Pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes and aerial acrobatics ruled the night at the 2021 MTV European Music Awards show in Hungary’s capital Sunday.
English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran won best artist and best song for ‘Bad Habits’, while K-pop stars BTS snatched four awards at MTV’s Europe Music Awards, which returned as an in-person event after a virtual 2020 edition due to the pandemic.
MTV said the EMAs, hosted in Budapest, were held at the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sport arena, which would be “a global celebration of music for all audiences around the world”.
Lil Nas X was awarded best video for ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),’, which the rapper accepted via a video message. Meanwhile Korean band BTS won the most awards with four including best pop, best K-pop, best group, and biggest fans.
First-time EMA winners M’.OYenneskin took home best rock, while show host and performer Saweetie won best new. The American rapper descended onto the stage riding a giant snowflake for her own medley of songs.
Nicki Minaj earned a top award for best hip-hop, Olivia Rodrigo was awarded best push, Maluma won best Latin, and YUNGBLUD snagged the award for best alternative.
Also performing at the EMAs was Norwegian indie pop act girl in red, with her hit single ‘Serotonin.’ English singer-songwriter Griff gave a debut performance of her song ‘One Night,’ while American pop-rock group One Republic performed the previous night at the MTV World Stage on Budapest’s Heroes’ Square.
Taking the best rock award was Italian band and first-time EMA performers Maneskin, who took the stage amid flying sparks and a giant neon sign beaming the name of their song ‘MAMMAMIA.’
For the first time, the ‘MTV EMA Generation Change Award’ winners were recognised during the EMAs main show, honouring five young people promoting equality.
The show derived inspiration from Budapest’s popular thermal spas and the Danube River, which runs through the capital, with stages that appeared to be floating.
Grammy award-winning Sheeran opened the night surrounded by neon graffiti to perform his latest single, ‘Overpass Graffiti.’ Later he performed his chart-topping hit ‘Shivers.’ Imagine Dragons returned to the EMAs for the debut of their new single ‘Enemy.’ Bathed in laser lights, the best-selling band rocked the stage alongside Grammy-nominated rapper and artist J.I.D and a squad of dancers.
Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter and best alternative award winner YUNGBLUD closed the night with a pyrotechnics-filled performance of his latest single ‘fleabag’.