Monday, August 29, 2011 3:18am ET by  
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MTV VMAs: Russell Brand, Tony Bennett and Bruno Mars pay tribute to Amy Winehouse

MTV had Russell Brand introduce the Bruno Mars-anchored tribute to Amy Winehouse last night (August 28) and gave a rather passionate, honest speech.

In a similar vein to his 'For Amy' eulogy that he posted online, Brand said he recognised her as "not just another person milling about waiting to be famous."

He said her unique voice was one that could stop a person in his tracks, and told a story of being taken by surprise by Winehouse's talent whe he was on his way to see Paul Weller.

With comparisons to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, he stressed that Winehouse wasn't addled by addiction but infected with a disease. "A lot of people just get the disease," Brand said, "not the talent." 

Brand then introduced Tony Bennett, who gave a short preview of his upcoming "Duets II," which features Winehouse and Bennett tackling jazz/soul classic "Body and Soul." 

The teaser showed Winehouse looking as healthy as she ever had.

"Of all the young artists I've ever met in the last 20 years, she was a true jazz artist in the traditions of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday -- She had the gift," Bennett told the crowd amidst footage of the two recording side by side.

Bruno Mars then took to the stage to perform 'Valerie', a Zutons song that Winehouse covered with Mark Ronson.

Watch his performance of 'Valerie' here: