FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The MTV Europe Music Awards will rock Frankfurt’s Festhalle concert venue on Sunday, with Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna leading the nominations and all eyes on Korean dance sensation Psy.
Psy’s hit “Gangnam Style”, which is up for the Best Video award, has been viewed more than 670 million times and received a record-breaking 4.9 million “likes” on Facebook since being released in mid-July.
The satirical video featuring Psy’s horse riding-inspired dance has sparked a wave of copycat versions from Eton schoolboys to Californian lifeguards and has even caught the attention of United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.
Psy will become the first South Korean artist to perform at the annual awards, one of the pop industry’s biggest nights outside the United States, when he takes the stage on Sunday.
German model and presenter Heidi Klum, who this year filed for divorce from singer husband Seal, will host the awards and said she had been practicing her Gangnam moves in case she gets called on to dance.
“My kids are obsessed with the song, even though it’s Korean and they have no idea what he’s talking about,” she told reporters ahead of the event.
Klum, who comes from the town of Bergisch Gladbach just two hours away from the 2012 host city, is also looking forward to some home comforts.
“I’ll be eating a lot of German food,” she said, adding jokingly that she would probably eat too much schnitzel and “gain a few pounds.”
Despite being billed as the Europe Music Awards, the vast 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 and Carly Rae Jepsen.
In a world where careers are so often launched by social media websites like YouTube, some young artists said there was still a role for more established platforms such as MTV and mainstream television.
American indie-pop band fun., who are up for three awards, hit the big time after the song “We Are Young” was featured in an advert for Chevrolet during the U.S. Superbowl.
“I don’t think that you can ever replace the impact that music videos have,” the band’s guitarist Jack Antonoff told Reuters when asked about the importance of MTV against social media channels.
“I think the more that social media takes over, the more importance you put upon the old ways.”
MTV said this week that it had become the first company to reach one million followers on Instagram, the fast-growing photo-sharing application developer.
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, and other top nominees include Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, with four each, while Lady Gaga, who cleaned up last year with four prizes, is in the running for three awards.
Rihanna is favorite for Best Song and Best Female, according to odds offered by British bookmakers William Hill, while Gangnam Style is tipped to win Best Video.
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.
Following are the main nominations in 2012:
BEST SONG: Carly Rae Jepsen/Call Me Maybe; Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris/We Found Love; Gotye/Somebody That I Used To Know; Pitbull feat. Chris Brown/International Love; fun. feat. Janelle Monáe/We Are Young
BEST NEW: Rita Ora; fun.; One Direction; Lana Del Rey; Carly Rae Jepsen
BEST FEMALE: Rihanna; Katy Perry; P!nk; Taylor Swift; Nicki Minaj
BEST MALE: Justin Bieber; Kanye West; Flo Rida; Pitbull; Jay-Z
BEST POP: Justin Bieber; No Doubt; Katy Perry; Taylor Swift; Rihanna
BEST LIVE: Taylor Swift; Lady Gaga; Jay-Z & Kanye West; Green Day; Muse
BEST HIP HOP: Jay-Z & Kanye West; Nas; Rick Ross; Drake; Nicki Minaj
BEST ROCK: Linkin Park; Green Day; Muse; The Killers; Coldplay
BEST ELECTRONIC: David Guetta; Swedish House Mafia; Avicii; Skrillex; Calvin Harris
BEST ALTERNATIVE: Jack White; The Black Keys; Arctic Monkeys; Florence + The Machine; Lana Del Rey
BEST VIDEO: M.I.A./Bad Girls; Lady Gaga/Marry The Night; Katy Perry/Wide Awake; Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris/We Found Love; PSY/Gangnam Style.
Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Maria Sheahan; editing by Mike Collett-White