The votes are in and the nominees are counting down the minutes in expectation as the annual MTV Europe Awards get ready to air to the world from Barcelona.
"I'd like to thank my mom..."
With an audience expected to be in the range of one billion worldwide, the eyes of MTV's global viewers will turn towards Europe on Thursday night as a star-studded selection of performers fill the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona for the music channel's annual European Awards ceremony.
The award ceremony, now in its eighth year, honors stars from around the world for their musical contributions over the past year and relies on the votes of the European viewing public via the Internet or by telephone. In 2001, over two million votes were cast by Europe's MTV generation, which resulted in awards for Gorillaz, Craig David and Limp Bizkit amongst others when the ceremony was held in Frankfurt, Germany.
The number of votes cast this year is over 15 million. It is expected that over eight million Europeans will tune in to see if their nominations make a difference.
Seven artists are in the running for a clean sweep
U2 have a possible four awards to look forward to come Thursday night.
This year, there is no clear favorite to be the night's biggest winner, with seven artists going into the ceremony with four nominations each. U2, Eminem, Pink, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Coldplay and Kylie Minogue will all be hoping for at least one gong for the sideboard at the end of the evening.
The lucky winners from the 25 categories will be presented with their prestigious awards by celebrities such as James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan, his latest leading lady, Halle Berry and FC Barcelona's Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert.
It will be the job of host and nominee for Best Hip-Hop Performer Sean 'P.Diddy' Coombs to work the live crowd of over 12,000 people. Enviably, he'll have the help of Robbie Williams, Wyclef Jean, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston amongst many others who will be performing at the awards.
Europe is strongly represented with country categories
Although the awards will have a truly international feel, the inclusion of Europe in the title is underscored by the strong showing of European artists in the main categories as well as 10 country specific categories.
Die Toten Hosen, Herbert Grönemeyer, No Angels, Sportfreunde Stiller and Xavier Naidoo will battle it out in the German category while national musical treasures from countries as varied as Russia and Romania to France and Spain will vie for their own awards.
The diversity on show is good for music, says MTV boss
The awards show a change in musical trends.
The diversity of artists being honored at this year's awards ceremony is good news for a music industry that has been dented of late by the global financial downturn. The MTV voting seems to show that consumers are expanding their musical tastes from the narrow market of manufactured pop bands.
MTV Europe boss Brent Hansen told Reuters that "we very much want artistic merit to win through. A show like this can help to show that we believe in this kind of thing."
MTV has earned the right to call itself a global player. Since its premiere in1981, the music channel has branched out with specifically targeted stations in over ten countries across five continents with reception available all over the world. It now offers not only music television but also radio and online services and has recently branched out into film production.