More than 11 years after their hit album "Dookie" reinvigorated punk rock, Green Day won seven video awards out of eight nominations Sunday for the socially conscious "American Idiot" and the melancholy "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," which frontman Billie Joe Armstrong called a "hangover" song.
"This kind of response, I don't know, it's like you're at the biggest party in the United States right now and the song that gets most nominated and most celebrated is the biggest hangover," Armstrong told reporters after the show.
The trio set the tone for the night with an energetic performance of "Boulevard." They were followed by fellow nominated rockers The Killers, My Chemical Romance, and Coldplay. Among the rock bands, The Killers and Fall Out Boy each won one moon man.
"I thought we were going to win best rock video, but you just can't beat those Green Day people," said Brandon Flowers, lead singer for The Killers, who won for best new artist.
Fall Out Boy won the MTV2 award for their song "Sugar, We're Going Down."
Green Day, who arrived at the venue in the vintage green convertible from the "Boulevard" video, won best rock video and video of the year for the clip. They also won the viewer's choice award, best group and several technical categories.
In recent years, hip-hop and pop have dominated the show, especially in the major categories. Not this year: Kanye West was the only rapper to win an "all-genre" award, with his "Jesus Walks" taking best male video.
Other big winners Sunday included Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliott, the Gorillaz and Gwen Stefani, who each won two awards.
The annual bash was briefly overshadowed by Hurricane Katrina, which hit southern Florida on Thursday before taking aim on the Gulf Coast. As the storm passed Miami, a celebratory mood took over the city - until early Sunday morning, when rap mogul Suge Knight was targeted by gunfire at a Kanye West party.
Knight was shot in the leg and scheduled for surgery at a Miami hospital where he is listed in good condition. So far no one has been arrested for the shooting.
MTV vowed that neither Katrina nor Suge would affect the ceremonies — and they didn't.
"The theme of tonight is, anything can happen," proclaimed show host Diddy, whose entrance included dancers, pyrotechnics and a cascading waterfall — a spectacle that rivaled the show's actual performances.
MTV maintained the water theme throughout the show, with Mariah Carey and The Killers performing from swimming pools located at swank South Beach hotels. To end the show, Clarkson performed "Since U Been Gone" — winner of best female video and best pop video after being soaked by a torrent of water.
"They wanted just the kids to get wet, but I ... just jumped out there with them," Clarkson said after the show.
Ludacris managed to turn his hedonistic "Pimpin' All Over the World" into a multicultural Mardi Gras-like extravaganza, complete with steel drummers, African dancers and, of course, around-the-way booty-shaking girls. Miami booty king Luke of 2 Live Crew fame brought a bevy of girls for his cameo appearance. But one of the biggest surprises was MC Hammer, recapturing some of his glory while shaking to his '90s hit, "U Can't Touch This."
Leading the fashion parade was "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, who donned a skimpy one-piece pink bathing suit that featured a plunging neckline reminiscent of Jennifer Lopez back when she was dating a guy named Puff Daddy.
"Hey Diddy, you said anything goes, and I wasn't going to let a little hurricane prevent me from wearing my bathing suit!" she said.
Not to be outdone, Latin singer Paulina Rubio wore a skintight lace Dolce & Gabbana vintage gown that showed off her thong. She calmly eluded the reaching arm of co-presenter Lil Jon.
Another flashback came in a tribute to Diddy's protege, the late Notorious B.I.G., featuring Diddy "conducting" a string orchestra as the legendary rapper's songs played. Snoop Dogg came out at the end and delivered a verse on the B.I.G. hit "Warning."
The evening's most inexplicable moment may have come from R. Kelly, who remains a chart-topper while awaiting trial on child pornography charges.
On a bedroom set that looked like a scene from a way-off-Broadway play, Kelly deliberately lip-synced highlights of his five-part soap opera infidelity song, "Trapped In The Closet," then debuted a new chapter involving a cheating wife, a cheating husband and his boyfriend.
Some of the night's more decadent moments came during the pre-show arrivals. Lil Jon came by sea on what looked to be a three-story, pimp-my-yacht contraption. The prison-bound Lil' Kim arrived on the white carpet in a Rolls Royce Phantom, though she looked somewhat demure in her low-cut mauve dress — no pasties or dangling appendages this year from the diminutive rapper.
"I might show some leg," teased the star, who is due to start serving a year-and-a-day sentence in September on a perjury conviction. When MTV personality Sway delicately asked if she had anything to say to fans who "might not see you for a while," Lil Kim said: "You can write me letters."
There also was a palpable Latin flavor to the show, with Colombian songstress Shakira performing her sexy "La Tortura" with Spanish troubadour Alejandro Sanz.
Later, reggaeton pacesetters Don Omar, Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon presented quick snippets of their songs showcasing the growing musical genre, which combines Caribbean rhythms with Spanish-language rap.
Here is the complete list of winners:
MTV and CBS News are both owned by Viacom.
By Adrian Sainz