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World Music Awards 2006 - James Blunt shines

James Blunt

Story by Jack Foley

SINGER-songwriter James Blunt enjoyed a starring role at The World Music Awards (2006), winning two prizes.

The former British Army officer who scored massive hits with the single You’re Beautiful and the album Back To Bedlam was named the World’s Best New Artist and the Best-Selling British Artist at the ceremony at London’s Earls Court.

The 32-year-old has topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic since releasing his album last year, despite facing constant ridicule from critics who have dubbed him “James Bland”.

However, the Brit had the last laugh at the music awards, especially since he beat competition from the Pussycat Dolls, KT Tunstall and Gnarls Barkley to win the Best New Artist prize.

Of the other awards that were presented at the star-studded bash, Madonna was named the World’s Best Pop Artist, beating Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake.

And Canadian singer Nelly Furtado won World’s Best Pop/Rock Artist for her No.1 hit Maneater.

Amazingly, rock group Nickelback beat Coldplay and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to World’s Best Rock Group.

Jackson sings

One of the biggest attractions of the ceremony was singer Michael Jackson who performed a version of Heal the World with a choir of 50 young people – despite earlier telling reporters that he wasn’t going to sing.

The 48-year-old was presented with a tribute award for selling over 100 million albums throughout his career – but was booed by fans who believed what he had told the press.

He then re-appeared a few acts later to sing two choruses of the song before throwing his jacket into the crowd and spending time shaking hands with people in the front row.

Singer Beyonce Knowles opened the show with her hit single Deja Vu, while Katie Melua, Faithless, Enya and Nelly Furtado also performed.

Pop stars Natalie Imbruglia and the Sugababes presented awards and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell, who sings the latest James Bond theme for Casino Royale, appeared alongside former Bond girl Denise Richards (The World Is Not Enough).