FRANKFURT: The MTV Europe Music Awards bring the pop circus to Frankfurt on Sunday, with Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna leading the nominations and the late Whitney Houston to be honoured with a Global Icon award.
Houston, who was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on Feb. 11, will be the third artist to be given the award,following Bon Jovi and Queen in 2010 and 2011.
"Whitney Houston may be gone, but her legend lives on," the organisers said.
MTV said it would transform the inside of the 100-year-old Festhalle venue into a circus arena, and host Heidi Klum said she may swing from a trapeze.
"It will be a magical, visual feast," the German model and presenter promised ahead of the event.
One of this year's most eagerly anticipated performances is dance sensation Psy with his record-breaking hit "Gangnam Style". He will become the first South Korean artist to perform at the annual awards, one of the pop industry's biggest nights outside the United States.
The song, which is up for the Best Video award, has been viewed more than 670 million times on YouTube and received a record-breaking 4.9 million "likes" on Facebook since being released in mid-July.
Klum, who this year filed for divorce from singer husband Seal, is ready for the horse riding-inspired dance.
"Now I know how to dance Gangnam Style!" she posted on Twitter on Saturday, with a picture of herself and Psy in matching blue tuxedo jackets.
Despite being billed as the Europe Music Awards, the majority of nominees are traditionally North American, and 2012 is no exception.
Alongside Psy, acts due to take the stage at the show include country singer Taylor Swift, 14-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys, the Killers, newly reformed No Doubt and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Before the show kicks off, stars taking to the red carpet will include rapper Ludacris, who will debut his new video "Rest of My Life".
Heading the nominations is party-loving Rihanna, with nods in six categories, including Best Song and Best Video for "We Found Love".
Following close behind with five nominations is country star Swift, Katy Perry with four, while Lady Gaga, who cleaned up last year with four prizes, is in the running for three awards.
Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, who has reportedly just broken up with girlfriend Selena Gomez, is up for four awards, including Best Male and Best Pop.
Rihanna is favourite for Best Song and Best Female, according to odds offered by British bookmakers William Hill, while Gangnam Style is tipped to win Best Video.
The EMA awards were last held in Frankfurt in 2001. Last year's awards in Belfast attracted 23 million viewers on all platforms and 158 million votes worldwide.
Following are the main nominations in 2012:
BEST SONG: Carly Rae Jepsen/Call Me Maybe; Rihanna feat.
Calvin Harris/We Found Love; Gotye/Somebody That I Used To Know;
Pitbull feat. Chris Brown/International Love; fun. feat. Janelle
Mon?e/We Are Young
BEST NEW: Rita Ora; fun.; One Direction; Lana Del Rey; Carly
BEST FEMALE: Rihanna; Katy Perry; P!nk; Taylor Swift; Nicki
BEST MALE: Justin Bieber; Kanye West; Flo Rida; Pitbull;
BEST POP: Justin Bieber; No Doubt; Katy Perry; Taylor Swift;
BEST LIVE: Taylor Swift; Lady Gaga; Jay-Z & Kanye West;
Green Day; Muse
BEST HIP HOP: Jay-Z & Kanye West; Nas; Rick Ross; Drake;
BEST ROCK: Linkin Park; Green Day; Muse; The Killers;
BEST ELECTRONIC: David Guetta; Swedish House Mafia; Avicii;
Skrillex; Calvin Harris
BEST ALTERNATIVE: Jack White; The Black Keys; Arctic
Monkeys; Florence + The Machine; Lana Del Rey
BEST VIDEO: M.I.A./Bad Girls; Lady Gaga/Marry The Night;
Katy Perry/Wide Awake; Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris/We Found
Love; PSY/Gangnam Style.