John Legend and K-pop stars rock Mnet Asian Music Awards

HONG KONG (AFP) - Thousands of screaming fans were treated to sexy dance acts and vocal performances, including two numbers by American singer John Legend, in Hong Kong on Thursday at one of the biggest events on the K-pop calendar.

R&B singer Legend - who topped the US billboards in May - was awarded the International Favourite Artist award and performed a moving rendition of his hit single All Of Me at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA).

"I come from a small town in Ohio and I always dreamed that I would be able to make music for a living," the 35-year-old nine-time Grammy winner told cheering fans.

"But I never dreamed that it would take me so many places and I'm so happy that I have fans in Asia who really love my music," Legend said at the city's packed World-Expo Arena.

Legend, who also performed his hit Green Light, shared the stage with Hong Kong star Eason Chan as well as K-pop songstress Ailee, girl band SISTAR and boy group EXO, among others.

An electric performance by all-female act Girl's Day and singer Ailee kicked off the awards ceremony, which saw EXO taking the gong for best male group and SISTAR named best female group.

"I sang a lot of songs this year, and I want to thank all the people who helped me to feel that singing was fun," singer IU, who was attending MAMA for the first time, told fans as she received the best female artist award.

Big Bang's Taeyang won the best male artist title.

American singing legend Stevie Wonder raised the roof at last year's MAMA event, also held in the southern Chinese city. The awards show is in its sixth year.

K-pop has made inroads into the international music market particularly with the global success of Psy's Gangnam Style.

The song's music video - that features the now-famous horse-riding dance - exceeded the maximum number of views on YouTube Wednesday, at over two billion, prompting the site to upgrade its system.

As well as music, Korean cinema and television dramas have also been increasing in popularity around Asia, a phenomenon known as "Hallyu", or the Korean cultural wave.