LISBON HAS been chosen by MTV Europe as the best of 12 cities in as many years to host the European Music Awards. The award was given to Lisbon Mayor, António Carmona Rodrigues, at a ceremony in the capital’s city hall recently by MTV Europe senior vice president, Richard Godfrey, and VP-Head of MTV Portugal, Lorenzo de Stefani, writes The Resident’s reporter Chris Graeme.
The MTV European Music Awards were held on November 3 at the city’s Pavilhão Atlântico and its organisers say that the Portuguese audience was the best they have yet encountered since the show began.
Despite the success of the gala, which included a stunning performance by Madonna as well as Shakira, Robbie Williams, Anastacia and Gorillaz, the event was not without its critics. The spoof send-up of Kazakhstan by UK comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G) created bad feeling in the former Soviet republic, according to reports on Sky News. His comic creation, ‘Borat, the Kazakh journalist’, has apparently landed him in hot water with the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Kazakh Embassy in the US, which branded the joke as “utterly unacceptable in the way the comedian has portrayed the people of Kazakhstan”.
Other media within Portugal claimed that co-host broadcaster RTP should have been given simultaneous transmission rights to screen the show live on RTP Canal 1, while there was a notable absence of Portuguese presenters in the show itself.
Richard Godfrey told The Resident: “This is a privately sponsored, international show exclusive to MTV and, as such, it is quite normal to use stars of a high international stature, who are recognised worldwide. This is an event with a world scope and, unfortunately for Portugal, we simply don’t have the personality profiles or a Portuguese icon, who is known internationally, who could have given a more Portuguese flavour to the event,” said Rui Ventura, a spokesman for MTV Portugal. “We did use two Portuguese football celebrities – Luís Figo and Nuno Gomes – as well as the Azores born, Canadian singer Nelly Furtado. We would have used José Mourinho if we could have got him!” he said.
As the dust settles after the show, it was revealed that there had been six casting sessions to recruit 3,000 people to take part in the show as screamers, seat-fillers, dancers and paparazzi. There were 800 journalists, 5,000 international guests, 1,500 articles in papers, magazines and the internet around the world, 51 million hits on the official MTV Europe website, 12.8 million votes cast for nominated artists, and 1.3 million votes cast in Portugal alone.
Richard Godfrey said: “I really think this was the best show out of the 12 we have done so far. The reasons for this were not just the support we had from Lisbon, or the backdrop of the city and the fabulous venue, but from the crowd who excelled themselves – the artists loved getting that kind of reception.”
Accepting the award from MTV’s Richard Godfrey and Lorenzo de Stefani, Carmona Rodrigues thanked MTV, saying: “It is with enormous pride that I receive, on behalf of Lisbon, the Best Host City Award. It showed our capacity to stage such events and you are welcome, as are other organisations, at any time, to host international events in Lisbon.”