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Thursday, November 12, 1998 Published at 12:25 GMT


MTV's Saintly surprise

A surprise guest is to stand in for Melanie Blatt (second from left)

All Saints lead the nominations for this year's MTV European Music Awards - and are due to unveil a surprise new member when they perform at the ceremony in Milan on Thursday night.

[ image: Melanie as a pregnant covergirl back in August]
Melanie as a pregnant covergirl back in August
Shaznay Lewis and sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton will be joined on stage by a special guest to replace Melanie Blatt, who is preparing to give birth to her first baby.

The identity of All Saints' surprise sidekick is being kept a secret until the show starts at 2000 GMT, but tipsters are suggesting veteran diva Patti LaBelle.

All Saints reached number one earlier this year with a cover of her 1974 hit Lady Marmalade.

Millions of people worldwide are expected to watch the show, to be presented by model and US MTV presenter Jenny McCarthy.

Madonna and REM performing live

[ image: Madonna: Appearing live in Milan]
Madonna: Appearing live in Milan
Madonna and REM lead the list of acts joining All Saints in performing live at the show, along with the Manic Street Preachers and rapper Busta Rhymes.

All Saints lead the list of nominations with the Beastie Boys, being nominated for four awards: Best Song for Never Ever, Best Album, Best Group and Best Breakthrough Artists.

In little over fifteen months the group have come from nowhere to enjoy three number one singles, two Brit awards, and commercial and critical success for their album All Saints.

They have also become favourites of the tabloids. Melanie Blatt is expecting a child by Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender, while Nicole Appleton is seeing pop star Robbie Williams - who is also performing at the show. Natalie Appleton reportedly split with children's TV host Jamie Theakston, while Shaznay Lewis has been linked with Blur lead singer Damon Albarn.

The Beastie Boys also have four nominations: Best Album for Hello Nasty, Best Rap Act, Best Video for Intergalactic and Best Group.

Madonna is up for Best Female, Best Dance Act and Best Album for Ray of Light.

Spice Girls try to stay Best Group

[ image: Eagle Eye Cherry: Up for three nominations]
Eagle Eye Cherry: Up for three nominations
Eagle Eye Cherry comes out of his sister Neneh's shadow with three nominations, along with Natalie Imbruglia.

The Spice Girls have two, as they try to retain their Best Group prize from last year.

Other highlights include Robbie Williams slugging it out with Will Smith, Puff Daddy, Eagle Eye Cherry and Ricky Martin for Best Male.

Guest presenters will include George Michael, Spice Girls Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm, Boyzone's Ronan Keating, Fun Lovin' Criminals and soccer star Ronaldo.

Most of the awards are voted for by viewers of MTV's European channels.

MTV Networks Europe President Brent Hansen said: "I am confident this is going to be the best show we've ever broadcast in the history of MTV Europe. We are proud to provide such a great showcase for existing and emerging talent."

The show can be seen live on MTV in the UK at 2000 GMT, while terrestrial viewers can see a repeat showing on Saturday night on ITV.

The nominations in full are:

  • Best Male - Eagle Eye Cherry, Puff Daddy, Ricky Martin, Will Smith, Robbie Williams.

  • Best Female - Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Natalie Imbruglia, Janet Jackson, Madonna.

  • Best Group - All Saints, Backstreet Boys, Beastie Boys, Garbage, Spice Girls.

  • Best Rock Act - Aerosmith, Garbage, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Smashing Pumpkins.

  • Breakthrough Act - All Saints, Aqua, Eagle Eye Cherry, Five, Natalie Imbruglia.

  • Best Rap Act - Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Pras, Puff Daddy.

  • Best Dance Act - Dario G, Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Madonna, Prodigy.

  • Best Video - Aphex Twin (Come To Daddy), Beastie Boys (Intergalactic), Eagle Eye Cherry (Save Tonight), Garbage (Push It), Massive Attack (Teardrop).

  • Best Pop Act - Aqua, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Five, Spice Girls.

  • Best Album - All Saints (All Saints), Beastie Boys (Hello Nasty), Madonna (Ray Of Light), Massive Attack (Mezzanine), Robbie Williams (Life Thru A Lens).

  • Best Song - All Saints (Never Ever), Cornershop (Brimful of Asha), Natalie Imbruglia (Torn), Savage Garden (Truly Madly Deeply), Robbie Williams (Angels).

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