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Pop Superstars Perform for 1 Billion MTV Fans

From Eminem to Christina Aguilera, the superstars of pop strut their stuff Thursday night for a worldwide audience of 1 billion fans tuned into the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Barcelona is reliving the glory days of the 1992 Olympics but this time it is pop and not athletic stars who are taking center stage at the Palau Sant Jordi to compete for glory. Even James Bond has come to town to help give out the prizes.

More than 15 million viewers of the music channel have cast their votes in this year’s awards. U2, Kylie Minogue, Eminem, Coldplay, Pink, Shakira and Enrique Iglesias are all up for four awards each.

True to the hype that reigns supreme in the pop industry, MTV boasts that the show is “the most widely broadcast music awards event in the world” and MTV Europe boss Brent Hansen revealed: “It has cost us several million pounds.”

For that kind of money he has secured one of the most impressive cast lists of the year.

Controversial rapper Eminem, emulating the feat achieved last year by Jennifer Lopez, has topped both the album and movie charts in the United States with his feature film debut “8 Mile” and its soundtrack.

British star Robbie Williams, who has just signed a record $127 million deal with EMI, is now hoping to crack the elusive American market with his new album.

For Britain, the glory days of the Sixties when The Beatles and the Rolling Stones dominated the U.S. charts are long gone. But the British group Coldplay, who are also performing in the MTV show, have made inroads into the Transatlantic market.

Raunchy pop diva Christina Aguilera, veteran star Whitney Houston and Latin heart-throb Enrique Iglesias add some intriguing flavors to the pop cocktail while Bon Jovi, currently riding high in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, hope their career-long sales could now top 100 million with their latest album.

Hip hop star Wyclef Jean was seduced by the audience potential. “It’s a chance to reach one billion people,” said the star who hosted the awards ceremony two years ago in Stockholm but now hands over that mantle to rap star Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Hansen said the glittering line-up was a refreshing change in an era when manufactured bands are flooding the market.

“We very much want artistic merit to win through,” he told Reuters. “A show like this can help to show that we believe in this kind of thing.”

Even those giving out the prizes are stars in their own right. They range from FC Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert to James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.

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