The Australian star showed off a new Marilyn Monroe-esque hairdo and a figure-hugging black frock at the ceremony.
Her win was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd of celebrities at London’s Grosvenor House hotel. And she joked: “I would like to thank those of you who continue to support me — including my dress.”
The 39-year-old singer is working on a new album after winning her battle against breast cancer. This was her first appearance at an awards ceremony since returning to the limelight.
“It’s my first day back at work like this so it’s very exciting and slightly nerve-wracking,” she said as she arrived. Of her Q Idol award, she told the audience: “Just don’t ask me what it means, but I’m very grateful and honoured to be receiving this.”
The annual awards are handed out by Q Magazine.
The other big winner was Paul McCartney, who was honoured with a Q Icon award. The former Beatle received a huge cheer from the audience as he paid tribute to late wife Linda.
“I thank Linda for seeing me through some real tough periods,” he said.
He also thanked his former Beatle band-mates and his “fantastic, beautiful” children. There was no mention of his estranged wife Heather Mills.
Jonathan Ross hosted the awards and threw in some typically risque jokes.
“The Spice Girls are reforming — in the same way they reform meat into nuggets,” he said. “God bless them, they’re going to be reforming under the name Atomic Mutton.”
Ross also cracked a joke at the expense of troubled singer Amy Winehouse: “I’m a bit annoyed with her because I had 3/1 at Ladbrokes on a double with Pavarotti.”
Winehouse won the best album award for Back to Black but failed to turn up to collect it.