“It’s a blessing to live this life. Thanks to the fans and for the 18 number one singles I’ve had,” Carey, 39, told the crowd after receving a special achievement honor from presenter Alicia Keys. “Special shout to my husband and best friend Nick, I love you.”
The show opened with a high-energy performance by Beyoncé. Wearing black leather pants and a white blouse, she brought the crowd to their feet by performing a medley of her tunes. Later in the evening, she won an award for outstanding contribution to the arts.
The big winner of the night was U.K. band Coldplay, who were crowned the best selling recording act.
Meanwhile, Gossip Girls star Chace Crawford was enjoying Monaco and the Riviera. “I’m excited – it’s good people watching,” he told PEOPLE. “I thought the Killers were going to be here; I love them.”
Estelle, the singer of “American Boy” and winner of best new R&B act, told PEOPLE, “I have no American Boy in my life but I wish I had.”
Other winners included Leona Lewis for both new artist and pop female artist and Kid Rock for pop male artist. Troubled singer Amy Winehouse took home the award for pop/rock female.