By Thomas Escritt and Mike Davidson
AMSTERDAM, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Katy Perry won the award forbest female singer at the 2013 MTV EMA music awards on Sunday,pipping Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus to the post in MTV's firstaward ceremony since the launch a week ago of the upstartYouTube Music Awards.
But Cyrus stole the show by lighting what could have been ajoint, in a nod to the host city's famously tolerant attitudetowards soft drugs.
She had earlier been photographed in one of Amsterdam'sbest-known coffeeshops where soft drugs are on the menu.
With the three pop divas in contention, the prize for bestfemale was the most closely watched battle at the Viacom-owned music network's 20th annual European awards ceremony.
Claiming her third EMA award, U.S. singer Perry gave adramatic rendition of her song "Unconditionally", suspended likea sequin-covered glitter ball 9 metres (30 feet) above agigantic outer-space-themed set.
"It's my goal to get (my music) to as many ears aspossible," she said on the red carpet before the show. "Ifthat's happening, I'm happy."
When Cyrus picked up her best video award for "WreckingBall", she made a show of not finding the space for the baublein her handbag.
"You know I couldn't fit this award in my bag but I did findthis," she said, pulling out a hand-rolled cigarette which shelit as she walked off the stage.
Earlier, the former Disney star, who caused a sensation withher raunchy "twerking" performance with actor Robin Thicke atthe U.S.-based Video Music Awards in August, took to the redcarpet in a bold mini dress on which the words "Please StopViolence" were wrapped tightly around her hip.
British-Irish boy band One Direction had a good night,taking the prize for best pop, while Harry Styles, known as muchfor his singing in the band as for his celebrity girlfriends,was awarded best style.
Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto reacted to hisband's winning the best alternative prize by calling for aminute of silence for those affected by typhoon Haiyan, whichhit the Philippines on Friday, killing an estimated 10,000people. The call went largely unheeded.
"It's hard to hear in there ... but the message is what'simportant, to send some love and support across the world," hesaid backstage afterwards.
Justin Bieber held on to his best male status for a fourthconsecutive year, while Beyonce and Bruno Mars won awards forbest live act and best song, respectively. China's Chris Lee wonbest worldwide act.
U.S. rapper Eminem was given a "Global Icon" prize forlifetime achievement along with best hip-hop, just a week afterbeing declared artist of the year at the inaugural YouTube MusicAwards, run by emerging music industry rival Google.
In the face of the new competition, the MTV EMA awards arebeing seen as a test of the ability of MTV, one of the mostprominent brands of the 1980s and 1990s, to flourish in theinternet era.
Robert Bakish, head of Viacom's broadcast division, said hewas confident the company would rise to the challenge.
While MTV has dominated the field with its annual pop musicawards since 1984, when the Video Music Awards were launched,video-sharing site YouTube, with its one billion viewers amonth, has utterly remade the popular music business.
"There's always competition, traditional competition and newcompetition," Bakish told Reuters on the red carpet before theshow.
"The EMA is the ultimate multiplatform expression, wecombine live television with digital and on Web and on mobile,"he said.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Miley Cyrus
- Katy Perry