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Dave Matthews Band Tops At My VH1 Music Awards

Dave Matthews Band proved nearest and dearest to the hearts of fans, as their votes gave the Virginia group the bulk of the glory at the My VH1 Music Awards Sunday. Matthews and violinist Boyd Tinsley, accepting on behalf of their bandmates, left Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium with three awards – My Favorite Group, Must Have Album for Everyday and Damn I Wish I Wrote That! (Song of the Year) for “The Space Between.”

The group was also honored via a win for their fan site nancies.org in the Coolest Fan Website category.

DMB and U2 had a pack-leading six nominations each coming into the second-annual awards show. While the rootsy quintet batted.500, the pride of the Irish, competing in all the same categories, struck out each time.

The video for “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink must have happily gotten fans all hot and bothered, as they bestowed it with the Is It Hot in Here or Is It Just My Video? honor, as well as the title of My Favorite Video.

English songwriting softies Coldplay were the evening’s only other multiple winner; they were dubbed Best Kept Secret and won the Big in Japan (International) award.

Lenny Kravitz picked up My Favorite Male Artist honors, while No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani was voted My Favorite Female Artist.

All the evening’s winners, as well as the categories and nominations that spawned them, were determined by fan votes cast on VH1.com. Voting on the categories began in September, while the final polls remained open until the moment the winners were announced.

The all-fan selection process gives the show its signature, non-traditional categories, such as Navel Academy, for which Britney Spears’ belly button took top honors, and Your Song Kicked Ass but Was Played Too Damn Much, a bittersweet designation awarded to Staind’s “It’s Been Awhile.”

Alicia Keys made a great first impression on many with Songs in A Minor, as the soulful siren received the Welcome to the Big Time award. It didn’t get any more big time than the cast assembled for the remake of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” which included the likes of Fred Durst, Bono, Gwen Stefani and Jermaine Dupri. The song, recorded to benefit the Global AIDS Alliance and the United Way’s September 11th Fund, was deemed best collaboration with its There’s No “I” in Team win.

Christopher Walken was deemed the Best Actor in a Video for his soft-soled role in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice,” while Bon Jovi won for Hottest Live Show.

That group’s namesake, Jon Bon Jovi, and his bandmate Richie Sambora opened the ceremony with an acoustic rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” in honor of George Harrison, who died Thursday (see “‘Such A Beautiful Guy’: George Harrison Remembered By Bandmates, Peers, Admirers”). Accompanied by two cellists, the duo’s homage was bolstered by images of the former Beatles guitarist flashing on the large video monitor behind them.

Creed’s fiery performance of “My Sacrifice” took the show outdoors for an enormous production that began with smoke machines and concluded with a Fourth of July finale complete with rockets’ red glare. Beneath flaming scaffolding, guitarist Mark Tremonti heroically wielded his riffs while Scott Stapp’s ever-personal lyrics bellowed in the night sky during what seemed like a one-song concentrate of the band’s entire stadium show.

Two artists did double-time onstage to take part in choice collaborations. Mary J. Blige sang a medley of “Family Affair” and “No More Drama” from her latest album, No More Drama, before joining Sting for his “(If You Love Somebody) Set Them Free.” The duet found the pair alternating lines of verse, then freestyling vocals toward the song’s uptempo close. After Lenny Kravitz’s star-powered offering of “Dig In,” he and his band played backup to Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones singer’s “God Gave Me Everything” from his new solo album, Goddess in the Doorway. Kravitz took the reins on the solos before passing them to Mick for a song-closing harmonica jam.

Other performers included No Doubt (“Hey Baby”), Jewel (“Standing Still”) and Nelly Furtado (“Turn Off the Light”).

“Will and Grace” star Eric McCormack, as the evening’s host, drew on embarrassing ’80s bands, such as Wang Chung and Loverboy, for the occasional jibe at the Hollywood cast of presenters. He reached his comedic pinnacle early with an opening skit that parodied Elton John’s “I Want Love” video. Supplanting Robert Downey Jr.’s role with a poorly lip-synching McCormack, the spoof showed him walking from his trailer to the stage, stopping along the way to steal a crewmember’s donut, baste a turkey and burp a baby.

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