THE MTV AWARDS used to be the ONLY music awards worth watching. But now with every brand having their own version, MTV EMA 2014 stepped up by having a show that united music legends like Slash, Ozzy Osborne and U2, new fresh blood like Arianna Grande, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande and Charli XCX (yes #TEAMUK!), the ‘in-betweeners’ like Alicia Keys (kudos for performing with no stress or diva-isms whilst 5 months preggers!) and Enrique, model types like Jourdann Dunn and this year with the help of a time machine we even had…a dinosaur…no not David Hasselhoff, a real dino!!
I was host producer. That means it was my job to look after Nicki Minaj’s script’s, liaise with her stylist about outfits, communicate between her team and the main show’s producer and director, ensure she was totally supported with all show editorial, her team were happy, her timing was on point and absolutely anything else that she may need.
Over 1,000 people came along to the 2014 MTV EMA open castings, including:
*3 groups of cheer leaders, 2 school teachers, Twins, a mother and daughter duo, a unicorn, who drove through the night from London and waited outside the venue from midnight, and a performing hotdog!
*The casting team also saw a husband and wife rapping duo, an opera singer, a juggler, break dancers, beat boxers, a champion tap dancer (2nd in the world) and none other than Miss Glasgow!
*A grandma came to collect granddaughter then decided to audition – to “We Will Rock You”
*The casting unit went ‘mobile’ to local schools, colleges and universities, they auditioned over 500 students.
Massive salute to the MTV Marketing team.
This is the first time in its 20-year history that the MTV EMA has been held in Glasgow! You couldn’t step anywhere around Glasgow city without seeing MTV EMA branding.
Conveyor belt at Glasgow Airport.
Gate flights board at Glasgow.
#MTVEMA Trended worldwide on twitter for hours.
To retain its crown as one of MTV’s biggest social experiences of the year, MTV flew in its team of 20 digital media experts who worked 24/7 to deliver content for MTV’s social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Imoji and Vine.
The 2014 MTV EMA app was available on iOS and Android in 10 languages, while the 2014 MTV EMA website was available in 19 languages across 34 regions!!!.
Fans at home were able to check out exclusive behind-the-scenes shots and clips via the MTV EMA website, including shots taken from a 360-degree essence booth – just as the stars were about to walk the “timelessly” fabulous ‘’black’’ carpet!
The awards were held at Scotland’s latest landmark arena – the SSE Hydro –, which only recently opened its doors in 2013, since becoming one of the most modern and exciting arenas in the world. The Hydro at night looked spectacular and the staff were professional, efficient and friendly. Starships were meant to fly says Nicki Minaj and The Hydro looks like just the carrier for her!
The 2014 MTV EMA performers, presenters and crew enjoyed over 40,000 delicious meals and snacks from specialist showbiz caterers Eat Your Hearts Out (EYHO) using locally sourced, high quality ingredients., The most popular dessert, served at the MTV EMA, was sticky toffee pudding – a to-die-for treat for the hungry MTV EMA crew!
Nicki’s hotel- Blythswood Square – saw fans stay put to wait and cheer for their Minajesty through rain, bitter cold and shine. They were camped out both at the front and back of the hotel. Nicki, bless her, on occasion was happy to leap out of her car and pose with them all.
I had a couple of late night meetings with NM and her team to go over costume, script, her Scottish rap (she taught me that the ”THOT” in her Scottish rap meant ’’that hoe over there’’ “I never f**ed Wayne cos he is not a Scot…The other reason is I’m not a thot.”’
Here is the infamous Pink throne that took centre stage at the start of NM performance.
NM brought her own dancers with her, who were lead by J Lo’s ex Casper Smart aka ‘’Beau’’
The rest of this year’s troupe of 30 dancers, were selected by MTV EMA veteran Aicha McKenzie of AMCK (from 700+ who auditioned!) was choreographed by Kristin Denehy.
Dancers performed with giant headdresses – whilst fire-juggling – 4 metres up in the air (but fortunately not at the same time!)
Katy Perry also snuggled up to Nicki’s bum pillow, and Sharon Osborne was chatty chatty backstage.
TV dinners – this is the producers and directors table where the most important people (EXEC PROD RICHARD GODFREY/ PRODUCERS DEBBIE PHILLIPS AND CHLOE MASON AND DIRECTOR RUSSELL THOMAS) and I, spent most of each day viewing host rehearsal and staging and standing in for people when needed.
