Ed Sheeran wins big at MTV EMAs in Budapest as stars celebrate LGBT+ community

Ed Sheeran won big at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) in Budapast – landing two major awards as stars gathered to celebrate the LGBT+ community.

The British singer-songwriter opened a car boot to receive the Best Artist award before also securing the Best Song accolade for Bad Habits.

Wearing a bold print suit for the occasion, the 30-year-old opened the awards ceremony as it returned to a live in-person show after it was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ed Sheeran performs during the show on Sunday night
Image: Sheeran, 30, performing during the 2021 MTV EMAs on Sunday night

Fellow British talent Yungblud, who closed the ceremony with a fire-fuelled performance, declared his Best Alternative award as a “tribute to individualism”.

He recalled being “terrified” as a youngster to be who he wanted to be, adding: “If you are out there and you feel you cannot be who you are – you can be.

“Keep fighting, keep being brilliant.”

Yungblud performs during the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards
Image: Yungblud gave an energetic performance during the show

US rapper Saweetie hosted the star-studded event in the Hungarian capital and also led the support for the LGBT+ community.

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She told the crowd it is “always important we respect each other” as she relaxed on a chaise longue wearing a bikini in a mock spa location – a nod to Budapest’s spa culture.

Yungblud poses with Best Alternative Award in the winners room during the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards
Image: British star Yungblud won Best Alternative Award

The 28-year-old star, who wore multiple different outfits throughout the show, added: “That’s why it’s so important we stand up for the LGBTQ+ community.”

MTV recently stood by the location of the awards show despite Budapest’s recent passage of legislation widely condemned as anti-LGBT+.

Saweetie hosted the MTV EMA's in Budapest on Sunday evening
Image: Saweetie hosted the MTV EMA’s in Budapest on Sunday evening

Years And Years singer Olly Alexander, presenting Best Video, said of the nominees: “They all support same sex adoption as family is family.”

Olly Alexander of Brit band Years and Years presents the Best Video award
Image: Olly Alexander of Brit band Years And Years presents the Best Video award

South Korean boyband, BTS, snapped up four awards, including Best Pop and Best Group, while superstar Justin Bieber failed to win a single category despite leading the way with eight nominations.

Meanwhile, US rapper and singer Lil Nas X accepted the award for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) via a pre-recorded video, claiming he was having to “work his shift at Taco Bell”.

British singer and actress Rita Ora presented the Best Latin award at the event, handing it to Colombian singer Maluma.

Rita Ora attended the event in Budapest and presented the Best Latin award
Image: Rita Ora attended the event in Budapest and presented the Best Latin award

German-born Kim Petras became the first transgender star to perform at the awards show while Maneskin, who won the best rock category ahead of Coldplay and Foo Fighters, were among the other acts to play.

Saweetie also went from host to award winner at one point as she won Best New Category.

She thanked God and her family before praising her fans for supporting her “since I was rapping in my car”, adding: “This is just the beginning.”

Stars chatting to press on the red carpet expressed the importance of the ceremony taking place in Budapest.

OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder told the PA news agency: “It sends a huge message.

Ed Sheeran performs during the EMAs at the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sportarena, in Budapest, Hungary
Image: Ed Sheeran performs during the EMAs

“I’m from an extremely conservative, right-wing city and family and religious community so until I was 20 I had the same kind of thoughts of like ‘Oh, that’s bad, this is good’.

“And now I’m sitting here going it’s absurd we even have to make these statements that everyone is equal and showing love and equality.

Ed Sheeran with his awards for Best Artist and Best Song in the winners room during the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards
Image: Ed Sheeran posing with his awards for Best Artist and Best Song in the winners room at the event

“These are things that should have been the absolute bedrock of constitutions and humanity for the last 100 years but, you know, it takes a minute for humans to catch up and I think we’ve finally caught up.”

Northern Irish singer JC Stewart said it was a “dream come true” to attend the event and be nominated for an award, having busked outside an EMAs ceremony a decade ago.

He said: “It’s pretty crazy, it’s a dream come true for me – I busked outside the EMAs 10 years ago in Belfast so I never thought I’d be here today. It’s all a bit much in a lovely way.”

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