Pop star Katy Perry opened the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) in all-American style tonight riding atop a giant cherry chapstick.
Dressed in an American footballer's kit, the star kicked off the star-studded ceremony, taking place in Liverpool, with a performance of her hit 'I Kissed A Girl'.
The first guest performance came from R&B superstar Beyonce, with 'If I were a Boy', but it was the newly elected US president who drew the biggest cheers.
Jared Leto, from 30 Seconds to Mars, had the crowd standing in honour of the US President-elect Barack Obama.
Amid rapturous cheers, he said: "Liverpool, lets hear it for Barack Obama."
Perry responded: "Maybe Europe will love us again now."
Around 10,000 music fans watched the awards ceremony at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
An estimated 30 million viewers are thought to have tuned in to watch on MTV's channels across the world including, for the first time, in the Middle East on MTV Arabia.
The Sugababes joined in the American theme, Keisha, Mutya and Heidi taking to the stage each wearing red, white or blue.
Take That returned to the EMAs for the first time since 1994, when they won Best Group, and performed Greatest Day.
Kanye West, 31, gave a barnstorming performance of Love Lockdown before being joined on stage by British hip hop singer Estelle, 28, for their international hit 'American Boy'.
Duffy, who arrived at the Awards wearing a dress made by her mother from a scarf, had changed into a black sequinned dress by the time she gave her performance of 'Mercy'.
Paul McCartney was honoured in a special award - the Ultimate Legend Award - which was presented to him by U2's Bono.
Bono said he was there to bestow the "first, last and only MTV Ultimate Award".
He said: "For someone like me who makes his living in rock and roll to be asked to say a few words about Paul McCartney is like asking a Catholic priest if he wouldn't mind stopping off in Rome to give an award to St Peter.
"This is the man who invented my job.
"On the way here Paul McCartney, who was driving the car, was pointing out every place in Liverpool he cycled, where he wrote songs, where he bunked school.
"It was like being in the Popemobile with the Pope driving.
"In the universe of rock and roll, the Beatles were the Big Bang.
"Tonight is about how much Liverpool means to Paul McCartney and how much Paul McCartney means to Liverpool.
"From the Cavern Club, to the Liverpool Institute, to Penny Lane, this is the city where he was born and bred, this is the city that gave him his attitude and this is the city that gave him his inspiration.
"He paid that debt by putting images of Liverpool in the dream life of the world.
"So many talented and gifted people have featured in these MTV awards tonight.
"On behalf of all the artists in this room, I will tell you something, I think we all suspect, someday, when all of us are gone and this great hall is no longer here.
"In two or three hundred years from now we sense, we fear our names will be forgotten.
"There is one person here, in this hall tonight whose songs we know will be heard now and forever.
"His songs will continue to be sung, heard and played as long as humans care about beauty and longing.
"There is one person here tonight whose work is immortal. There is only one Paul McCartney."
The award recognised McCartney as one of the most formative influences on the global music scene and as a founding father helping Liverpool earn the recent accolade as Most Musical City in the UK.
McCartney said: "I don't know what to do after an introduction like that.
"What can I say?
"I want to thank my mum and dad, Jim and Mary. I also want to thank my brother Mike who is here tonight.
"I want to thank my mates, Ringo, George and John. Many years ago there were four little boys, born here in Liverpool, and we went on to do quite well.
"Thanks to all my family, to all you for coming along, to everyone in Great Britain, to everyone in America for voting in Mr Obama."