Justin Bieber and Katy Perry were among other notable no-shows, though the firework-filled ceremony was lit up by charismatic and popular rapper Nicki Minaj, who hosted, performed and won an award.
Rock veterans Ozzy Osbourne, Slash all also made appearances, giving the show a grizzled edge.
Fans in the arena were most vocal for the younger acts, however, even if some weren’t able to attend.
British pop group One Direction, known for their dedicated global fan base, won Best Pop, Best Live and Biggest Fans, scooping three of a possible four gongs. They apologized for being unable to collect their awards in person in video messages.
The ceremony, celebrating its 20th anniversary, was held in the 13,000-seat SSE Hydro in Glasgow.