Katy Perry won the award for best female singer at the 2013 MTV EMA music awards on Sunday (November 10), pipping Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus to the post in MTV's first award ceremony since the launch a week ago of the upstart YouTube Music Awards.
But Cyrus stole the show by lighting what could have been a joint, in a nod to the host city's famously tolerant attitude towards soft drugs.
She had earlier been photographed in one of Amsterdam's best-known coffee shops where soft drugs are on the menu.
With the three pop divas in contention, the prize for best female was the most closely watched battle at the Viacom-owned music network's 20th annual European awards ceremony.
Claiming her third EMA award, U.S. singer Katy Perry gave a dramatic rendition of her song "Unconditionally", suspended like a sequin-covered glitter ball 9 metres (30 feet) above a gigantic outer-space-themed set.
When Cyrus picked up her best video award for "Wrecking Ball", she made a show of not finding the space for the bauble in her handbag
Earlier, the former Disney star had capitalised on her infamous August "twerking" encounter with actor Robin Thicke at the U.S.-based Video Music Awards, opening the show by doing the dance with a dwarf.
Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto reacted to his band's winning the best alternative prize by calling for a minute of silence for those affected by typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Friday, killing an estimated 10,000 people. The call went largely unheeded.
Justin Bieber held on to his best male status for a fourth consecutive year, while Bruno Mars won the award for best song.
U.S. rapper Eminem was given a "Global Icon" prize for lifetime achievement along with best hip-hop, just a week after being declared artist of the year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards, run by emerging music industry rival Google.
Presented by Adam Justice