Mariah Carey a Sensation in Monte Carlo
10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Also present at the event was multi-nominee 50 Cent, who was named best artist of 2003, and Pink, who was awarded the best American pop star award. Chaka Khan and guitar singer George Benson both received "legend" awards.
Carey, 33, appeared briefly Saturday night at the Music Award's private cocktail reception at the Monte Carlo Casino, dressed in a sexy beige Roberto Cavalli dress.
"It's very exciting to be here," she tells PEOPLE. But apparently not exciting enough to keep her from skipping out on the official private dinner at the Hotel de Paris with Prince Albert and the other invited artists. Instead, she went off with friends.
But Carey, smiling and radiant, did reappear the following evening at the awards ceremony, which benefited the Princess Grace Hospitals in Africa and the Rupert Everett Charity to support AIDS Research.
The pop diva wore a dazzling turquoise, pink and yellow Versace dress with a revealing halter top. When asked how she felt about selling 150 million albums, Carey said: "I don't really know about charts or any of those things. But it's a honor to be here."
Is Monaco everything she expected it to be? "Yes, it's an exciting, magical place," she said.
50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson), flanked by bodyguards, happily noted that autograph seekers had been hounding him all over the French Riviera. "I love the attention," said the 27-year-old rapper. "I'm soaking it up."