Usher waved to fans from the bow of a long silver and blue luxury yacht as he and other celebrities pulled up to the back of the AmericanAirlines arena in sleek boats.
Usher, who kicked off the show with a medley of his club anthem “Yeah!” and his ballad “Burn,” arrived early and bragged that he had the biggest yacht. (P. Diddy, who came in a huge white boat, might quibble with that contention, however).
The boats arrived amid the backdrop of shimmering Biscayne Bay, cruise ships and smaller vessels with bikini-clad girls and shirtless guys looking on.
Usher described his look, with a white suit, white hat and canary-diamond earrings, as “simply sexy.”
“My vibe is ‘dinero’ (Spanish for money) and my character is Tito Bond,” joked Usher.
A melange of fashion
As usual, the MTV Awards were a display of all kinds of fashion styles on the red carpet, from shock rocker Marilyn Manson’s gothic black suit, silver tie and slicked hair to Ashanti’s black dress with silver and gold designs that showed a good bit of cleavage.
But Ashanti wasn’t alone in showing off her body. Lil’ Kim showed up as well, with a silver, black and pink dress covering very little of her voluptuous figure. Christina Milian, Beyonce and Ashlee Simpson also showed a good amount of skin.
Simpson said it was the first time she worn such a sexy outfit.
“And there’s no padding,” she said.
For the men, it was cool colors to deal with the Miami heat. Usher and fellow hip-hop impresarios Jay-Z and P. Diddy and new Miami Heat member Shaquille O’Neal all wore white suits. P.Diddy also sported a Mohawk haircut.
Rock group Good Charlotte showed up wearing all black, while the Beastie Boys wore matching green mechanic’s worksuits, “designed by Versace,” joked Mike D.
As for the bling-bling, long necklaces were the rage, with rapper Nelly, reggae artist Elephant Man and actress Carmen Electra among those wearing them.
Hot, hot heatMost everyone had an opinion on the sweaty weather.
Comedian Jimmy Fallon, clearly perspiring under his orange “Miami Beach” T-shirt, had some quips about the heat.
“I feel like I wrestled Sponge Bob,” Fallon said.
Lil’ Kim — a big fan of Miami’s scene — felt right at home, though, saying she often turns off her air conditioning at home.
As for Marilyn Manson, who’s lived in South Florida, the blazing sun didn’t bother him.
“I sold my soul, so I don’t sweat,” he said.
Last minute plans
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt said she didn’t make plans to come to the show until the last minute. Good thing, considering the band won for best pop video for its rebellious “It’s My Life.”
“I feel overdressed,” Stefani said, wearing a strapless aqua top with ruffles and a red, hip-hugging dress.
Hip-hop artist rule the dayThe awards seem to lean toward recognizing the hip-hop genre more than the old mainstay of MTV — rock ’n’ roll.
While trying to stay politically correct, Ryan Key of Yellowcard said “Yes,” when asked if he thought that rock was overlooked at the MTV awards and similar events.
“The hip-hop guys get about 10 minutes on stage, and we get about four, but I still like hip-hop” said Key, whose band joined with fellow rockers Jet and Hoobastank for a powerful performance of their nominated songs.
Dan Estrin of Hoobastank also agreed, but was cautious because “I don’t want to get MTV mad at me.”
But former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth brushed off the belief that rock is underexposed at the awards.
“If rock is being overlooked, you’re no good,” he said. “If you didn’t get chosen, your stuff stank.”
Athletes join the funShaquille O’Neal, Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson and skateboarding god Tony Hawk were some members of the sports world who attended the awards.
Hawk introduced a group of boarders who rode around the huge set at the arena, then grabbed his own skateboard and did handplants and aerial moves on an impromptu half-pipe.
Patterson, who took the gold in Athens in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition, helped announce the Viewer’s Choice Award.
“(My teammates) were really excited that I was coming to this,” said the diminutive Patterson. “I’m sure they would like to be here, too.”
Miami becomes party centralA week’s worth of parties kept South Beach and downtown Miami busy ahead and after the awards.
At night, stylish restaurants and glitzy clubs were packed with celebrities, industry types and wannabes taking in the electric atmosphere surrounding the awards.
Friday night at Mansion nightclub on South Beach, P. Diddy held a packed party promoting the Citizen Change voting initiative, with hip-hop impresario Busta Rhymes, comedian Dave Chappelle, and actress Queen Latifah in attendance, among others.
Saturday night’s Blender party at The Shore Club hotel was co-hosted by the hot production duo The Neptunes, and was an all-star event. Jessica Simpson, husband Nick Lachey and sister Ashlee Simpson snacked at a long table — a few steps away from Farrah Fawcett — while former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp and tennis star Boris Becker partied inside.
“It’s good to be on the other side, just like a fan,” said Stapp, who is promoting his solo project and a new single, “Relearn Love.”
The night’s biggest ovation came when pro wrestler Hulk Hogan walked into the club with his family. Wearing a black sleeveless shirt that showed his bulging biceps and his trademark goatee, Hogan’s clan drew a thunderous applause when they came in.
“All you guys, she’s 16 and I’m 60,” Hogan said of his daughter, Brooke, who has begun her music career.
The most anticipated parties after the Video Music Awards were OutKast’s blowout and Usher’s event.