Kanye West ends brief boycott of MTV video awards

LOS ANGELES Thu Sep 4, 2008 7:24pm EDT

File photo shows Kanye West at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

File photo shows Kanye West at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 10, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A year after vowing never to perform on the MTV Video Music Awards again, hip-hop star Kanye West will close the show's 25th annual ceremony in Hollywood on Sunday, joining a lineup that includes Christina Aguilera and the Jonas Brothers, organizers said.

The outspoken rapper was upset by his treatment at last year's show, when his performance was relegated to a small stage in the Las Vegas venue.

West also failed to win any prizes, and accused the music cable network of exploiting Britney Spears, who inadvertently stole the show by badly lip-synching and dancing to her new tune.

The faded pop star will again open the show this year, but she will not perform.

"She will be ... doing something so mind-bending, it'll probably make you want to start families with each other in a random, possibly Mormon, way," the show's host, English comedian Russell Brand, joked during a press preview at the Paramount Pictures lot where the ceremony will be held.

He was joined at the preview by Aguilera, who will be making her first televised performance since giving birth to a baby boy in January.

Another performer, rapper T.I., was also on hand at the preview. The trio posed for photographs before Aguilera walked to a waiting limousine and sped off.

Brand described Disney teen idols the Jonas Brothers as "God's favorite virgins," and suggested that their request to be introduced at the event by teen country starlet Taylor Swift was "a decision made from below their sexy little waists."

In recognition of the ceremony's silver anniversary, Brand said MTV would pay homage to the show's storied past. In particular, Katy Perry, the singer of the summer's biggest hit "I Kissed A Girl," will cover Madonna's "Like A Virgin."

"There's a lot of virginity and lesbianism, let me tell you that, going on at the show," said Brand.

Other previously announced performers include R&B singer Rihanna and Detroit rocker Kid Rock, who allowed the media to watch him rehearse his big new hit "All Summer Long."

Separately, MTV announced that videos by West, Death Cab For Cutie, Erykah Badu, Gnarls Barkley and White Stripes won early awards in the professional categories.

Gnarls Barkley's "Run" was honored for art direction and choreography," while Badu's "Honey" won for direction, Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart" for editing, the White Stripes' "Conquest" for cinematography," and West's "Good Life" featuring T-Pain for special effects.

Spears is among the high-profile nominees on Sunday, with bids for video of the year, female video and pop video, all for her tune "Piece of Me."

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Mary Milliken)

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