- Associated Press - Sunday, November 6, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Justin Bieber was named the best male act at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Belfast Sunday night, joining Lady Gaga, who won for best female, at the top of the pop world.

Both won early, important prizes at the MTV awards, an annual highlight of the European music calendar.

The casually dressed Bieber, at the height of phenomenal success, said modestly that he had voted for competitor Kanye West and thanked his fans and family.

“Never say never, right?” he said, waving his trophy in triumph.

He took the stage a few minutes after Gaga accepted her award in characteristic weird style.

“Thank you so much, I love you so much. I’m so grateful. I’m really smiling right now, but I know you can’t tell,” said Gaga, wearing a bizarre silver dress with an oversize tilted hat that completely covered her face. She joked that she had had a lot of Botox treatment.

Gaga, who has enjoyed a year of spectacular commercial success, triumphed over a strong field that included a resurgent Jennifer Lopez, Adele, Katy Perry and Beyonce.

Earlier, Perry _ dressed in a mostly pink jacket and miniskirt _ won the best live act award, and the American band Thirty Seconds to Mars won best alternative act.

The show featured performances by headliners Bieber, Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and other top acts.

Chris Martin, the Coldplay frontman, joked that the band was just “warming everyone up for Justin” on his way into the awards ceremony, which was hosted by Bieber’s girlfriend, the actress and singer Selena Gomez.

She admitted she was nervous about her performance while being photographed on the red carpet just before the show.

Gaga led the way with six nominations, while Mars and Perry have four each.

Singer Adele, who lost out on the Mercury Prize, has been nominated for the best female award and best video and best song for her hit “Rolling In The Deep.”

The awards, which were set up in 1994, have previously featured performances by stars including U2, Paul McCartney, Take That, Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Sunday’s show marked the first time the MTV awards have been held in Belfast, the birthplace of singer-songwriter Van Morrison and a city that has long been known for its rhythm and blues oriented music scene.

The band Queen received a lifetime achievement award. Guitarist and songwriter Brian May, his long ringlets now gray, praised Belfast for finding “true peace” after years of violence.

“It’s wonderful to be in Belfast,” he said.

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