Justin Bieber, Lil Nas X take top prizes at Video Music Awards
2021 MTV Video Music Awards – Show – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, U.S., September 12, 2021 – Justin Bieber arrives on stage to accept the award for Artist of the Year. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
(Reuters) -Rapper Lil Nas X and pop star Justin Bieber won the top prizes at MTV’s annual Video Music Awards (VMA) show on Sunday, in a ceremony packed with surprise appearances, live performances and thousands of masked fans.
Newcomer Olivia Rodrigo and K-pop band BTS were also among the big winners at the first major awards shows in New York to be held with a full audience of fans and celebrities since the coronavirus pandemic.
Bieber, 27, returned to the VMA stage for the first time in six years and took home Moon Person statuettes for artist of the year and best pop for his single “Peaches.”
“Music is such an amazing outlet to be able to reach people and to be able to bring us all together,” said Bieber, referring to the dark days of the pandemic.
Last year the VMAs took place in New York without a live audience and with most performances recorded in advance because of the pandemic.
Lil Nas X, 22, a gay, black musician who had a breakout hit with “Old Town Road” two years ago, won video of the year for his gay rights anthem “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
“Let’s go gay agenda!” said the musician, accepting the award.
Alicia Keys sang “Empire State of Mind” outdoors against the backdrop of the New York City skyline, while Doja Cat, Ed Sheeran, veteran New York rapper Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly were among those on stage.
Sunday’s ceremony also marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of MTV as a channel dedicated to playing music videos.
Madonna, also celebrating her 40 years in the music business, opened the show in a surprise appearance. “They said we wouldn’t last. But we’re still here,” Madonna said.
Jennifer Lopez and Cyndi Lauper sent fans wild with unexpected appearances, with Lauper weighing in on abortion rights saying that women want “control over our bodies.”
Rodrigo, 18, took home three awards, including best new artist and song of the year for “Drivers License” in the fan-voted awards, capping a break-out year.
“This is so insane. This has been the most magical year of my life,” Rodrigo said, dedicating her win to “all the other girls who write songs on their bedroom floor.”
BTS was named group of the year and won best K-Pop for single “Butter”, and sent thanks by video from South Korea.
Rock band Foo Fighters got the Global Icon Award recognizing their 25 years in the music industry.
The 12 time Grammy-winning band performed a medley of hits with “Charlie R.I.P” scrawled on their drum kit in tribute to the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.
PARIS (Reuters) -Lionel Messi said on Wednesday he wanted to power Paris St Germain to their first Champions League trophy, putting the tearful farewell he bade to Barcelona behind him after signing a two-year contract with the deep-pocketed French soccer powerhouse.
Messi joined the star-studded PSG as a free agent after Barcelona, where he begun and always imagined he would play out his career, acknowledged last week they could no longer afford him.
Thousands of PSG fans thronged the side’s Parc des Princes stadium, daring to believe their team would now deliver the Champions League having hoovered up domestic titles since free-spending owners Qatar Sports Investment European arrived in 2011 but always fallen short of European soccer’s top prize.
Messi said he was hungry to add more Champions League titles to the four he won with Barcelona.
“That’s why I am here (to win trophies). It’s an ambitious club,” Messi told a news conference.
After years of failing to get beyond the quarter-finals, PSG finally reached the final in 2020, but lost to Bayern Munich, while last season they went out in the semi-finals.
“My dream is to win another Champions League, and I think this is the ideal place to be to do that,” added Messi, who in a nod to his first squad number in senior football at Barcelona will wear the No. 30 jersey at PSG.
The Argentine conceded he did not know when he would make his debut, having not played since winning the Copa America with his country last month.
“I’m coming back from holiday. I need a bit of a pre-season to get myself going,” he said.
FAIR PLAY RULES
Messi will join former Barca team mate Neymar in Paris.
The Brazilian left Catalonia for the French capital in a world record 222 million euro ($259.94 million) deal in 2017, but never hid his desire to link up with his close friend once again on the pitch.
They will now line up with French Word Cup-winner Kylian Mbappe in a potent front-three attack.
“To play with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe is insane,” Messi continued.
France’s top soccer league has always been perceived as the poorer cousin to top flight leagues in neighbouring England, Germany, Spain and Italy.
PSG’s Qatari money is enabling PSG to compete at their level, though much of the rest of the league is way adrift in terms of resources. In unusual comments praising a club’s transfer dealings, Ligue 1 President Vincent Labrune celebrated Messi’s signing as a big win for French soccer.
“The arrival of Messi will bolster the attractiveness and visibility of our championship across continents,” Labrune said in a statement. He thanked the club’s owners for creating what he called one of sport’s biggest franchises globally.
However, some commentators have asked how PSG could afford to sign Messi within the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA.
UEFA’s FFP rules are designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn. Spain’s La Liga’s own FFP rules are more stringent than UEFA’s, with each club given a salary cap they must adhere to.
“We’re always attentive to Financial Fair Play. It’s the first thing we check with the commercial, financial and legal people before signing someone,” PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi told the same news conference.
Messi held up his new shirt to thousands of fans outside the stadium, waving shyly as they beat drums, released smoke flares and chanted his name.
Local fan Nelson Dross, 17, told Reuters: “Why do I love him? Because he makes us dream. He’s a magician, a genius.”
Messi wept on Sunday as he told Barcelona fans he was leaving his childhood club.
“I’ll always be thankful to Barca and their fans. I went there as a boy, and we had some good and bad times,” he said on Wednesday.
Asked how he would feel if the time came to square up against his old club, he replied: “It would be nice on the one hand to face them in the Champions League, especially with fans, but on the other strange to go back to my home in another team’s shirt – but that’s football.”