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Shakira sweeps NRJ music awards

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CANNES, France (NRJ Official Website) - Shakira, the sultry Colombian singer-songwriter, swept the board at the fourth annual NRJ music awards on Saturday, winning the best international album award for Laundry Service, best international song and best international female artist.

The chart-topping artist added to an already stacked trophy case. Laundry Service has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and has picked up awards all over the world.

Shakira beat stiff competition, including Eminem, Shania Twain, and last year's best female artist at NRJ, Jennifer Lopez.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Shakira, giving her reaction by television backstage in Chicago, where she is on a US tour.
"I want to thank you all for this honour. I want to thank my fans especially for making my day," the 25-year-old artist said.

Born to a Lebanese father and Colombian mother, Shakira has become one of South America's most recognisable stars.

The night's other big winners were American rockers The Calling, who notched best international group honours and the Spanish female trio Las Ketchup, who sealed the best international newcomer award.

Las Ketchup got the award show off to a thumping start, performing a hip-shaking, arm-pumping rendition of their breakthrough hit Asereje, or The Ketchup Song.

The surprise of the night came when American-Filipino pop artist Billy Crawford won best male international artist, beating, among others, Britain's Robbie Williams.
"It's a little unheard of for me," the 20-year-old Crawford told reporters backstage. "I'm still shaking."

Williams, meanwhile, has sold five million copies of Escapology, his latest release, but critical acclaim has eluded him. He notched just one nomination for the annual Brit Awards recently despite topping the UK charts.

Williams sang a soulful rendition of Feel during the award show. At one point in the performance, he entered the audience to dance with a young woman before putting on a cheeky display, hopping on the lap of a male audience member.

Local girl Jenifer received the loudest cheer, winning the best French newcomer award. Less than two years ago, the singer was selling sodas on the beach in nearby Nice when she got her big break on the star-search television programme Star Academy.

NRJ, the French-based radio group, also honoured the lifetime achievements of 60-year-old French rocker Johnny Hallyday and Genesis frontman Phil Collins.

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