MTV kicked off the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Thursday night by staging the Europe Music Awards in the German capital.
The evening’s big winners were A-list royalty the family Z — Jay-Z walked off with the urban act prize and wife Beyonce collected a trio of trophies for female, song (“Halo”) and video (“Single Ladies”).
The event, broadcast into 532 million homes around the world, marked the first time the EMAs have returned to a host city.
“In 1994, five years after the wall came down, we held our first Europe Music Awards show in Berlin. That symbolized not only Germany coming together but also Europe coming together,” said MTV Networks Intl. chairman-CEO Bill Roedy.
Irish supergroup U2 — which picked up the award for live act — performed to 10,000 fans outside, using the landmark Brandenburg Gate as its stage. U2 began a medley of hits with “One,” described as a love song to the city.
Lead guitarist the Edge said, “We were here in Berlin 20 years ago recording ‘Achtung Baby.’ We wrote ‘One’ here, and it really brought us back together as a band.”
Bono and his compatriots also brought the show to a close as MTV ended the live broadcast with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a surprise duet with Jay-Z.
The kudocast was hosted for the second consecutive year by Katy Perry.
The majority of the show was held in the city’s O2 World arena, with performances by the likes of Green Day, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Shakira and Leon Lewis, while local act Tokio Hotel — whose members were all born in the former East Germany just after the Iron Curtain came down — rocked the O2 World audience with their brand of teen rock.
With the network pulling out all the stops to make the event a fitting opener to the milestone anniversary for the city, a star-studded cast was also lined up to present the awards to music’s A-list, including actors Juliette Lewis, David Hasselhoff and Jesse Metcalfe, as well as music artists Lil’ Kim, the Jonas Brothers and Backstreet Boys plus world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko.
And the winners are:
Group: Tokio Hotel
Video: “Single Ladies,” Beyonce
Song: “Halo,” Beyonce
Rock: Green Day
New act: Lady Gaga
Live act: U2
MTV Push artist: Pixie Lott
World stage performer: Linkin Park
European act: Manga