The music industry’s biggest stars hit the red carpet on Oct. 25 for the annual European Music Awards at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy.
Hosted by singer Ed Sheeran and actress Ruby Rose, the show was full of expected wins and occasional surprises—one of which was country singer turned pop, Taylor Swift, winning only one award, after receiving a record-breaking nine nominations.
While Swift’s “Bad Blood,” featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar, snagged her the award for “Best Song,” Justin Bieber was the undeniable king of the night, and it’s likely he’s not feeling all that sorry about it. Winning the awards for “Best Male,” “Biggest Fans” and, not surprisingly, “Best Look,” the Canada native took his acceptance speech as an opportunity to let fans know he got his looks from his “momma.”
Bieber’s electrifying “Where Are You Now?” collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo also won him the award for “Best Collaboration.”
When Bieber wasn’t busy running endless laps back onto the stage to accept his four main awards, other stars landed themselves some notable wins.
British boyband One Direction won “Best Pop,” while self-proclaimed “bad girl” Rihanna won “Best Female.” “Thinking Out Loud” singer Ed Sheeran’s smooth vocals landed him the awards for “Best Live Act” and “Best World Stage,” while up-and-coming pop singer Shawn Mendes won “Best New Act” and “Best Push.”
Coldplay’s laid back vibes won them the award for “Best Rock,” Lana Del Rey’s recent album-release most likely prompted her “Best Alternative” win and Nicki Minaj, once again, proved that she can compete with the guys—winning “Best Hip Hop.”
Other awards included the “Video Visionary Award,” won by Duran Duran, and “Best Video,” which went to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Downtown” collaboration.
It wouldn’t be the EMA’s without the show’s trademark, over-the-top performances, and this year’s lineup satisfied every high flying, laser flashing craving viewers might’ve had.
One of the night’s best performances was Justin Bieber’s electronic rendition of “What Do You Mean?” Clad in all red, Bieber danced among what seemed like 1,000 lasers—only to be joined by a posse of backup dancers dressed in all white.
While it was a little difficult to hear Beiber over the screams of his lady fans, the performance was definitely one of the most memorable.
Even though she might not have given fans a laser light show, Jess Glynne’s performance of “My Love” lit up the room with her brilliant vocals. Most commonly known for her Clean Bandit collaboration, Glynne showed us all there’s no place we’d rather be than listening to this London native.
Other powerful performances included Tori Kelly’s melody of the hit tunes “Should’ve Been Us,” “No Scrubs” and “Ready Or Not.” While Kelly, who hit the stage rocking a golden pantsuit, is often noted for her first big time track, “Dear No One,” this performance showed that she’s got a whole lot more to offer.
Ed Sheeran and Rudimental hit the stage and delivered a killer rendition of their song “Lay It On Me.” While the performance spared us the dance numbers and pyrotechnics, the group’s vocals made a definite impression. Needless to say, the performance reassured us all why Sheeran was chosen to host the show.
Ellie Goulding was one of the less memorable performers of the night, serving up a softer rendition of “Love Me Like You Do,” from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. While the performance was vocally impressive, the track’s been around for a while and everyone was hoping for something new.
Pharrell delivered a bright and colorful version of “Freedom,” surrounded by backup dancers in front of stained glass windows. While “Freedom” didn’t receive as positive of feedback as the singer’s ultimate dance-jam “Happy,” the performances dedication to the European refugee crisis gave the song a whole new, emotional meaning.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis stayed true to their usual asthenic, delivering the craziest, most out-of-this-world (literally) performance of the night. Besides Macklemore’s impressive rhymes and choral singer Eric Nally’s soulful voice, the performance was far from visually dull—as viewers watched Nally float above the crowd in-front of an intergalactic screen.
Other acts included Jason Derulo’s dance-focused performance of “Want You To Want Me,” the ever-eclectic Twenty One Pilots’ rendition of “Tear In My Heart” and James Bay’s vocally impressive “Hold Back The River.”
While the annual EMA’s have passed, fans who missed all the action can watch recaps of the performances and acceptance speeches at mtv.com.
– Liam McGurl