MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Pop star Avril Lavigne stole the thunder from rival Justin Timberlake by taking two top prizes at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Thursday.
The 23-year-old won Most Addictive Track for “Girlfriend” and the coveted Solo Artist of 2007 category while Timberlake, who dominated the event in 2006 and was the most nominated artist in 2007, came away empty-handed.
Britain’s Amy Winehouse collected the Artists’ Choice award but her live performance of “Back to Black” at the packed OlympiaHalle in Germany will have done little to allay concerns after drug-related problems.
She accepted her award with a brief “Thanks” before walking off stage. Minutes later she stumbled through her song with a thin, wailing voice instead of the rich growl that has won her so many fans.
Winehouse appeared to have trouble remembering the words to her own song, her dancing was stilted and out of step and she was unsteady on her feet.
By contrast compatriot Pete Doherty, in the headlines for his self-confessed drug addiction and affair with supermodel Kate Moss, led the Babyshambles in a haunting rendition of “Delivery”.
Asked what was behind this apparent change, he told Reuters: “Yeh, it’s all different now. I don’t know ... God, and melody.”
Munich music fan Ina Rousseau and her friend Ana Jordan particularly liked Doherty’s performance. “He was here. He was singing and not falling down,” said Jordan, 26.
The Foo Fighters kicked off the show, one of the music industry’s biggest nights outside the United States, with a thrashing medley comprising their new single “The Pretender”.
They also wove in a short musical homage to the Sex Pistols’ classic track “God Save the Queen”.
Lavigne bounced through a burlesque performance of “Hot” while Mika brought the crowd to its feet with “Grace Kelly”.
Underlining a good night for Canada, Album of the Year went to Nelly Furtado for “Loose” which has sold around seven million copies to date.
30 Seconds to Mars triumphed in the Rock Out category and Linkin Park took home the award for Band of 2007.
MTV said over 50 million votes were cast across Europe, with the public deciding most of the main awards for the first time.
The Video Star prize went to Justice for the second year in a row for “D.A.N.C.E”, beating out competition from acts including Kanye West.
In Copenhagen last year, the U.S. rap star rushed on stage when Justice beat out his video and argued forcefully that he should have been awarded the prize.
The 2007 event was hosted by U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg, who appeared in several costumes during the night, including traditional German lederhosen, a long fur coat and even a kilt.
There were minor hiccups along the way, including when he got a band’s country of origin wrong. And when he asked Turkish band Yakup how badly they wanted to play on the stage, one of its members stood up and removed his trousers.
“That’s beautiful in your own world,” Snoop Dogg quipped.