TORONTO - It's that time of year again. The Queen Street streetcar has been replaced by buses while teenagers from all over have set up camp chairs along Toronto's downtown sidewalks, all in preparation for the 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards.
But can you really call the event an awards show if a number of the awards are handed out on the red carpet, potentially before the recipients have arrived? It's a strategy that certainly streamlined the show - getting rid of a number of pesky acceptance speeches - but it did make the whole thing more like an elaborate concert than a party about honouring talent.
Nonetheless, the weather was perfect and the area around MuchMusic's downtown headquarters was transformed into a compound of stages, red carpets and screaming fans. All prerequisites for a show bookended with Lady Gaga performances and peppered by celebrity appearances by the likes of Justin Bieber and co-host Selena Gomez, performances by The Black Keys, Bruno Mars, and City and Colour (among others), and presenters such as Snoop Dogg, Shawn Desman and Danny Fernandes.
-Best and worst MMVA moments
-Rate the MMVA fashion
Video of the Year went to Desman for his song Electric/Night Like This, directed by RT!, the man behind six of this year's nominated videos, including the MuchFACT Indie Video of the Year, which went to JDiggz featuring Neverending White Lights for This Time and Best Post-Production of the Year, which went to Danny Fernandes featuring Belly for Automatic. Despite his dominance, though, RT! failed to snag Director of the Year, which went to Sean Wainsteim for his espionage-esque video for You Say Party's Lonely's Lunch.
Other notable winners were Lady Gaga and Bieber, both of whom won all the awards they were nominated for. Lady Gaga sealed her international dominance by beating out nine other nominees to take home the award for International Video of the Year - Artist for Judas, and picked up the fan choice UR FAVE International Video for Born This Way.
Teen heart-throb Bieber also picked up two awards. Bieber's Somebody to Love (remix), featuring Usher, tied with Drake's Find Your Love for International Video of the Year by a Canadian. But the Beliebers rallied and the Stratford, Ont., native snagged the UR Fave New Artist award for his Somebody to Love (remix) video.
There weren't many upsets at Sunday night's awards, but MuchMusic spiced things up by debuting a new statuette for the awards. The latest incarnation of the trophy - the fourth since the MMVAs started in 1990 - is made of an aluminium alloy, and distinctly brick-like in appearance. The statuette was redesigned as part of the music channel's rebranding efforts, said Peter Moller, creative director of design, in a news release.
"The heavy-weight trophy was meant to materialize the impact, significance, weight and profoundness of receiving a prize," he said in the release. "The simple yet stylish shape is timeless and is meant to be on a shelf or a proud MMVA winner for many years without becoming dated."
The size of the trophy also means that the winners' names will be engraved directly onto its surface, rather than on a plaque attached to a statue. At 10 pounds apiece, though, it may be a blessing in disguise that none of the nominated artists won more than two awards - that alone has to be worth a day off of training.
Here is the complete winners list:
-Video of the Year: Shawn Desman for âElectric/Night Like This,â directed by RT!
-Post-Production of the Year: Danny Fernandes f. Belly for âAutomatic,â directed by RT!
-Cinematography of the Year: Blake McGrath for âRelax,â directed by Kyle Davison
-Director of the Year: You Say Party for âLonelyâs Lunch,â directed by Sean Wainsteim
-Pop Video of the Year: Down With Webster for âWhoa Is Me,â directed by Aaron A.
-MuchLOUD Rock Video of the Year: Abandon All Ships for âGeeving,â directed by Davin Black
-MuchVibe Hip Hop Video of the Year: Classified for âThat Ainât Classy,â directed by Harv
-MuchFACT Indie Video of the Year: JDiggz f. Neverending White Lights for âThis Time,â directed by RT!
-International Video of the Year - Artist: Lady Gaga for âJudas,â directed by Lady Gaga and Laurieann Gibson
-International Video of the Year - Group: Far East Movement f. The Cataracs & Dev for âLike a G6,â directed by Matt Alonzo
-International Video of the Year by a Canadian: (TIE) Drake for âFind Your Love,â directed by Anthony Mandler, and Justin Bieber f. Usher for âSomebody to Love (Remix),â directed by Dave Meyers
-UR FAVE Video: Fefe Dobson for âStutterin,â directed by Alan Ferguson
-UR FAVE International Artist: Lady Gaga for âBorn This Way,â directed by Nick Knight and Haus of Gaga
-UR FAVE Artist: Justin Bieber f. Usher for âSomebody to Love (Remix),â directed by Dave Meyers
-MuchMusic.com Most Watched Video Taio Cruz for âDynamiteâ