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Pietà girl over the moon as Iglesias pulls her up on stage for second time

A knight to remember... Sarah Michelle Attard (centre) clutching her photos of last year's dance with Enrique Iglesias, her ticket to the stage once again. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

A knight to remember... Sarah Michelle Attard (centre) clutching her photos of last year's dance with Enrique Iglesias, her ticket to the stage once again. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

What are the chances of being picked from a crowd of 50,000 plus and being kissed - in front of a potential audience of 150 million - by gorgeous heart-throb Enrique Iglesias?

And what are the chances of that happening twice?

You would have to ask Sarah Michelle Attard, an 18-year-old student from Pietà, who on Wednesday night made it onto the coveted Isle of MTV Malta Special stage for the second year running, when the superstar pulled her up to sing to her.

But the action did not stop there. Latino lover Enrique Iglesias used every seduction skill in the book to get the love-struck Sarah weak at the knees, leaving her with butterflies going wild in her stomach and swooning as he crooned the romantic, love tune, Hero.

Sarah's selection was a complete surprise, even though she had been strategically plotting and had secretly prepared a bag with what she deemed were the necessary weapons - enlarged photographs of her on stage with Enrique Iglesias last year, a similar garland of flowers she had worn that night, which had ended up on the star, and her autograph book.

Sarah admits she wasn't such an ardent fan until her close encounter with the singer at last year's Isle of MTV.

"I had been calling to get a backstage pass, or organise a meeting to give him the photos, but I hadn't succeeded," says the bubbly and confident student, with smiling eyes.

Hers was a mission that started at 9.30 a.m. on the day of the concert, seeing her queue outside the barriers to get to the front of the stage. That position was almost lost when a mini stampede occurred as 150 fans who had gathered early mistakenly thought the barriers were opening and barged forward only to be stopped in their tracks.

"When the gates opened, everyone rushed to the stage, kicking and pushing each other. It was a fight for survival. But I aimed for the front in the middle... and I reached my target!"

Sarah could feel the competition was strong, overhearing girls' conversations and plans to be the chosen one, but she did not reveal her arsenal until the time was right.

When Iglesias started his performance, out came the photographs, which he noticed with a wink.

"I just knew it was going to be me again. I couldn't believe it. He could have picked anyone as there were loads of girls in front screaming and freaking out... It didn't take him too long to choose a girl - last year, he had hesitated. I felt sorry for the girl next to me, whom I had befriended and who had been planning all day. I wished he had taken us both."

Enrique Iglesias, who completely stole the show on Wednesday, despite what was considered to be a repeat performance, primed the crowd into a frenzy when he started practically making love to the girl. The atmosphere was electric, and everyone was screaming - in ecstasy, or envy, but definitely excitement.

The camera zoomed in on his groping hands as they clutched her backside; he looked deep into Sarah's eyes as he told her he could be her hero and would kiss away her pain. Instead, he planted a juicy kiss smack on the lips before sending her backstage.

"This year's was longer though - it was a French kiss," she recalls in bliss.

"I was more confident this year. In 2007, he had put my hands on his backside; this year, I just grabbed it myself. It's quite weird with all those people looking at you, but I don't the mind attention really."

Sarah got home at 5.30 a.m., following an after-party at the Grand Hotel Excelsior with the other artists. Her mother had already called her friends, the hospital and the police by then.

"I told Enrique what I had been through to get to that point and he seemed to have really appreciated it."

Just before hitting the stage on Wednesday night, Enrique Iglesias was made an honorary citizen of Valletta by mayor Paul Borg Olivier in the presence of the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Mario de Marco at the Grand Hotel Excelsior.

The singer is the second of two foreign personalities to receive the honour, the other being world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti, a symbol of classical music, while Enrique Iglesias was the epitome of pop. Together they represent the opposite ends of the musical spectrum.

Expressing his honour at receiving the framed certificate and an engraved silver plate, the first thing he asked was whether it meant he could not get arrested.

Dr Borg Olivier joked back that it did not mean Enrique Iglesias could vote for him either, but he could always campaign for him.

The superstar was then whisked off to the concert, where he took the stage by storm halfway through the show, telling an enthusiastic crowd he would return every year and that Malta was one of the best places in the world.

Following his performance, and despite two more acts to go, the tight crowd actually started to disperse, making it clear that, contrary to some expectations, he was once again the highlight of the show.

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