Red Carpet mag at the MTV Europe Music Awards


The city of Belfast was effectively rebranded this week by MTV for its 2011 EMA event. Red Carpet  went behind the scenes and before the stage to watch Lady Gaga confirm her status as the first lady of pop at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena.  Sat Bal (9 Nov 11)

The most noticeable thing about being at the MTV EMA is the constant din. And it just gets louder; from the subdued hum of the plane’s engines powering down at Belfast airport - to show night when we’re herded past expectant, noisy fans jostling behind barriers. They eye up glossy laminates variously emblazoned ‘Press’, ‘TV broadcast’, ‘Crew’  – work labels to their bearers but get-into-the-venue cards to the onlookers.  

One young fan seizes the moment, cleverly slinking into our group, only to be thwarted at the last minute by a clipboarded, finger-waving MTV PR. More noise as we cheer the girl’s ambitious opportunism. Who can blame her? They’ve been keeping vigil for days outside the Odyssey Arena in the freezing cold for a whiff of Gaga, Bieber,Gomez…

Inside the venue the din escalates to cacophony when artists, presenters and ‘who’s that?’ finally file onto the red carpet (which is actually bubble gum pink). Looks like MTV’s ‘screamer castings’ (selecting fans on the basis of their lung capacity) worked well tonight. Their shrieks alert the press corps standing behind the pink carpet, shoulder-to-shoulder, tripod-to-tripod ready to bellow questions when the talent walks down the carpet. 


(L) Coldplay on the carpet

(R) Headset, clipboard, radio… MTV’s Jenny Needham gets battle-ready

The status of the walker decrees the noise level. So when EMA hostess Selena Gomez leads the pink carpet charge it gets predictably rowdy. Arriving in a short lace Marchesa dress she tells us that she is ‘a little bit nervous but it’s great to be here’ and that she’ll be changing her look 10 times during the night.

Wardrobe dominates the press-talent exchange. Red Carpet has a good banter with Katy B which descends into a tease about her black jumpsuit. ‘Which afterparty will you be at tonight, Katy?’  She shoots back ‘Oh , that’s easy – the official MTV party that I’m performing at. My music’s made for parties and it’s going to be one hell of a party.’    ‘And will you be changing for that?’ Look of horror. ‘God, yes. My boobs will probably fly out if I perform in this!’

She has a point but smiles off our advice not to change, just as Katy Perry totters in the background atop high-heeled saddle shoes in cute lil white bobby socks. 


 (L) Katy B in that outfit                                (R) The Hoff presents to Lady Gaga

The wardrobe theme takes a strange turn when Jonny Quinn of Snow Patrol bounds over in cordial mood. We discuss…socks. ‘Yes, socks,’ smiles the Northern Irish drummer ‘my rider states that I have to have new socks at every gig. Did you know that Frank Sinatra used to change socks several times a day?’  He positively beams at Red Carpet’s suggestion that he chase up sponsor Replay for a branded pairs of socks. ‘I’ll check the goodie bag.’

Appropriately enough for a huge music show, talk turns to music and Snow Patrol’s ‘open’ sound check last night at Belfast City Hall. Hundreds of fans turned up to the traffic-stopping performance. What was that like?  ‘We’ve always been well loved at home and we don’t take that for granted. The Belfast gigs are our best. It was the longest sound check we’ve ever done, around 9 songs, usually its one -and it was great to have the crowd singing along.” 


“There goes Lady Gaga looking like the fantasy offspring of Leigh Bowery and Isabella Blow.”


Jessie J was more muted than her figure-hugging yellow leopard Dolce & Gabbana dress but then she did have the serious task of paying tribute to Amy Winehouse later during the show. ‘I saw her as someone that broke the boundaries for artists like me to break through. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here,’ said Jessie J. ‘I still don’t know what exactly I’m going to say when I make the tribute to her.’   


 Katy Perry and Selena Gomez pink carpet it

With the pink carpet over, it’s time to take position for the EMA show. Our vantage point is the Sky Box at the Odyssey Arena, 24 luxury hospitality suites which give great views over the stage. Personal waiter service and a private bar means we can toast each artist who wins a gong. A lot of gongs – a lot of toasts. There goes Lady Gaga looking like the fantasy offspring of Leigh Bowery and Isabella Blow as she collects each of her four awards.  


    Irina Shayk and Bar Rafaeli                                                  Lady Gaga bows acceptance

Queen got the house joining in with Adam Lambert singing over Brian May’s guitar, a night sealed with May and Roger Taylor collecting Global Icon. Coldplay, Justin Bieber , Bruno Mars, LMFAO, Snow Patrol, David Guetta, Jessie J, Jason Derulo and the Chili Peppers pushed the audience further.



As the ‘goodwill’ flowed in the Sky Box, guest consensus was that this EMA was certainly a worthy one – not bad since most of us had attended at least eight MTV Europe Music Awards in  previous years. There were niggles though. The streaker ‘interview’ with Hayden Panettiere was not only quite laboured but also interfered with our enjoyment of the chicken drumsticks and other nibbles in the suite. Selena Gomez elicited a few head shakes as she cavorted through her sassy roleplay. At one point a colleague leaned over and whispered ‘It just feels really wrong watching this.’

 What wasn’t wrong was the triumphant night that Belfast earned - and well deserved.  



Hyundai, Swatch, Replay and Dell.

Richard Godfrey and Bruce Gillmer – EMA executive producers



Lady Gaga: Best Female; Best Song - ‘Born This Way’; Best Video – ‘Born This Way’: Biggest Fans

Justin Bieber: Best Pop; Best Male

Thirty Seconds To Mars: Best Alternative; Best World Stage

Bruno Mars: Best New; Best Push

Queen: Global Icon

Eminem: Best Hip Hop

Katy Perry: Best Live

Linkin Park: Best Rock

BIGBANG: Best Worldwide


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