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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 15:23 GMT
Final MTV tickets snapped up
Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake has arrived in Edinburgh to prepare for the show
Music fans have queued overnight to secure the final tickets for the MTV Europe Awards in Edinburgh.

Dozens of people braved the cold as the final 50 tickets went on sale at a Princes Street store.

Up to one billion people are expected to tune in to watch stars including Kylie, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.

First Minister Jack McConnell said Scotland's biggest ever television audience was a chance to showcase the best the country has to offer.

Tickets for the event were previously only available over a telephone hotline and sold out in 14 minutes.

First in line, Jason Derr, 28, from Seattle in the United States, said he could not afford to miss a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to see the event.

His friend, retail worker Iain Clark, 22, from Dundee, who was also guaranteed one of the last remaining tickets, said: "For me the awards are never going to come to Scotland again.

"I thought camping out would be a bit of a mad thing to do and the atmosphere in the queue has been great, with people playing music and that sort of thing."

'Fantastic opportunity'

Organisers were also offering free tickets to the MTV in the Gardens concert.

The first minister said: "Having one billion people tuning in to watch Edinburgh and Scotland at its best is a fantastic opportunity for us.

"It is an opportunity to show the world our creative talent, the warmth of our welcome and our ability to put on a party that can rival anyone else."

Venue
The area has been transformed by MTV's big top arena

On the eve of the awards, MTV Networks Europe president Brent Hansen attacked Pop Idol-style TV talent shows, saying "from a musical point of view, they do not have any value".

Mr Hansen, who had also slated manufactured pop bands last year, said he thought the rise in reality show pop singers had "devalued us".

"Disposable and ephemeral will, I hope, become less of an attraction both to people who are signing the artists and to the audience," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 100 students have been hired to take the place of some of the pop world's biggest stars every time they leave their seats.

Whenever singers such as Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott or Dido get up to go on stage, go backstage or even visit the bathroom, the students will be drafted in to sit temporarily at the stars' tables.

An MTV spokeswoman said the idea was that when TV cameras pan round to film the audience, no seats would be empty.

Students from Queen Margaret University College, Stevenson College and Perth College have been chosen for the honour of mingling with some of the industry's A-list stars.

The substitutes can only expect to occupy the seats for about 10 minutes and they may be called upon three or four times during the course of the night, the spokeswoman said.


SEE ALSO:
In Pictures: Stars arrive for MTV
05 Nov 03  |  Photo Gallery
Britney pulls out of MTV Awards
04 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Justin tops MTV nominations
29 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Scotland to host MTV awards
10 May 03  |  Scotland
Britney stalker sues for distress
24 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Spears considers London move
04 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Britney goes bhangra for comeback
19 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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