2017 MTV EMAs in London

Last night, the MTV European Music Awards returned to London for the first time in 21 years. Hosted by the city’s very own Rita Ora, the UK once again proved it deserves its place at the top of the international music scene with an awe-inspiring show.

Being London born and bred, I was ecstatic to secure entry to an event where tickets are almost more contested than the awards. Here, I bring you some of my favourite moments from last night, as well as some exclusives that you won’t find through watching the awards on TV.

As the clocks and crowd counted down in unison to international transmission, the atmosphere in Wembley Arena was electric. The EMAs 2017 kicked off with an eerily magnetic performance from US megastar Eminem. He showcased his brand new track Walk on Water, featuring the stunning vocals of Skylar Grey (in featured artist Beyoncé’s absence). The rapper would later receive the award for best Hip Hop Artist, despite, as he pointed out, not putting an album out for several years prior to this comeback.

Liam Payne’s performance of his hit solo song could have followed the nature of its title ‘Strip that Down’. But far from being a stripped back version, his team pulled out all the stops. With buddies to dance with, impressive technical staging and moving lighting rigs, it was a solid effort from the former One Direction member.

Camilla Cabello followed soon after, emerging from a wide, menacing eye on the main tele-visual wall to an intently familiar beat, introducing London to the sound of Havana. With her vocals on point, visuals became the next focus for this young star and the display did not disappoint. The performance enjoyed a convincing holiday vibe, complete with a swimming pool, parasols and sun loungers – not to mention an impressive flood of ballerinas-turned-bathers descending into it.

After some big US names, the tables turned back to our little island. What better way to celebrate and showcase the current UK grime sensation to the world than by getting Stormzy to enter the arena in a police car to flashing lights and fireworks? #Bigforyourboots

Perhaps one of the biggest moments of the night came during the Global Icon Award. U2, who had the night before previously recorded a performance for the evening at the foot of Nelson’s Column, made their way onto the stage and thanked the crowd and the industry. Some with words, Bono by soul.

Another big moment came when, during French Montana’s fiery rendition of Unforgettable, a crowd member managed to get onto stage and wave a banner. This later tuned out to be a YouTuber attempting a charity-based stunt.

Other notable performances over the evening came from Demi Lovato, who performed two songs including Sorry Not Sorry and Travis Scott, live from the wings of a giant eagle, suspended from the arena’s ceiling! Clean bandit also wowed the crowd, bringing out not one, but three artists recently featured on their songs (Zara Larson, Julia Michaels and Anne Marie).

Host Rita Ora, who changed her outfit for what seemed like once a minute, had a go too, taking centre stage for Your Song and Anywhere. It was later revealed that she accepted an award on behalf of all the ‘Artists for Grenfell’, a mass-collaboration cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. Proceeds from this song helped raise funds for families affected by the tragic West London tower block fire.

The EMA night drew to a close with an all-star finale as Mega DJ David Guetta took control of the stage with the first live performance of Dirty Sexy Money, alongside Charli XCX and French Montana. On theme, fireworks and green dollar bill cannons illustrated the otherwise trivial words. Even the cartoon-like set matched the lyric video visuals to a tee – a brand was born.

It was announced at the end of the evening that next year’s MTV European Music Awards will take place in Bilbao, Spain.

Scroll down to see the full list of 2017’s winners.



And now for some quick facts you won’t know unless you attend one of these events in person. The chaos is indeed organised…

– Whilst one performance is happening, elsewhere off camera, the stage is hurriedly being set up for the next act. The camera then simply turns and the process begins again.

– Between set changes there is next-to-no talking. This is an impressive and very clearly rehearsed operation; chitter chatter would just slow everyone down and cause delays.

– Once an A-lister act has finished, they often leave. They may or may not give the audience a little wave but more often than not they head out the way they came in. Job done.

– There are two hosts. While Rita Ora was seen on screens around the world as the official compare, the arena audience didn’t really hear that much from the singer when the camera went off her.

– Some artists are happy to be there (notably Zara Larson dancing off camera to Anne Marie) and some seem less so (Kesha was escorted off the stage looking a little shaken – but it was a big move for her to perform last night).

– Despite being an award show, very little time is allotted to award-giving when compared to performance time. These formalities are kept limited to keep pace and maintain optimal viewership.

– Unlike at a regular gig, where you might have a small window to pop out and grab a drink or nip to the bathroom, televised award shows mean television-length breaks. Where at home you might be able to run a few errands while the ads are on, here you could end up missing out, making it a real should I – shouldn’t I situation! Would YOU risk it for a chocolate biscuit?


The biggest winner of the night was Shawn Mendes, with three awards. When he performed ‘There’s Nothing Holding Me Back’ – it was clear that he is still a fan favourite.

BEST SONG: Shawn Mendes – There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back

BEST ARTIST: Shawn Mendes


BEST NEW: Dua Lipa

BEST POP: Camila Cabello

BEST VIDEO: Kendrick Lamar – Humble

BEST LIVE: Ed Sheeran


BEST ROCK: Coldplay


BEST ALTERNATIVE: Thirty Seconds To Mars

BIGGEST FANS: Shawn Mendes

BEST PUSH: Hailee Steinfeld

BEST WORLD STAGE: The Chainsmokers – Live from Isle of MTV Malta 2017

BEST LOCAL ACT: UK & Ireland – Louis Tomlinson, US – Fifth Harmony, Canada – Shawn Mendes


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