MTV awards kick off with Rita Ora in Frankfurt
US-MTV:MTV awards kick off with Rita Ora in Frankfurt
By Maria Sheahan and Victoria Bryan
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Singer Rita Ora and indie band fun. took to the stage in Frankfurt on Sunday to kick off the MTV Europe Music Awards, one of the biggest nights in pop outside the United States.
MTV has chosen a circus theme for this year's awards at the 100-year-old Festhalle venue, and Ora opened the show by belting out her No. 1 British hit "R.I.P." from a giant bird cage.
One of this year's most eagerly anticipated performances is dance sensation Psy with his record-breaking hit "Gangnam Style". He will become the first South Korean artist to perform at the annual awards, where Rihanna leads nominations with six.
The song, which is up for the Best Video award, has been viewed more than 670 million times on YouTube and received a record-breaking 4.9 million "likes" on Facebook since being released in mid-July.
Host Heidi Klum, who this year filed for divorce from singer husband Seal, was ready for the horse riding-inspired dance.
"Now I know how to dance Gangnam Style!" she posted on Twitter on Saturday, with a picture of herself and Psy in matching blue tuxedo jackets.
Before the show began, performers on the red carpet included rapper Ludacris, who debuted his new video "Rest of My Life".
"The fans are ecstatic right now. Hopefully we'll be back at the EMAs next year performing this track," Ludacris told journalists amid the din of screaming fans.
Stars like the Jonas Brothers, who received one of the biggest cheers from fans on the carpet, and Kim Kardashian said they were looking forward to Thanksgiving dinners.
"There's always a lot of food, but we're still figuring out how to get all of us together," said Kim, referring to the sizeable celebrity Kardashian clan.
ROCKING THE RED CARPET
Despite being billed as the Europe Music Awards, the majority of nominees are traditionally North American, and 2012 is no exception.
Alongside Psy, acts due to take the stage at the show include country singer Taylor Swift, 14-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys, the Killers, newly reformed No Doubt and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Heading the nominations is party-loving Rihanna, with nods in six categories, including Best Song and Best Video for "We Found Love".
Following close behind with five nominations is country star Swift, Katy Perry with four, while Lady Gaga, who cleaned up last year with four prizes, is in the running for three awards.
Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, who has reportedly just broken up with girlfriend Selena Gomez, is up for four awards, including Best Male and Best Pop.
Rihanna is favourite for Best Song and Best Female, according to odds offered by British bookmakers William Hill, while Gangnam Style is tipped to win Best Video.
MTV is also honouring late Whitney Houston with a Global Icon award. Houston, who was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on February 11, will be the third artist to be given the award, following Bon Jovi and Queen in 2010 and 2011.
"Whitney Houston may be gone, but her legend lives on," the organisers said.
The EMA awards were last held in Frankfurt in 2001. Last year's awards in Belfast attracted 23 million viewers on all platforms and 158 million votes worldwide.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Maria Sheahan; editing by Mike Collett-White)