The MTV European Music Awards 2021 which took place on 14 November 2021 saw a lot of expected and unexpected winners up on the stage. Korean pop sensation BTS and British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran were the big winners at the 2021 MTV European Music Awards. BTS won the most awards, including Best Pop, Best Group, Best K-Pop and Biggest Fans, but were not on hand to collect the awards. Sheeran, who was present, won Best Artist and Best Song for ‘Bad Habits’, reports variety.com.
Meanwhile, Italian rock band and 2021 winners of the Eurovision Song Contest Maneskin won Best Rock. After the usual round of thanks during their acceptance speech, lead singer Damiano David said: “We also want to say that people usually told us that we were not going to make it with our music – well, I guess you were wrong.”
Show host and performer Saweetie won Best New, Nicki Minaj won Best Hip-Hop and Olivia Rodrigo Best Push. Colombian singer Maluma who won Best Latin said: “Colombia is not Pablo Escobar anymore – Colombia is Maluma, baby.”
YUNGBLUD won the award for Best Alternative. “I would like to say that this award is a tribute to individualism – this is an award for the 13-year-old boy from the north of England who was absolutely terrified to be who he was,” the musician said, “If you are out there and you feel like you cannot be who you are, you can be. Keep fighting. Keep being brilliant.”
The Best Collaboration award went to Doja Cat ft. SZA for ‘Kiss Me More’, while David Guetta won Best Electronic and Billie Eilish was honoured with the Video for Good award. Justin Bieber, who was the frontrunner with eight nominations, didn’t win any awards. Among the regional local act categories, Taylor Swift won for the US and Little Mix for the UK and Ireland.
After a virtual 2020, the event was live from the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sportarena in Hungary and aired on MTV in 180 countries. The show drew inspiration from Budapest’s famous thermal spas and the Danube, the river that runs through the city, and featured a water theme with stages that appeared to be floating. Ed Sheeran opened the proceedings with a rendition of his latest single ‘Overpass Graffiti’ and later on performed his hit number ‘Shivers’.
The world premiere performance of Maluma’s ‘Mama Tetema’, included a segment where he and his dancers were drenched in artificial rain, in keeping with the water theme.
One of the highlights of Saweetie’s hosting routine was interacting with ‘Squid Game’-inspired soldiers in hot pink suits and MTV-branded masks. She also performed a medley of her hits, including ‘Best Friend’, ‘Tap In’ and ‘OUT OUT’. With a medley of two unreleased songs, ‘Coconuts’, and ‘Hit It From The Back’, Kim Petras made EMAs history as the first trans artist to perform at the show.
There were also performances by OneRepublic, Maluma, Imagine Dragons, Maneskin, Griff and Girl in Red. YUNGBLUD closed the night with a performance of his latest single ‘Fleabag’ that was replete with pyrotechnics and ended with him and his band trashing the stage.