FRANKFURT, Germany — Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber dominated the 2012 MTV European Music Awards, winning three trophies each, with Swift ruling over her first-ever appearance at the EMAs, taking the honors for best female act, best live act and best look.
“This is my very first EMA, I’m so excited. This is unreal,” Swift said after her first win, for best female act. “This is the first time touring in Europe. Thank you for giving us another reason to come back.”
Canadian wunderkind Bieber continued his reign over the international pop scene with wins in the best male, best pop and best worldwide stage act categories.
In the biggest surprise of the night, Rihanna — who had gone into the EMAs as a favorite with six nominations — was completely shut out, failing to win a single trophy.
With few exceptions — such as the best rock trophy for Linkin Park — the evening belonged to the up-and-coming, not the established acts. Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen won best song for her debut single Call Me Maybe, which has hit number one in 47 countries. She also took best Push act as the artist who most benefited from the MTV’s Push format, which gives heavy rotation to a new music artist with the aim of breaking them big worldwide. It seems to have worked for Jepsen, who was featured on MTV Push in September and whose debut album Kiss debuted at number one in Japan and in the top five in 15 territories.
Other winning newcomers included songstress Lana Del Rey, who won the award for best alternative act; and English-Irish boy band One Direction, who took both the best new act prize and the nod for biggest fans. And the act of the moment — Korean pop sensation PSY — took home the best video prize for Gangnam Style, which has officially become the most popular video in history with some 700 million views worldwide.
PSY also provided the highlight of Sunday night’s award show with a swaggering performance of his hit single that featured a short cameo by a Porta Potty-bound David Hasselhoff and a troupe of Gangnam Style dancers.
Supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum took on hosting duties for the 2012 EMAs, switching in and out of various tight-fitting Versace outfits as she maneuvered around the Frankfurt Festhalle, done up to resemble a huge circus tent complete with trapeze artists, contortionists and flame eaters.
While Taylor and Bieber dominated the evening, the EMAs were a global affair. Trinidadian-born American rapper Nicki Minaj took the best hip hop honor, Chinese Mandopop singer Han Geng won best worldwide act and French house DJ David Guetta won best electronic act. Guetta’s beats also featured on Rest of My Life, the first single off Ludacris‘ new album Ludaversal, which premiered during the red carpet lead-up to the EMAs,.
But while the night may have belonged to youth, the most moving moment at the 2012 EMAs came in tribute to late singer Whitney Houston, who was named this year’s global icon for her “significant impact on the world of pop music.” Alicia Keys presented the honor, calling the late pop diva “my homegirl (and) my friend.”
Other presenters and special guests at the 2012 EMAs included Kim Kardashian, Ludacris and the Jonas Brothers. The show featured live performances by acts such as Muse, No Doubt and The Killers.
2012 MTV EMA Winners
Best Song – Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Best New – One Direction
Best Female – Taylor Swift
Best Male – Justin Bieber
Best Pop – Justin Bieber
Best Live – Taylor Swift
Best Hip Hop – Nicki Minaj
Best Rock – Linkin Park
Best Electronic – David Guetta
Best Alternative – Lana Del Rey
Best Video – PSY – Gangnam Style
Best Look – Taylor Swift
Best Worldwide Act – Han Geng (Asia Pacific)
Best Look – Linkin Park
Best World Stage – Justin Bieber
Best Push – Carly Rae Jepsen
Biggest Fans – One Direction
Global Icon Award – Whitney Houston