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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 11:48 GMT
MTV awards feel Winehouse effect
By Emma Jones
BBC News, Munich

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse avoided the press but still managed to cause a stir

Whatever her private lows, professionally Amy Winehouse is at her pinnacle, receiving another accolade at this year's MTV Europe Music Awards in Munich on Thursday night.

She was named artist of the year - one of the few awards not voted for by the public, but by the music industry.

Winehouse had not walked the red carpet at the start of the evening and journalists were later agog as the singer, wearing a denim pinafore, walked up to collect her prize.

She seemed overwhelmed by the thousands of screaming fans, looked about to say something into the microphone, and then left with everyone unsure if she had actually said: "Thank you."

The show cut to Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, running his own celebrity bar area, who looked baffled for a moment before carrying on interviewing singer Joss Stone.

Later Winehouse performed Back to Black, showing off the voice she is justly famous for.

Don't do drugs and alcohol - you do the math, go figure
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters gives lifestyle advice

As far as the European media have been concerned, the entire event was dominated by troubled British talent, whose trials and tribulations have been documented all over the continent.

Both Winehouse and Pete Doherty's band Babyshambles were late additions to the bill - and there was even a rumour that they would do a duet.

When Doherty arrived on the red carpet the stampede was of the kind normally reserved for the likes of Madonna.

Celebrity culture

Looking visibly healthier, Doherty said of his latest stint in rehab: "Something has just clicked this time".

Asked if he was sure he would not lapse back into his drug addictions, he emphatically said no, adding: "I've got an implant - do you want to see it?"

He also denied rumours he was getting engaged, saying ruefully: "I've knocked them on the head."

Pete Doherty (third right) says he is back on the straight and narrow

True to his word, Doherty was not spotted at the main aftershow party in Munich, where Wyclef Jean played a private set to an audience which included Michael Stipe from REM.

Doherty's very public private problems, and the desire for celebrity trivia, has made some wonder if the media were as much part of the problem as the pressure of the music industry.

But young star Joss Stone had other thoughts to offer: "It's a matter of choice. I like to drink, I like to party, but if I'm going to do my job correctly I can't drink the night before I work, I have to make the choice."

Nelly Furtado, whose album Loose was voted best album by MTV fans, had more thoughts on current celebrity culture.

"I make songs and record videos," she pointed out. "I don't do perfume and clothes. It keeps my music pure."

Artists walking the red carpet may have thought they had stumbled into rehab themselves, so often were they asked to give advice to Winehouse and Britney Spears - who made her disastrous comeback appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in the US in September.

"Don't do drugs and alcohol," shrugged a grinning Grohl. "You do the math, go figure."

Knock-out performances

Much depends on the presenter of the night as to the atmosphere of the awards. They had a colourful choice this year in Snoop Dogg, who was refused entry into the UK this year after being given a caution by British police.

Mika gave a rousing performance but then left early

He was given the general thumbs up for living up to all hip-hop expectations, wearing sharp suits, posing with girls in bikinis and conducting a mock orchestra of half-dressed women.

An estimated 80 million European MTV viewers voted for most of the winners of the different categories but the event was dominated by North Americans.

Canadian girl rocker Avril Lavigne picked up two awards, including best solo artist, and fellow Canadian Furtado winning best album for Loose.

An absent Rihanna picked up an urban music award, while Justice won best video star.

My Chemical Romance, the Foo Fighters and Mika delivered some of the knock-out performances of the night.

But Mika was spotted leaving the event through the back door before it had finished - he had been complaining of a sore throat.

It was left to rock band Muse to fly the flag for the UK, picking up two awards, including best headliner.

Otherwise the UK had to take pride in the fact that adding Babyshambles and Winehouse to the bill at the last moment had saved the awards from complete uneventfulness.

Not so much crowd pleasers as headline teasers.

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