MTV fans wondering whether to expect the unexpected


Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 15

Miami is braced for an invasion of glitz and glamour as celebs headed to the steamy US city for the annual MTV music video awards, where the likes of rapper Jay-Z and pal Beyonce will snag some coveted "Moonmen."

Celebrities at next Sunday's bash include some of the entertainment world's elite, including Alicia Keys, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Tickets to the show are sold out, but music fans can look forward to free outdoor concerts or, if they're lucky enough to score an invite or slip past the bouncers, some serious partying.

A slew of lavish parties will rock hip South Beach, only a bridge -- or a boat ride -- away from the American Airlines Arena where the main event will be staged and broadcast to a worldwide audience.

Star gazers will keep their eyes on the water as the celebrities show up for the awards ceremony in yachts that are certain to be showy and powerful.

And fans will keep their eyes peeled for any headline-grabbing incident after last year's show was marked by Madonna's

kissing session with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and another MTV production had Janet Jackson suffering what she termed a "wardrobe malfunction," which left her right breast exposed.

As such MTV will have to walk a tightrope, by not going too far in the outrage stakes, but also deliver bolstered ratings -- even though sponsors are a little worried about the potential for scandal, fans were wondering whether to expect the unexpected again.

But one certainty is that Jay-Z will be leaving the arena clutching more than one Moonman -- the lopsided astronaut statue handed out to award best music video performances.

He topped the list of nominations, grabbing six for his gritty 99 Problems clip, followed by Beyonce, No Doubt, Usher and Outkast, who scored five nominations each.

On Friday, MTV will host a block party with performances by Lil Jon, Pitbull, Lil Scrappy, 8Ball and MJG.

The music video awards are expected to attract at least 10,000 people, including

hundreds of celebrities and their entourages.

Nelly and Christina Aguilera are slated to perform Tilt'cha Head Back, from one of Nelly's upcoming albums, and Alicia Keys will sing If I Ain't Got You, from her latest release. Usher, Kanye West, Yellowcard, Lil Jon, Jet, Petey Pablo, Hoobastank, Jessica Simpson, Ying Yang Twins and Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe are also scheduled to perform.

The show will be presented by a slew of top-rated entertainers, including Jennifer Lopez, Hilary Duff, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith, P. Diddy, Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Tony Hawk, Ludacris, Ashlee Simpson, LL Cool J and Jon Stewart.