DUBLIN — Irish luck was with Britney Spears Thursday night in Dublin when the pop sensation won four MTV Europe Music Awards, every category in which she was nominated, including best song for “Baby One More Time.”
The only act coming close to matching Spears’ sweep were local lads Boyzone, who took both best album and best U.K. and Ireland act. The wins suggest that, at least in the teen-pop genre, music can still be very much international, in contrast to rock, dance and other genres where local tastes tend to dominate.
Seminal rocker Iggy Pop opened the sixth annual event in Ireland. Other performances included such diverse acts as Spears, the Corrs, Marilyn Manson and Whitney Houston.
One of the highlights of the awards — hosted for the second time by Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating — was the presentation by Mick Jagger of the Free Your Mind Award to U2 singer Bono.
The nod is given for humanitarian work such as Bono’s efforts to cancel third-world debt. In a recorded message U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan said Bono “reminded world leaders that working to a better world is their first duty.”
Bill Roedy, MTV’s international prexy described the show as “getting better every year,” adding that the broadcast was the biggest MTV has to offer because it is carried on all 25 MTV feeds around the world. The potential audience is 1 billion, though Roedy concedes actual viewer number in the lower hundreds of millions.
The complete list of winners: Female, Britney Spears; male, Will Smith; dance, Fat Boy Slim; hip-hop, Eminem; rock, the Offspring; R&B, Whitney Houston; Nordic act, Lene Marlin; group, Backstreet Boys; pop, Britney Spears; German act, Xavier Naidoo; album, Boyzone, “By Request”; Italian act, Ello e le Storie Tese; breakthrough artist, Britney Spears; U.K. and Ireland act, Boyzone; video, Blur, “Coffee & TV”; song, Britney Spears, “Baby One More Time.”