Berlin holds MTV awards, 20 years after Wall fell
By Sarah Marsh
BERLIN (Reuters) - Pop star Beyonce and hip hop artist Jay-Z will perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Thursday, being held in the German capital to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Irish rockers U2 will also play an open-air concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate to coincide with the awards, an annual event which is one of pop's music's biggest nights outside of the United States.
The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War that split the city, was opened on November 9, 1989, leading to the reunification of east and west Germany 11 months later.
"It's really good to give (the awards) some meaning, more meaning, and music is such a wonderful celebration of life," U.S. pop singer Katy Perry, who will be hosting the awards for the second year in a row, told Reuters in an interview.
Perry said the show would be inspired by the "Cabaret" film with Liza Minnelli, set in 1930s Berlin, and would be darker, sexier, and more naughty than last year.
While the awards are based in Europe, they tend to be dominated by big U.S. names, and this year is no exception with New Yorker Lady Gaga and Nashville-based Kings of Leon leading the way with five nominations apiece.
Compatriot Beyonce is up for four nominations, while Detroit rapper Eminem and Californian punk rockers Green Day are shortlisted for three awards each.
Perry, nominated for Best Female and Best Video, hosts while British singer Joss Stone will welcome guests on the red carpet.
"It's fun to be on the other side of things, asking the questions," said Pete Wentz, from Fall Out Boy, who will be interviewing artists back stage.
MTV said the cast presenting awards would include Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, French actor Jean Reno and television star David Hasselhoff. Other artists performing include German pop rock band Tokio Hotel and Latin singer Shakira.
Lady Gaga, renowned as much for her extravagant outfits as for her electro-dance pop, is nominated for Best Song ("Pokerface"), Best Live Act, Best New Act, Best Female and Best World Stage Performance.
Kings of Leon, who initially achieved success in Britain before finding fame in their native U.S. with their fourth album "Only by the Night" in 2008, are up for Best Song ("Use Somebody"), Best Live Act, Best Group, Best Rock and Best World Stage Performance.
Beyonce, who has enjoyed a successful solo career since leaving Destiny's Child, was nominated for the Best Female, Best Song ("Halo"), Best Live Act and Best Video ("Single Ladies").
Eminem will be vying for Best Male, Best Urban and Best Video with "We Made You," which won Best Hip-Hop Video at the MTV music video awards in the United States in September. Green Day are nominated for Best Group, Best Live Act and Best Rock.
European acts U2, Pixie Lott and La Roux received two nominations apiece.
Music channel MTV invited fans to decide the winners by voting for their favorite acts via the website www.mtvema.com, and last year it said 100 million online votes were cast.
(Editing by Mike Collett-White)