Of course before the main act pops into the harness to fly around the set of wires, someone has to try it out. I was lucky enough to be asked, as I’m petite like Nicki and Arianna so I got to play in the sky in their absence! So much fun!
Jasmine harness hanging- Being petite and the same height and size as nicki and Arianna meant I got to go up in the harness and glass flying bubble to test them out before the real stars.
The 2014 MTV EMA set was designed by celebrated German stage and set designer Florian Wieder – creative mastermind who was also responsible for MTV EMA set designs in Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Liverpool and Amsterdam. The 2014 MTV EMA featured one of the biggest sets EVER in MTV EMA history, measuring 50m wide by 20m high, backed with a giant high resolution LED screen and over 30m of transparent gauze.
The day before the show was my MTV wifey’s birthday. Bianca Acca, who I’ve travelled the world with, taught Jay Z about skinny lattes in Africa with and rode on elephants with in Bangkok, had a few drinks at the bar. After finishing up with NM’s team I joined the crew to toast Bianca for her special day.
Dom P in the house.
Jasmine and the EMA dinosaur.
Stage designs remain a closely guarded secret before the show airs, and this years show had a “time travel” inspired theme; which was echoed on the red carpet, in the set design and via the main show performances. Our dinosaur ‘Trent’’ was a star we teleported back from the ice age.
My right hand on rehearsal day and show night – the incredibly efficient host Floor manager Ed Sharpe!
Tasked with trying to make me look halfway presentable were the glam squad lovelies- Make up and hair- Bambi and Lyndsey
The 40 people stromg MTV EMA professional makeup artist team has spent over 500 hours with internationally renowned make-up artist and MTV EMA guru, Glam Squad’s Debbie Dannell. A backstage wiggery has been installed to house over 500 over-the-top wigs, 300 hairpieces, 200 weaves, and 100 poly heads, with the onsite help of 22 expert hairdressers.
Collectively, the MTV EMA Glam Squad has racked up over 80 years of experience working on the show with many professional makeup artists returning to the show year after year from all over Europe! The team includes a specialist graffiti artist – The Urbanist – who has a unique way of treating the human body as a living canvas! Also there was A LOT of fake tan in the house- a lot!
Red carpet gossip…- NM had intended to make it to the ”black carpet”wearing this fabulous drop-dead gorg dress- but limitations on her time meant this didn’t happen.
JASMINE ”I had to get her out of that harness real quick!. Hands in places that most fans and men would have swapped places with me for in a heartbeat. Yet i was trying to keep it together worried that if i didn’t get her out of that harness double quick, that the floodlights would snap back onstage with me grappling around under her dress area!
To power the show, nearly 10,000 kilometres of cable were laid down. 1,200 flight case boxes were used to transport equipment such as lights, cameras and tripods. 30 HD cameras were used to shoot the show and 40 TV screens were installed backstage.
Did you like Nicki ‘’lighting up the joint’’ in her own minagestic way at the start of the show?
To ensure a truly explosive 20th anniversary celebration, the MTV EMA was ignited by 600 pyrotechnics during the main show including spitfire flames, air flame explosions and smoke storm machines.
MTV cast over 2,000 local fans – via public castings and mobile castings in local schools and universities – to be part of the MTV EMA live audience, with 700 fans invited to scream their hearts out of the MTV EMA red carpet. Post party madness- Despite the scale of the event, an intimate team of 15 wardrobe staff have worked around the clock to produce more than 80 costumes for dancers, presenters and artists. The team has used over 200 metres of fabric, 50 metres of chiffon and 1,000 hand-sewn rhinestones.
A moment that really impressed me – Nicki’s backstage lights in her ‘secret tunnel quick-change dressing room’ blew cos a certain someone (not MTV staff), popped his plug into her fuse box. So she ended up doing three of her quick changes for three links in near pitch black like a total ‘’the show must go on’’ pro- very impressive!
We were all warned and on the look out for Ukranian prankster Vitalii Sediuk, who had threatened to ‘’get Nicki at the MTV Awards’. Luckily he was a no show. But for a while it was like being in a scene from The Bodyguard.
I think we need to pause for a minute and take note of what Nicki Minaj actually did on EMA night – the triple threat Queen wore that crown by hosting, performing AND winning best hip-hop!
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN AND THIS YEAR’S MTV EMA!
The next morning, proving she’s no diva, NM and her team jumped on the MTV STAFF BA flight with us to catch her connecting flight back to L.A.
Show end credits…