MTV EMAs 2018 – The ABLE2UK Review

E M A logo 2018
E M A logo 2018

Confession time! The ABLE2UK crew are rubbish at celebrity spotting…

Opened in October 1997 the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the largest permanent art exhibitions in Spain. It’s a must for tourists. Over this weekend Muse will take in the cultural pieces of work framed on its walls and appreciate the sculpture craftsmanship inside one of Europe’s most breath-taking buildings.

Unfortunately for us Matt, Dom and Chris’ visit won’t coincide with ours. However, there is a small party just a few brush strokes away from where we are standing. Consisting of just three bodies one is well built with a bodyguard physique, the other has a laminate around his neck indicating he has access all areas at tomorrow’s award ceremony and the third looks like a performer…But with our lack of showbiz knowledge and eye for a famous face we have absolutely no idea who he is.

The museum plays an important part of that rare piece of work which only goes on public display once a year…The MTV Eurovision Music Awards. Outside the building a temporary sculpture stands alongside the Nervion River…The MTV EMAs logo. Replicas are hard to come by, they are only handed out to those who have made their mark in music history, but in just over twenty four hours and the private dinner tonight held at this very building for MTV executives following a triumphant Muse concert a lucky few will take one home.

From one type of artist to another. It’s show day. Tonight millions across the world will tune in to see the live broadcast from Bizkaia Arena, also known as the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

Ahead of Little Mix’s opening number with Nicki Minaj Perrie was spotted handing out tickets to fans around the city. The lucky ones were in for a treat as their performance of Woman Like Me which followed Minaj’s Good Form was pretty spectacular from the moment it started with Nicki lowered down in a huge birdcage surrounded by dancers in monk-like uniforms before she went to bathe on a makeshift desert island.

If a ship-wrecker in rehearsals sent a message in a bottle that tonight’s host needed a grand entrance then Hailee Steinfeld certainly received the note. The actress did what she does best and ‘acted’ out a scene where she pretended to steal an EMA from the Guggenheim Mission Impossible style.

Staying on the MI theme Brendon Urie did his Ethan Hunt impression when the lead singer of Panic! At The Disco abseiled down a building and appeared on stage joining his bandmates to perform High Hopes. The nominees for Best Artist had their own expectations when the first award on the night was handed out won by Camilla Cabello who dedicated the prize to all her fans. Aw how sweet!



Spanish sensation Rosalía has plenty of admirers, especially on these shores so it’s no surprise her performance of Malamente was met by thousands of clapping hands but despite being in her native country she didn’t pick up Best Song. That went to Camilla Cabello for Havana – she’s doing pretty well tonight already isn’t she?

So Ethan is the master when it comes to death defying stunts, but it’s Bond who goes unbeaten if you are looking for a funky gadget. We are sure 007 would had been impressed if he witnessed Steinfield’s presentation on what tonight’s state of the art stage was capable of doing. It can change colour. It can rise. It can display messages around its circumference….In fact if the platform spelt out the winner of Best Electronic (Marshmello) maybe Lindsay Lohan would have pronounced his name correctly! Of course it was impossible to catch the winner’s facial reaction because it’s always hidden behind that large white cross-eyed box he wears on his head!

This year’s award is linked with the forthcoming Bumblebee movie and features Back To Life by Hailee Steinfield in its soundtrack. So have a guess what the next life performance is! The host ‘transforms’ to singer as she belts out the track surrounded by engine sparks flying up into the air.

She needs a short break so what better time is there to have Muse fan Terry Crews to introduce a song performed at San Mamés Stadium last night by…Muse! Taken their artistic skills away from their visit to the museum on Saturday the Devonshire trio play a show-stopping version of Pressure. Don’t forget you can read our full review of the gig!

It’s time for this year’s pièce de résistance…the return of Janet Jackson who will receive the 2018 Global Icon award later tonight.The megastar performs a melody of Made For Now (off her new forthcoming album) Rhythm Nation and All For You it’s an incredible moment – course it’s incredible – it’s Janet bloody Jackson for goodness sake!

One category which wasn’t covered in the show was the introduction of the MTV EMA Generation Change Award for a young person who has made a difference. Nominees included 20 year-old Ellen Jones who is an activist for LGBTQ+ rights, mental health and disability rights and 26 year-old Hauwa Ojeifo who has given people with mental health a voice in Nigeria.

Dua Lipa may have done anything so ‘ground-breaking’ as Ellen and Hauwa but she knows how to record flipping good pop songs…So good are they that she scooped Best Pop! Whilst the singer-songwriter was busy collecting her prize former EMAs host Bebe Rexha was busy taking a bath…on stage…scrubbing up in time for her performance of I’m a Mess with dancers dressed as priests and fireworks going off here, there and everywhere.

Camilla Cabello probably needed a cold shower as well after scoring a hat trick by picking up Best Video for Havana – Can we just spare a thought for poor old Young Thug who featured on the track and has yet to have a mention tonight?

One singer who defiantly didn’t go unnoticed tonight was Halsey who started her Without Me elaborate act inside a transparent box underneath raindrops. Next up was Panic! At The Disco who collect Best Alternative and an artistic mural performance from Nicki Minaj, David Guetta and Jason Derulo teaming up for Andrea Bocelli’s Time to Say Goodbye – the cover may had split opinion depending what side of the Z generation you fall under. The boring old farts would have classed this as a terrible mashup of modern art whilst the cool young cats would cut off their left ear to download this unique musical masterpiece.



No sooner had Minaj finished her night at the opera she had the equally important job collecting Best Hip Hop thanking her management and her mom. Aw how sweet!

Hailee Steinfield introduced Alessia Cara as someone who “makes music with a message and gives a voice to an entire generation.” She was spot on because we reckon the billion people watching across the globe were transfixed by the singer’s baggy grey suit as she played Trust My Lonely in front of a backdrop featuring natural landscapes but it was Jack & Jack who gave us the most fun of the night with Rise as they were hoisted up and down from that mind-blowing multi-purpose circular stage above a set of their moms house. For those who know the song you’ll know what we are referring to and for those who haven’t a clue why don’t you switch over to the classical music awards?

Camila is back (still no sign of Young Thug!), but this time it’s to present an award instead of accepting one as she teams up with Jason Duello and hand over the Global Icon to Janet Jackson which means the EMAs are coming to an end and the after party is just moments away.

Before we make our way to the post celebration, taking place at a hall next door until the small hours of the morning, there’s one final performance from Bastille, Anne Marie and Marshmallow...A mash up of Friends and Happier underneath giant inflatable Marshmellow heads.



Marshmello eh? The faceless DJ which has kept music journalists guessing for years ever since he appeared on the scene a few years ago! Not one writer has managed to uncover his true identity or even had the chance to see him unmasked….Hang on a minute….That ‘artist’ we didn’t recognise at the Guggenheim yesterday?...

You know what? We may be pretty good at celebrity spotting after all!

MTV EMAs 2018 Results

Best Artist

Camila Cabello

Best Video

Camila Cabello, "Havana ft. Young Thug"

Best Song

Camila Cabello, "Havana ft. Young Thug"

Best Pop Artist

Dua Lipa

Best New Artist

Cardi B

Best Look

Nicki Minaj

Best Hip-Hop Artist

Nicki Minaj

Best Live Artist

Shawn Mendes

Best Rock Artist

5 Seconds Of Summer

Best Alternative Artist

Panic! At The Disco

Best Electronic Artist


Biggest Fans


Best World Stage

Alessia Cara: MTV Spotlight @ Hyperplay, Singapore

Best U.S. Act

Camila Cabello