LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool hosts the MTV Europe Music Awards Thursday, and U.S. stars Beyonce and Kanye West will perform alongside British stalwarts Take That and Duffy.
MTV invites fans to decide all but one of the categories -- Video Star -- and in 2007 nearly 80 million votes were cast ahead of the event, one of pop's biggest nights outside the United States.
Although based in Europe, the awards tend to be dominated by big names in American music, and this year Beyonce and West are expected to be joined on stage by compatriots The Killers, Kid Rock and Pink.
U.S. singer Katy Perry hosts the awards, and celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton will be causing mischief on the red carpet and backstage.
Three of the four most nominated acts are from Europe, however -- Britain's Coldplay, Leona Lewis and Duffy are each nominated for three awards alongside American Britney Spears.
And former Beatle Paul McCartney will be presented with a one-off Ultimate Legend honor in his home city, although he is not expected to perform at the 15th edition of the awards.
Spears, 26, is seeking to get her troubled personal life back on track and plans to set the record straight about a public meltdown in a 90-minute documentary due to be aired on MTV on November 30.
Spears has been nominated in the Act of 2008, Best Act Ever and Album of the Year categories. Her new record "Circus" is set for release on December 2.
Coldplay, who topped the charts with their album "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," have been named in the Album of the Year, Act of 2008 and Most Addictive Track categories for the single "Viva La Vida."
Duffy is also in contention for best album ("Rockferry") and addictive track ("Mercy") as well as Best New Act. Lewis is nominated for best album ("Spirit"), Act of 2008 and Europe's Favorite Act.
Several artists garnered two nominations apiece including Alicia Keys (Best Album, Ultimate Urban).
Linkin Park and Metallica both appear in the Headliner and Rock Out categories, while troubled singer Amy Winehouse was nominated for the Act of 2008 award.
Probably the most surprising nominee is 1980s crooner Rick Astley, whose 1987 single "Never Gonna Give You Up" topped the charts in 16 countries.
He shot back to prominence this year when millions of people were "rickrolled" into playing the song over the Internet when they thought they were clicking on apparently unrelated links.
Fans at the 11,000-capacity Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, are likely to be watching West closely on the night.
The rap star stormed the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards two years ago to complain when he did not win the Best Video prize. "If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility," he told a bemused crowd.
In 2007, more than 30 million people watched the MTV Europe Music Awards, according to the music channel.
Editing by Charles Dick