5 talking points from the 2016 MTV EMAs

5 talking points from the 2016 MTV EMAs

The last time Rotterdam staged the MTV EMAs in 1997, The Spice Girls were named Best Group, Hanson took Best Single and Will Smith claimed Best Rap in a ceremony hosted by Ronan Keating: conclusive proof, surely, that not everything was better in the old days.

Quite how The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Zara Larsson will be viewed in 2035 is another matter of course, but all made positive impressions at last night's ceremony, along with a band who were thriving all the way back in '97, Global Icon winners Green Day.

Here, Music Week looks back on the event at Ahoy Rotterdam, which lived up to its reputation as one of the most colourful and fun-filled of the year.

1. American icons

The EMAs are known more for fashion statements than political statements, but Billy Joe Armstrong did not waste his chance to speak out about the "horrendous" upcoming US presidential election in his Global Icon acceptance speech. The Green Day frontman predicted his country was in for a "collective heart attack", prior to a fiery rendition of American Idiot, the 2004 song taking on new resonance in light of current events.

2. The Canadians are coming

As America prepares to go to the polls, there's a lot more harmony over the border in Canada - in more ways than one. The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and (notable absentees) Justin Bieber and Drake all won awards, while the latter two can also lay claim to being the hottest stars in music today.

3. Kings Of Leon rediscover their mojo

Truth be told, Kings Of Leon had never quite been the same since 'Pigeon-gate' (google it) but, after a couple of lacklustre albums, the Followills new LP WALLS marks a return to form. The band played a crowd-pleasing set for MTV World Stage at Rotterdam's tiny Old Luxor Theatre on Satuday night, and their rendition of latest single Waste A Moment was equally well-received at the EMAs. Class is permanent, as the saying goes.

4. Star power

If there were question marks about a lack of genuine A-list pop royalty - Bruno Mars aside - at this year's EMAs, then the production team more than made up for it with a spectacular and innovative show that proved greater than the sum of its parts. Performance highlights included The Weeknd emerging from a star-filled dome, DNCE on a floating platform above the audience and OneRepublic becoming soaked as 'rain' poured down from the stage. Executive producers Bruce Gillmer and Richard Godfrey can be rightly proud of their handiwork.

5. No 2017 announcement

In the past two years MTV announced the next host city as soon as - or just before - the previous edition had concluded. That hasn't been the case this year, presumably as there are still a few i's to dot and t's to cross. However, after Liverpool in 2008, Belfast in 2011 and Glasgow in 2014, history would suggest a return to the UK is on the cards in the not too distant future. Watch this space... 

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