Belfast Telegraph

'Screamers' in Belfast are best we've ever found: MTV chief

By Amanda Poole

The countdown is officially on for the biggest music event Northern Ireland has ever hosted and 1,500 lucky fans have booked their place at the highly-coveted bash.

In just six days' time, some of the biggest pop names on the planet will descend on Belfast's Odyssey Arena for the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.

As the big day approaches, MTV bosses auditioned over 2,000 music fans at the Waterfront Hall yesterday; all of them desperate to secure a place at the star-studded awards ceremony which will be beamed to millions around the globe.

Some camped overnight to secure their place at the top of the queue before doors opened at 8am.

MTV said that of all the European cities they have visited, Belfast has the most enthusiastic "screamers", an industry term used for the fans who will attend the EMAs.

Old and young, ticket hopefuls squealed, jumped and danced their hearts out for the chance to go home with one of three types of ticket up for grabs at the open audition, namely seated, standing and red carpet.

The 120 people who were given red carpet tickets will get the chance to see the stars up close and perhaps get an autograph and photograph, before joining those inside the Odyssey in seated or standing roles.

The auditionees had just three minutes to impress two MTV bosses hosting yesterday's casting event, by screaming as loud as they could and dancing as energetically as possible.

MTV production manager Carol Brock has been casting for EMAs all around Europe since 2005.

She was joined in Belfast by her colleague Henry Sheldon and said they were both very impressed by the energy in Belfast.

"People have been fantastic," Ms Brock told the Belfast Telegraph.

"We were looking for fun music fans who can sustain their energy for four hours."

Carol said that of all the castings she had overseen in cities across Europe, the people who turned out in their droves in Belfast were the most energetic and enthusiastic she has come across.

"I don't think we have had any other year where they come straight into the room in the right spirit," she said.

"Usually they come in and we have to warm them up a little bit, but the crowd here has been fantastic."

Carol said she appreciated some people find it difficult to get going, so she tries to encourage those who get off to a shaky start.

"It's not about the dance moves, it's about the energy," she added.

"The liveliest people are given a place on the red carpet.

"I turn them down if they come into the room and aren't in the right spirit of things and don't look like they are enjoying themselves.

"It's very hard for me to turn people down, but even with general ticket sales or a competition, there is always someone left disappointed."

The MTV EMA team said they had thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Northern Ireland so far.

"It's been a pleasure to be here," Carol said.

"It's nice to come to cities where people are enthusiastic about music, which Belfast has shown it is. It's nice to bring the EMAs to a city that's so excited about it.

"Belfast has been the city where we've had the most interest and enthusiasm to be part of the EMAs."

So far, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Queen are just some of the music industry stars who will be in Belfast this Sunday for the awards.

This is the first year the awards will be presented from three locations across the host city.

While stars are filing in to the Odyssey, Snow Patrol, Jason Derulo and Boyce Avenue will be performing at Belfast City Hall.

And the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be headlining a gig at the Ulster Hall.

More global pop names are expected to be confirmed before Sunday.

For more information visit uk.mtvema.com.



Hopefuls go Gaga for tickets

The1,500 lucky folk who earned their passes to the MTV Awards did it the hard way.

Affectionately known as the 'screamers', They jumped, danced, screeched, dressed up, feigned hysteria - and even baked cakes.

The thousands of music fans who queued up at Belfast's Waterfront Hall to audition for a starring-role ticket to this Sunday's MTV EMAs faced a tough - and sometimes bizarre - selection process.

For those who showed the vibrant personality MTV bosses are looking for, the antics required paid off.

But for others who didn't quite make the cut there was bitter disappointment as their dreams of joining Lady Gaga on the red carpet were dashed.

The queue for the open casting was, as expected, dominated by teenagers but there were plenty of people aged 20, 30 and 40-plus.

After hours of waiting, the hopeful "screamers" were brought in, 14 at a time, to face the production team in a room within the Waterfront.

Each person took their place on an X-shaped piece of duct tape on the floor, marked with the letters A to N.

The first requirement of the audition was to show excitement and energy by screaming as loudly as possible for EMA host Selena Gomez and pop diva Lady Gaga.

Alas, Selena and Gaga weren't available, so for the purposes of the audition their place had been taken by an MTV production assistant.

He had clearly been through this process many times, as his orange ear plugs revealed.

After that the group had to show off their best dance moves to the sound of LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem. (Don't worry, I hadn't heard of them either).

I admire those taking part for having the guts to do so, but it was a little unsettling watching grown men and women become hysterical on demand.

Some people really pushed the boat out to secure a ticket.

One girl baked an EMA cake and another had a huge MTV hat.

There was no shortage of Halloween costumes, with one fan dressed as a leprechaun, while another donned a Katy Perry-style blue wig.

Once the dancing ended, the groups were told to move to the next room to find out their fate.

At this point, those who made it were called forward and given a letter that sealed their spot in the show, while the others were informed they hadn't made it.

It seemed a brutal process for younger audience hopefuls, with many left tearful on hearing no.

But, as MTV casting manager Carol Brock said, whatever way the selection process was done, some people were always going to go home disappointed.

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