Madonna Pops from Disco Ball at MTV Awards
That was only for starters. She then gyrated with backup dancers before stripping off a leather jacket to reveal a purple leotard and knee length Yves Saint Laurent boots while performing her Abba-sampling single "Hung Up on You."
"After I fell off my horse it was amazing to be able to get up and dance," she said after her number, referring to her riding accident. "You don't beat singing live … my heart was just pumping out of my chest."
The event – at which Green Day (best rock act and best album) and Coldplay (best UK and Ireland act and best song, "Speed of Sound") both won two awards – was emceed by Ali G creator Sacha Baron Cohen, in the guise of his politically incorrect Kazakhstani alter ego, Borat Sagdiyev.
Of Madonna he said: "It was very courageous of MTV to start the show with a genuine transvestite."
As a presenter on the show, Madonna gave a humanitarian award to Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof, telling him onstage: "You drive me crazy, but tonight you are everyone's hero."
Other winners in Lisbon (MTV viewers worldwide vote on the awards): Alicia Keys as best R&B act, Snoop Dogg for best hip-hop act, Black Eyed Peas as best pop group, Shakira and Robbie Williams as best female and male, respectively, and System of a Down as best alternative act.
"I don't have any speech prepared because I really didn't expect it," said an emotional Shakira, who beat out Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliot in the category. "You made my night."
Williams, who dedicated the award to his mother, proved himself the consummate showman once again as he brought the house down with his hit "Tripping," before stage diving into a crowd of adoring fans.
Backstage he joked with the press that he's not a very good lover and admitted to being somewhat star struck by Madonna. "She's amazing, an absolute legend," he said, then joked, "I can't believe she's 89 and looks like that."