MILAN • Pop star Justin Bieber made a triumphant return to the European stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Milan on Sunday, scooping five prizes.
Bieber, who performed his What Do You Mean? hit to cheers, was the biggest winner of the night, taking Best Male, Best Look, Worldwide Act: North America, Biggest Fans and Best Collaboration for Where Are U Now? with Skrillex and Diplo.
Next month, he releases Purpose, his first album in three years during which bad behaviour offstage risked damaging his family-friendly teen heart-throb image.
"I don't take any of these moments for granted," Bieber, 21, said at the show. "That's where I belong, right there on that stage."
However, several big names were absent from the event. They included Taylor Swift, who won Best Song for Bad Blood, Rihanna who took Best Female, boyband One Direction who won Best Pop and Best Hip Hop winner Nicki Minaj.
The show, also broadcast in a virtual-reality stream through an app, was hosted by Orange Is The New Black actress Ruby Rose and British singer Ed Sheeran, who added Best Live Act and Best World Stage to his honours and performed with drum and bass band Rudimental.
Hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won Best Video for their hit Downtown which opened the ceremony in a West Side Story-inspired performance. They danced and jumped on stage as Downtown singer Eric Nally flew above belting out the chorus. Best Video is determined by MTV's editorial team, but most categories are decided through fans' voting.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed his well-known Time To Say Goodbye song before launching into a duet with American singer Tori Kelly. Stitches singer Shawn Mendes beat British singers Jess Glynne and James Bay, who performed on stage, to the Best New Act. MTV also gave awards aimed at non-English-speaking audiences. Pop-punksters 5 Seconds Of Summer won among Australian and New Zealand acts, and girl idol group Dempagumi.inc took the Japanese category.
The sounds of the 1980s were remembered with Duran Duran receiving the first MTV Video Visionary award, which honours "the greatest pioneers in the history of the music video art form".
Wrapping things up was Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams, who got the crowd on its feet performing his track Freedom.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE