GLASGOW Scotland (Reuters) - Boy-band sensation One Direction were among the big winners that failed to turn up to collect their prizes at one of Europe’s top music events on Sunday, after they scooped three MTV Europe Music Awards in Glasgow.
Justin Bieber and Katy Perry were among other notable no-shows, though the firework-filled ceremony was lit up by charismatic and popular rapper Nicki Minaj, who hosted, performed and won an award.
Rock veterans Ozzy Osbourne, U2 and Slash all also made appearances, giving the show a grizzled edge.
Fans in the arena were most vocal for the younger acts, however, even if some weren’t able to attend.
British pop group One Direction, known for their dedicated global fan base, won Best Pop, Best Live and Biggest Fans, scooping three of a possible four gongs. They apologised for being unable to collect their awards in person in video messages.
The ceremony, celebrating its 20th anniversary, was held in the 13,000-seat SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
The city hosted the music channel MTV’s flagship European awards show for the first time.
In the absence of some more established acts, singer-songwriter Ariana Grande flourished, grabbing her first two MTV EMAs and opening the show.
The relative newcomer beat better-known acts such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Minaj to win Best Female, and her song “Problem”, featuring rapper Iggy Azalea, won Best Song ahead of Pharrell Williams’ triple-platinum hit “Happy”.
She flew across the audience in a space-themed opening performance, floating in a perspex bubble through a mock-up solar system.
Minaj picked up the award for Best Hip Hop and also performed some of her best-known songs in a colorful medley, featuring trademark bubblegum pink ribbons and suggestive dancing.
While she has not released an album since 2012, Minaj was a popular host, penning a rap in tribute to Scotland and even playing a hole of crazy golf in tribute to the national pastime.
Katy Perry, on tour in Australia, thanked her “Katy Cat” fans after winning Best Look and Best Video, while Canadian Bieber netted the award for Best Male.
With many winners unable to perform, Irish rock U2 veterans did a tender, piano-led version of the ballad “Every Breaking Wave” off the recent release “Songs of Innocence”.
Heavy metal and reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne collected a Global Icon award, and the show ended with a tribute to the “Prince of Darkness”.
Slash teamed up with Myles Kennedy and Simon Neil of Scottish band Biffy Clyro to perform Osborne’s “Crazy Train”, accompanied by flames and an indoor firework display.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Andrea Ricci