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Culture

US Stars Swamp MTV Europe Awards

American stars crossed the Atlantic to sweep up the big prizes at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Rome on Thursday, with Hip Hop duo OutKast landing three awards and rhythm and blues crooner Usher taking two.

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Rome's Colosseum served as the backdrop for the free concert

OutKast took the Best Song award for "Hey Ya" as well as Best Video and Best Group, while Usher took the Best Album prize for "Confessions" and a kiss on the cheeks from Naomi Campbell when she presented him with the award for best male artist.

"I hope you don't get tired of us. We only do what we do," Big Boi of OutKast said to their cheering fans as they received their award.

Britney Spears, whose "Greatest Hits: My Prerogative" album has had the biggest selling first week for a Greatest Hits release by a female artist in British chart history, won the best female artist award.

Los Angeles band Maroon 5, responsible for such catchy hits as "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved", took the Best New Act award, and were also nominated for Best Group and Best Song at the awards ceremony, broadcast live on MTV Europe.

Political punches

Hosted by US rapper Xzibit and actress Sarah Michelle Gellar at a tented Hippodrome in the Rome suburb of Tor di Valle, the evening had the expected award-ceremony mix of profanity, inanity and punchy political attacks.

In keeping with the Roman theme, Xzibit was hauled onto the stage atop a chariot and drew applause when he used a rude Italian epithet to describe US President George W. Bush, saying there was a good chance that the program was being seen in several countries he had no plans to invade.

Opening act Eminem rapped out a more outspoken attack on Bush with his new hit "Mosh," which contains the lyrics "this monster, this coward, that we have empowered."

MTV Awards in Rom

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani descended from a clock to perform her new single during the show

Other performers at the music channel's 10th Europe Music awards included Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, the Beastie Boys, Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys, who took the prize for Best Rhythm and Blues act.

Colosseum concert

Meanwhile, Anastacia punched out her hit "Left Outside Alone" live on stage outside Rome's Colosseum in front of an estimated 100,000 people, in a concert that ran from late afternoon to give the awards greater public appeal.

Among the other major prizes doled out at the annual awards Thursday was Best Rock act, to Linkin Park, Best Alternative act to Muse and Best Hip Hop to D12.

The award for Best German Act was given to the Berlin punk band Beatsteaks.

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