Held at Seville’s Conference and Exhibition Center on Sunday night, the awards ceremony featured performances by Becky G, Dua Lipa and Rosalía, among others. Eilish won the prizes for best new artist and best song, for “Bad Guy,” beating out Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Post Malone, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, who did win for best artist. Swift was voted best U.S. act and best video for “Me!”
Eilish, Swift and Mendes were not present to receive their awards, but sent loving messages to fans and supporters.
K-pop sensations BTS also won two awards, for best live performance and biggest fans.
Dua Lipa opened the show Sunday evening with her first global stage performance of her newest song, “Don’t Start Now,” drawing all eyes to a bright wall full of dancers dressed in yellow outfits that contrasted with her fully black outfit. Other performances involved Mabel, who sang “Don’t Call Me Up” with dancers sporting neon pink pants and light purple outfits.
Halsey performed on an angelic and mystical stage with floor and walls embellished with flowers and horses. The “Graveyard” singer waltzed as she showed off a few ballet and acrobatic, ending with the flowers and horses in flames and the singer in a graveyard pose, lying on the floor.
Rosalía, who opened her performance with “Di Mi Nombre,” emphasized her background in flamenco while infusing the Spanish genre with urban sounds and rhythms, resulting in an eye-popping choreography of more than 50 women switching from flamenco to hip-hop moves.
Becky G, who hosted the evening, performed alongside Akon. The duo sang their latest hit, “Como No.” Throughout an evening that honored popular songs and artists in categories such as rock, electronic music and K-Pop, Becky G changed into an array of costumes while speaking Spanglish dialogue, bringing Latin sass to the stage and highlighting an outstanding year for Latin music and women.
Becky G hit the stage for a second time for a solo and fiery performance of some of her biggest hits: “Sin Pijama,” “Mayores”and “24-7.”
While heartthrob Niall Horan lit up the stage with “Nice to Meet Ya,” Green Day threw the audience back to the early 2000s, singing “Father of All” and “Basket Case.” NCT 127 performed “Highway to Heaven,” and Ava Max started with “Torn” and ended her performance with “Sweet but Psycho.”
Liam Gallagher, who was honored with the first ever Rock Icon Award, closed the evening with a heartfelt performance of “Once,” followed by “Wonderwall,” which was accompanied by a chills-inducing chorus, as the whole venue sang along.
Full list of MTV EMA Winners:
Best video: Taylor Swift, “Me!”, with Brendon Urie, Panic! at the Disco
Best artist: Shawn Mendes
Best song: Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
Best collaboration: Rosalía, J Balvin, Con Altura ft. El Guincho
Best new: Billie Eilish
Best pop: Halsey
Best live: BTS
Best rock: Green Day
Best hip hop: Nicki Minaj
Best alternative: FKA Twigs
Best electronic: Martin Garrix
Best push: Ava Max
Best work, stage: Muse, Bilbao, Spain 2018
Biggest fans: BTS
Best U.S. act: Taylor Swift
Best U.K. act: Little Mix