Eminem made his dramatic live return, Shawn Mendes cemented his A-list status, there was a strangely subdued stage invasion, and absent frontrunner Taylor Swift was snubbed at every possible turn at the 2017 MTV EMAs, held Sunday night in London.
The 19-year old Mendes was arguably the evening's biggest winner, drawing the loudest high-pitched screams from the crowd whenever his name was mentioned and taking home awards for best artist, best fans and best song for “There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back”. He also performed th song at the show, which took place in the British capital for the first time since 1996.
In line with MTV's decision to scrap male and female categories for its Movie and VMA shows earlier this year, this was the first EMAs without gender-specific awards.
Alongside Mendes, other big winners at the event included Eminem, who kicked off the show with the live premiere of his new single “Walk On Water”, accompanied by a string orchestra and the song's co-writer, Skylar Grey, seated at a piano and filling in for Beyoncé.
The rapper was subsequently crowned best hip-hop artist, collecting his award from Prophets of Rage members Chuck D, B-Real and Tom Morello.
Later in the show, Camila Cabello continued her successful year, taking home the title of best pop. The Cuban-born singer also delivered one of the show's more colorful performances, leading dozens of dancers through a heavily stylized “Havana” complete with a striking swimming pool set design.
Ed Sheeran, who co-hosted the EMAs in 2015, accepted the award for best live via video speech -- as did Kendrick Lamar, winning best video for “HUMBLE”.
British singer Rita Ora proved an entertaining host, beginning the show with a pre-filmed skit that saw her running through London's streets in a dressing gown as she made her way to the venue, passing the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, along the way. Later, Ora performed a carnival-esque medley of “Your Song” and “Anywhere”.
Other standout performances on the night included Travis Scott flying high above the crowd on a mechanical eagle for “Butterfly Effect”; The Killers' Brandon Flowers hitting the high notes during an imperious “The Man”; British grime star Stormzy delivering a fiery “Big For Your Boots” from atop a mock British police car and Liam Payne with a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Strip That Down”.
The slick and highly polished two-hour show also saw Clean Bandit deliver an enjoyable medley of “I Miss You”, “Symphony” and “Rockabye”, accompanied by guest vocalists Julia Michaels, Zara Larsson and Anne-Marie. Meanwhile, Kesha delivered one of the EMAs more powerful moments with a stirring run through her empowerment anthem “Learn to Let Go”.
U2, who performed a free gig to 7,000 people at London's Trafalgar Square the night before, were also on hand to collect the previously announced global icon award from Thirty Seconds to Mars singer Jared Leto.
The show culminated in suitably celebratory style with David Guetta performing his new single “Dirty, Sexy, Money” alongside French Montana and Charli XCX.