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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 00:42 GMT
Christina puts the tart in tartan
By Stephanie Todd
BBC News Online Scotland

Christina Aguilera
One of Christina's many costume changes
The fireworks may have rained down over Edinburgh on bonfire night, but the biggest bang of the week was undoubtedly saved for Scotland's first ever MTV Europe Music Awards.

Crowds gathered outside a specially-constructed circus tent in Leith hoping to catch a glimpse of as many stars of music and screen as they could arriving for the event on the banks of the Forth.

All eyes were on young host Christina Aguilera at the start of the night, who many in the industry thought was a surprise choice of presenter for Europe's biggest music event and one that was beamed live to more than one billion people worldwide.

Singer Pink was reported to have said Aguilera was the wrong choice in a newspaper interview the day before the ceremony.

And Kelly Osbourne - daughter of legendary rocker Ozzy - went as far as asking one celebrity arriving on the red carpet before the show if he thought "she was going to be crap?".

Roar of approval

She later called Aguilera a "cow" for demanding that Osborne junior was removed from the main entrance prior to her arrival.

And Aguilera's diva demands did not end there, with her insistence on more candles to be put in her dressing room while she got ready for the show - a request which left staff rushing around frantically at the last minute.

However any petulance was soon forgotten as the star got a distinctly Scottish roar of approval as she took to the stage throwing off a bizarre nun outfit to reveal leather chaps and a barely-there pale pink bodice - definitely putting the tart in tartan as one journalist backstage remarked.

Justin Timberlake  (left) and The Black Eyed Peas perform live on stage
Justin Timberlake (left) and The Black Eyed Peas perform live
And if Aguilera's countless revealing outfits were the highlight for the guys in the crowd, the girls will without a doubt remember the awards for Justin Timberlake.

His "I got one" yell when collecting his first of three awards on the night was quickly drowned out by the roar of an appreciative crowd who welcomed his first appearance on stage with a noise that threatened to lift the roof off Edinburgh's Big Top.

It was Justin's impromptu beat box performance with the Black Eyed Peas that was arguably the best performance of the evening, closely followed by The White Stripes whose rocking set of Seven Nation Army got an already hyper crowd going bouncy-bouncy Scottish-style.

The heartthrob performer, appearing for the first time in Scotland, admitted to having already sampled Scottish culture the evening before the show.

I've tried haggis, I've tried black pudding - and I loved them both. I always try and sample the culture of all the new places I visit and this has certainly been memorable
Justin Timberlake
Timberlake said: "I've tried haggis, I've tried black pudding - and I loved them both. I always try and sample the culture of all the new places I visit and this has certainly been memorable.

"Scotland is a beautiful, beautiful country and the people are so nice, it's been amazing."

Tartan theme

Indeed anyone who witnessed the event could not ignore the distinctly tartan theme running from start to finish.

For Scottish singers Sharleen Spiteri, of Texas, and Shirley Manson, of Garbage, it was about time their country was in the music industry spotlight.

Speaking backstage, Manson said: "Scotland is definitely under-utilised as a country and I'm very proud that MTV has based its awards ceremony here at last.

"It's a wonderful event, it's just a pity that not more Scots could have been here on the night."

Scottish singers Sharleen Spiteri, of Texas, and Shirley Manson, of Garbage
Scots Sharleen Spiteri, of Texas, and Shirley Manson, of Garbage

A view echoed by Scots band Travis who moaned that Scotland was usually ignored because of "some big place called London".

However Sharleen Spiteri was glad not to be performing for once.

"I get to enjoy the night more this way," she said.

Her one request, however, was that the vast number of American stars at the show took time to pronounce the name of the capital correctly. "They keep calling it Edin-borrow", she said.

"What's with that?"

Film star Vin Diesel
Film star Vin Diesel wore a kilt

Clearly delighted to be joining the star-studded event for the evening was Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell, who chose not to follow American actor Vin Diesel's example by donning a kilt.

He boasted backstage in his new suit that Edinburgh is "the best place in the world for a party".

He added: "The impact for the city over this whole week is much bigger than we could have anticipated. We estimate that this will boost the local economy by 4m but the benefits will be much more in the longer term for Scotland.

"It puts us on the map for being able to host major world events - it's a real turning point for us."

However the last word of the evening must go to triple award winner - and the Edinburgh crowds firm favourite - Justin Timberlake, who looked truly humbled when appearing at the after show press conference.

Rounding up his night he said quietly, "If I could dream up a picture perfect night - it still wouldn't have been as good as this."

I'm sure that the thousands of fans who flocked to the event on the river bank would agree.

The BBC's David Sillito
"Pop bedlam descended on Edinburgh"

MTV awards rock Edinburgh
06 Nov 03  |  Scotland
In pictures: MTV Music Awards
06 Nov 03  |  Photo Gallery

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