Celine Dion honoured at World Music Awards
MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Canadian singer Celine Dion and R&B queen Patti LaBelle were honoured at the World Music Awards for their outstanding careers, while British newcomer Mika took home a clutch of prizes.
Dion, who has sold 200 million albums worldwide, received the highest accolade -- the Legend Award -- at the star-studded ceremony in Monaco on Sunday. In presenting the honour, the tiny principality's Prince Albert said Dion's voice "soothes the world's hearts and creates smiles of love across the face of the world."
Recalling her start as the youngest performer among 14 musical siblings, Dion dedicated the award to her family.
"Every time I go on stage, it's all of them going on stage with me," she said in her acceptance speech in English and French.
Dion then performed "Taking Chances," the first single from her forthcoming album of the same name, slated for release later this month.
The 39-year-old diva from Quebec already holds a World Music Awards prize for the world's best-selling female artist of all time. She won the so-called Diamond Award in 2004.
Canada's Avril Lavigne received awards for best-selling pop/rock female artist and best-selling Canadian artist.
The show paid tribute to 63-year-old LaBelle for her enduring contribution to R&B. LaBelle, whose career stretches back to the 1950s, had the entire audience, including the Prince, on their feet dancing to a rendition of "Lady Marmalade."
"I love this show because it unites the world with music; we need peace in the world," LaBelle said.
British pop star Mika was the big winner of the night, capturing awards for best-selling new artist, best-selling male entertainer, best-selling pop/rock artist and best-selling British artist. Struck down by lyringitis, he was unable to sing his runaway debut hit "Grace Kelly", which makes reference to the Prince Albert's mother, the Hollywood actress who became princess of Monaco upon her marriage in 1956.
Hip hop artist Akon, who has been riding high on world charts, picked up prizes for best-selling R&B male artist, best-selling African Artist and best-selling Internet artist.
"Your are the witnesses to seeing me receive any kind of award for music for the first time in my life," the Senegalese-American told the audience, lamenting having been skipped over for all previous honours for which he has been in contention.
Pop sensation Rihanna, a native of Barbados, was named entertainer of the year, as well as best-selling pop female artist.
Also taking the stage and receiving awards were Mexican rock band Mana (best-selling Latin group), Egyptian singer Amr Diab (best-selling Middle Eastern artist), Laura Pausini (best-selling Italian artist) and Cascada (best-selling German artist)/>.
Julian McMahon, star of the U.S. television series "Nip/Tuck," hosted the event.
Award winners were named based on worldwide album sales, as certified by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which comprises some 1,400 record companies in 75 countries.
The show was taped and will be broadcast later in 160 countries. It is expected to reach approximately one billion viewers.
After three years of roaming, the annual show returned to Monte Carlo, where it had been staged since its creation in 1989. The awards were broadcast live from Las Vegas in 2004, then moved Los Angeles in 2005 and London in 2006.
Proceeds from a black-tie banquet and auction before the awards are to go toward building a hospital in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan.