Material Girl flashback leads MTV awards show antics

— Just like her first time, Madonna made jaws drop and cheeks blush at the 20th annual MTV Video Music Awards -- only she had help Thursday night from the latest generation of video divas, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

Proving they've come a long way from their Mouseketeer days, the young pop tarts gave a gyrating, writhing tribute to Madonna to open the show. Dressed in the same kind of white bustier wedding dress Madonna wore while performing "Like a Virgin" during MTV's inaugural awards broadcast in 1984, Spears and Aguilera sang a cover of the not-so-innocent tune.

Then, while Madonna sang her new "Hollywood" in a masculine all-black outfit, she shared an open-mouthed kiss with both Aguilera and Spears.

It was all in a night's work for MTV's annual extravaganza, where mere music takes a back seat to wacky antics, barely there outfits and eye-popping performances.

There were no big winners -- Missy Elliott's "Work It" won two awards, including video of the year, while Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Beyonce had three apiece. The 71-year-old Johnny Cash, nominated seven times for "Hurt," won once.

Besides Madonna, Spears and Aguilera's bump-and-grind number, there was 50 Cent's pimp-a-licous performance of "P.I.M.P.," during which he was joined onstage Snoop Dogg, the ubiquitous former pimp Bishop Don Magic Juan, members of his G-Unit posse -- and a bevy of half-naked women.

"Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech -- isn't it nice to see that his dream has finally come true?" cracked host Chris Rock after 50 and company left the stage.

Nominated for seven awards was Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" video, which takes a not-so-subtle dig at ex-girlfriend Spears; the video features Timberlake exacting revenge on a cheating Spears look-alike.

Timberlake won best pop video for "Cry Me a River," and best male video, beating out Cash.


AP Photos

Britney Spears, left, Madonna, center, and Christina Aguilera perform during the MTV Video Music Awards at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Spears and Aguilera joined Madonna's in singing "Like a Virgin," a throwback to the Material Girl's earth-shaking, erotic performance at the 1984 MTV awards show.

"This is a travesty! I demand a recount," he said, before paying tribute to Cash.

"My grandfather raised me on Johnny Cash," Timberlake said, "and I think he deserves this more than any of us in here tonight."

Although Cash had hoped to attend, he was hospitalized with a stomach ailment.

Winners at the MTV Video Music Awards

Video of the Year: "Work It," Missy Elliott

Viewer's Choice Award: "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," Good Charlotte

Rap Video: "In Da Club," 50 Cent

R&B; Video: "Crazy in Love," Beyonce featuring Jay-Z

Hip-Hop Video: "Work It," Missy Elliott

Rock Video: "Somewhere I Belong," Linkin Park

Female Video: "Crazy in Love," Beyonce featuring Jay-Z

Male Video: "Cry Me A River," Justin Timberlake

Pop Video: "Cry Me a River," Justin Timberlake

New Artist in a Video: 50 Cent, "In Da Club"

Group Video: "The Scientist," Coldplay


Missy Elliott accepts the Best Hip-Hop Video of the Year award for "Work It," which also won Video of the Year.

Dance Video: "Rock Your Body," Justin Timberlake

Video from a Film: "Lose Yourself," Eminem

Breakthrough Video: "The Scientist," Coldplay

MTV2 Award: A.F.I., "Girl's Not Grey"

Direction: "The Scientist," Coldplay

Choreography: "Crazy in Love," Beyonce featuring Jay-Z

Special Effects: "Go With the Flow," Queens of the Stoneage

Art Direction: "There, There," Radiohead

Editing: "Seven Nation Army," White Stripes

Cinematography: "Hurt," Johnny Cash


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