Amy Winehouse tribute to highlight VMA Awards

Amy Winehouse never appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards during her short but celebrated career. Still, Sunday’s show will take a break from its planned circus atmosphere to pay tribute to the British singer, who died a month ago after years of substance abuse.

Katy Perry arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.  The "Firework" singer was the evening's top nominee.

Katy Perry arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday. The "Firework" singer was the evening's top nominee.

Amy Winehouse never appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards during her short but celebrated career. Still, Sunday’s show will take a break from its planned circus atmosphere to pay tribute to the British singer, who died a month ago after years of substance abuse.

Tony Bennett will lead the tribute to Winehouse; her last known recording was with the 85-year-old crooner on his upcoming Duets II album. There is also word swirling that Winehouse’s parents might show, but MTV officials could not confirm their appearance.

The tribute to Winehouse will likely be the rare moment of reverence in a show that is calculated to be as irreverent as possible. This year, the queen of sexy daffiness, Katy Perry, is poised to be the belle of MTV’s annual ball: She’s up for a leading 10 moonman trophies, including video of the year for her inspirational Firework.

Another female singer is also a top nominee: Adele, the year’s bestselling artist so far with her album 21, is nominated for seven awards for Rolling in the Deep; Kanye West also has seven nominations.

West — always good for a colorful MTV moment (ask Taylor Swift) — wasn’t listed to perform at the awards, which are being held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, broadcast live on MTV. However, E! News reported that he and mentor Jay-Z will be surprise additions.

Confirmed performers include Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Pitbull and Chris Brown, whose star continues to brighten two years after it was tarnished by his attack on Rihanna.

Celebrities including Selena Gomez, newlywed Kim Kardashian and Seth Rogen were also to take part in the show. Stars began arriving early: First down the carpet was rapper Kreayshawn, nominated for best new artist. Wearing a sequined Mickey Mouse minidress and red Nikes, the diminutive rapper said she is most excited to see Lady Gaga perform.

“This is crazy,” she said of her first VMA show. “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life, so it’s a whole new world.”

Please see complete coverage at bprda.wpengine.com