award, voted on by other artists for best newcomer of the year.
“All of us – this is our song,” singer Cee-Lo Green told the audience as he accepted the award for the group’s massive hit “Crazy.”
Stand-out performers of the night included Muse, winners of best alternative act, who rocked the Bella Centre with their performance of “Starlight” accompanied by a dazzling laser show, and Nelly Furtado, who set the venue alight with a sizzling performance of “Maneater.”
Outside in freezing cold temperatures, the Killers, Snoop Dogg and Keane wowed thousands of fans in Copenhagen’s main square with a 30-minute set. Back in the main venue, the star-studded show ended with a theatrical performance from Finnish goth rockers, Lordi.
The night was not without controversy, though, as Kanye West took to the stage to protest after losing out in the best video category to Justice vs. Simian. “I had the best video,” West said later. ” ‘Touch the Sky’ was a great moment in TV.”
West did walk away with the award for best hip-hop artist, while Depeche Mode won best group and the Killers won best rock act.
Christina Aguilera beat out strong competition from Madonna and Furtado to win best female artist. The Red Hot Chili Peppers won best album for Stadium Arcadium, and Rihanna took home laurels for best R&B artist.
Madonna, meanwhile, was on the receiving end of several jokes, including a spoof of her performance of “Hung Up” at last year’s awards, by British comedian Avid Merrion, who sported an ill-fitting pink leotard and was accompanied by a troupe of dancing dwarves.
Earlier in the night, Kazakhstan’s most famous TV reporter, Borat, alter ego of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, talked about the queen of pop, whose recent adoption of a baby from Malawi has been hugely controversial. “My only concern is that the singing transvestite will not a be good father,” he joked.