DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - High school heartthrob Britney Spears scored a landslide victory Thursday at the 6th annual MTV Europe Music Awards.
The singer from Louisiana won the Best Female, Best Breakthrough, Best Pop Act and Best Single for "Hit Me Baby One More Time," reflecting the 17-year-old's popularity with some 2 million telephone-voting MTV viewers across Europe.
At the star-studded ceremony in Dublin's Point Depot, a converted warehouse on the banks of the River Liffey, she thanked "Jesus Christ and my family ... and just the world for accepting pop again."
The video music channel's peace-lauding Free Your Mind Award went to Ireland's most famous music export, U2's lead singer Bono, who's credited with promoting the "yes" vote in last year's peace referendum in Northern Ireland and crusading to abolish Third World debt.
"He still lives in Dublin, he walks the streets and drinks in its bars - especially the ones that he owns. His efforts for the poor have now tarred him with the brush of virtual sainthood," said Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger in his introduction.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan also lauded Bono for making "a real difference."
"You have crossed boundaries and broken taboos. You have made people listen. You have made people care," Annan said in a prerecorded tribute. "You have taught young people that they do have the power to change the world. And you have reminded world leaders that working for a better world is their first duty. Congratulations my friend, and keep up the fight."
In acceptance, Bono said the praise was "just going to make me worse, you know."
Another Dublin band, Boyzone, was the only other act to win more than one award, taking home the Best UK and Ireland Act Award and Best Album for "By Request." The band's lead singer, Ronan Keating, hosted the 21/2-hour show.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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