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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It wouldn't be the MTV Video Music Awards without a little controversy, and even before Sunday night's program, a Twitter war broke out between Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and the show's producers.
The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) annually give out honors for the top music videos and performances to singers and bands, and each year, audiences can count on at least one surprise. Last year, it was Lady Gaga in her dress made of raw meat, and in 2003, the famous kiss shared by Britney Spears and Madonna.
So far, 2011 has not disappointed -- and the show hasn't even started. It gets underway Sunday night at 9 p.m. EDT.
Saturday, Levine tweeted his distaste for MTV, which rose to prominence in the 1980s as a television channel showcasing musicians and videos but in recent years has lured viewers mainly with reality TV program such as "Jersey Shore."
"The VMAs one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I'm drawing a line in the sand ..." Levine posted on Twitter, adding an expletive.
Never one to miss an opportunity for a chance to exploit controversy, MTV tweeted back. "Soooo you'll be tuning in at 9/8C (9 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CDT) tomorrow right? ..."
Levine eventually toned down, tweeting "i may be a pop singer. but every once in a while the angsty teenager in me just blurts out some raw honesty. it's a reflex."
Competing for some of the VMA's top awards on Sunday night will be a who's who of the world's top music stars.
British singer Adele with her chart-topping song "Rolling in the Deep" is vying for video of the year against Katy Perry ("Firework"), Bruno Mars ("Grenade"), the Beastie Boys ("Make Some Noise") and Tyler, the Creator ("Yonkers").
Featured performers include Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga and Chris Brown, among others, and there will be a tribute to late soul singer Amy Winehouse.
Finally, there was widespread Web buzz on Sunday that rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West will put in a "surprise" performance and sing from their new album, "Watch the Throne."
Editing by Paul Simao