The show started off great and went down, down, down…and teh flames went higher. And it burns, burns, burns, that Johnny Cash didn’t win…the ring of fire. The ring of fire. The ring of fire…

Rapper Missy Elliott Takes Top Honor at MTV Awards
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rapper Missy Elliott, teen heart throb Justin Timberlake, singer Beyonce Knowles and rapper 50 Cent were the big winners on Thursday at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
Elliott took the evening’s top honor, Best Video of the Year, and also won Best Hip-Hop Video for her song “Work It.” Knowles won Best Female Video, Best R&B Video and Best Choreography while rapper 50 Cent won for Best Rap Video and Best New Artist.
Timberlake won Best Pop Video, Best Dance Video and Best Male Video — a category in which he beat out Johnny Cash, a rock and roll legend old enough to be his grandfather.
“This is a travesty, I demand a recount,” Timberlake said when accepting the Best Male Video award. “My grandfather raised me on Johnny Cash … and I think he deserves this better than any of us here tonight.”
British band Coldplay, who won Best Group Video, Best Direction in a Video and Breakthrough Video gave one of the highlight performances and dedicated it to Cash.
Cash, 71, was not at the Radio City Music Hall ceremony but was in a Nashville hospital, where he was in stable condition. He has been in declining health in recent years because of a nervous system disorder, autonomic neuropathy, which makes him prone to pulmonary problems.
Cash, who rose to fame in the 1950s when Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis (news) were the hottest things in music, was nominated for six awards but only won Best Cinematography for “Hurt.” In the video, a frail Cash sings a haunting Nine Inch Nails song about death, decay and regret.
Among other winners in the ceremony, hosted by comedian Chris Rock were punk band Linkin Park for Best Rock Video, rockers Good Charlotte for the Viewers’ Choice award and rapper Eminem for Best Video from a Film. British pop band Duran Duran, which began making videos even before MTV started broadcasts 20 years ago, won a Lifetime Achievement Award.
British experimental rock group Radiohead won the award for Best Art Direction in a Video while band The White Stripes won for Best Editing in a Video.
The awards were voted on by a pool of music industry executives, producers and journalists.
Perhaps the highlight of the show was the opening segment where Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera sang Madonna’s seminal hit “Like a Virgin,” before the Material Girl herself joined them in an act symbolic of her handing the torch to the younger stars. The trio were then joined onstage by Elliott.
That opening performance ended with Madonna and Spears kissing on the lips.
The cable station made its name in the 1980s playing wall-to-wall videos. These days it shows fewer videos, instead winning viewers with such shows as “Real World,” and “The Osbournes” — the quirky reality show that transformed heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne into a modern day Archie Bunker.