British audiences are accustomed to awards ceremonies suffering the occasional blip. But they have never witnessed anything on the calamitous scale of the inaugural Arabian Music Awards.
The problems began early with few of the nominees promised for Saturday's "star-studded" ceremony showing up at the Dubai International Convention Centre, delaying the start by two and a half hours until after midnight. When the event did get under way, the confused presenters found their microphones cutting in and out, leaving them unsure who should be on stage and when.
The audience began to boo and hiss, abandoning seats for which they had paid up to 5,000 dirhams (£740) each. By 3.30am the last 100 members of the audience of 2,000 gave up and left, along with many of the performers. The show ended with a pile of awards yet to be presented.
The one saving grace was that live television coverage in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia was brief, with organisers saying they pulled the plug themselves after eight minutes.
One of the winners was the British singer Sarah Brightman, recognised for her duet "The War is Over" with Kazem al-Saher, from Iraq.
The Arab Music Academy blamed the troubles on "sudden technical glitches". (AP)Reuse content