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18-year-old pop star wins video of the year at MTV Latin America awards in Mexico

Teenage pop star Belinda, who starred in the Disney Channel's "Cheetah Girls 2," won the video of the year award at the MTV Video Music Awards Latin America in Mexico City.

The 18-year-old native of Madrid, Spain, who grew up in Mexico, also won best solo artist at the awards show Thursday.

Belinda, whose album "Utopia" garnered two Latin Grammy nominations, performed at the show, which offered little surprises and was broadcast on MTV Latin America and MTV TR3S, MTV's bilingual channel in the United States.

The Mexican rock band Mana took home the ceremony's first trophy - a plastic tongue pierced with an MTV pin - for best group or duo and also won artist of the year.

Accordion-toting Julieta Venegas, a native of the Mexican border city of Tijuana, won best pop artist.

"The world is upside down when I get the award for best pop artist," said Venegas, who broke into Latin America's music scene with albums that were heavy on rock. "I don't think I fit the profile but maybe the world is changing."

British rock band The Cure opened the ceremony with its signature melancholy sound, followed by the Latin rhythms of Colombian singer Juanes.

The awards show, held in Mexico City for the second year in a row, was embraced by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who inaugurated an exhibit of giant photos from previous shows along the capital's main Reforma boulevard.

Mexican movie star Diego Luna hosted the awards show at the Palacio de los Deportes before an audience of 10,000.

Canadian singer Avril Lavigne tried her Spanish when receiving the trophy for song of the year for "Girlfriend."

"Hola, Gracias, this is awesome!" Lavigne told the crowd. She also won best international pop artist.

Lavigne, 23, told reporters before the awards that she is reading several film scripts before choosing her next big screen project.

"I'm going to take my time and wait for the right script because you don't want to rush that kind of thing," said Lavigne, who appears in the movie "Fast Food Nation" and gave a voice performance in the animated film "Over the Hedge."

Teenage star Hilary Duff also performed at the live show.

In a news conference before the ceremony, Duff said constant media attention has exacerbated Britney Spears' and Lindsay Lohan's troubles.

"I feel sad for them," said Duff, who presented her new album "Dignity" in Mexico City.

Duff, 19, said she wouldn't like to be in their place because the spotlight "is not letting them change their lives."

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