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MTV awards go well minus intrusion

Friday, September 01, 2006

New York (Reuters): Jack Black dressed as a Moon Man, a monkey graced the red carpet, rapper Lil' Kim wore an orange prison jumpsuit and a gate-crasher tried to steal the top prize -- what else but MTV's Video Music Awards. But despite MTV's efforts to paint itself as a venue for outrageous antics - most notably the 2003 onstage kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears - there was nothing too shocking yesterday in the slick show at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Only at the end was there a deviation from the otherwise tame script when pop-punk quartet Panic! at the Disco were walking up to collect the trophy for video of the year. A man in the audience grabbed the microphone from one of the band members and introduced himself as ''Six.'' ''MTV never gave me my own show,'' he complained, making an unsuccessful bid to grasp the statuette from the hands of presenter Jennifer Lopez.

The cameras pulled away and the intruder was swiftly dealt with, and a flustered Lopez quipped ''That was all planned.'' In contrast to last year when veterans Green Day dominated with seven trophies, there was no runaway winner -- the first dozen major awards went to a dozen different artists. MTV set up a stage by the red carpet to keep screaming fans amused before the show as a stream of musicians and celebrities trod the velvet, from wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan to tennis star Andy Roddick, in town for the U S Open.

Some celebrities even brought their pets - Peter Wentz from the band Fall Out Boy sported a small black and white monkey on his shoulder, while R&B star Monica apparently could not be separated from her large black dog. Actor Jack Black hosted the show, promising to spice up an event whose reputation for shock tactics has faltered. Black started with a skit in which he dressed up as a ''Moon Man'' in imitation of the silver statuettes in the shape of an astronaut planting a flag that are handed out to the winners.

Rap diva Lil' Kim, returning to the high life after nearly a year in prison, made light of her jail time, walking on stage wearing an orange jumpsuit and flanked by men dressed as prison guards. She presented the first award of the night, for best male video, to British soldier-turned-singer James Blunt for his hit song ''You're Beautiful.'' Pink, who won the award for best pop video for ''Stupid Girls,'' said there was more spice off camera than on. ''There's been some stunts, just backstage,'' she told reporters backstage. ''It's hard these days when everything is so sort of politically correct,'' she added.

Kelly Clarkson of ''American Idol'' fame won best female video for the second year in a row, though she did not attend. Beyonce Knowles had jaws dropping when she performed in a tan trench coat over black vinyl boots and hot pants before picking up the prize for best R&B video for ''Check on It.'' Sultry Latin star Shakira and the funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, who came into the night as favorites with seven nominations each, took just one minor award each (choreography and art direction). Another big name shut out was Madonna, whose five nominations translated into not a single win.

Chamillionaire won the rap video award, the Black Eyed Peas won in the hiphop category and the Pussycat Dolls won for best dance video. The All-American Rejects won for best group video and Avenged Sevenfold picked up best new artist in a video. Socialite Paris Hilton was the butt of several jokes -- introduced at one point as ''the world's most attractive producer of independent film'' in a reference to a home-made sex video involving her that was posted on the Internet.

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