I once heard a kid describe television as “Youtube for old people,” and if Sunday night’s YouTube Music Awards prove anything, it’s that free streaming video is here to stay and we’re all the better for it.
The show was a glorious mashup of what makes YouTube so great: a bit awkward, unashamedly low budget, and packed full of snippets of brilliance that seemingly popped out of nowhere.
Co-host Jason Schwartzman probably put it best when, after admitting there was no script for hosting, he simply said, “This is all about anything happening.” Not too long after, him and co-host Reggie Watts were improvising with some instruments that were left behind.
Basically, it was exactly what you would expect from an awards show in honour of YouTube: not so much a tightly run, overblown production than a night of surprises – of barely contained chaos. After all, where else are you going to see Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler taking pictures of the hosts on his iPhone, right beside them?
Oh, and Rashida Jones just dropped off some babies for the hosts to look after for a while.
At an hour and a half, it was also self-aware enough to not drag on for hours on end. Despite its looseness and informality, it felt spontaneous, like, well anything could happen. Even Lady Gaga managed to be surprising and, instead of her usual craziness, she settled down in a plaid shirt and trucker hat for a ballad. It was quiet and would never happen at the Grammys, or the VMAs, or really anywhere else.
Below are a list of the winners, but you should totally watch the whole thing here.
Breakthrough of the Year
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Response of the Year
Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, “Radioactive”
Boyce Avenue (feat. Fifth Harmony), “Mirrors”
Jayesslee, “Gangnam Style”
Walk Off the Earth (feat. KRNFX), “I Knew You Were Trouble”
Innovation of the Year
DeStorm, “See Me Standing”
Anamanaguchi, “Endless Fantasy”
Atoms For Peace, “Ingenue”
Bat For Lashes, “Lilies”
Toro Y Moi, “Say That”
“I Knew You Were Trouble”
Video of the Year
Girls’ Generation, “I Got A Boy”
Demi Lovato, “Heart Attack”
Epic Rap Battles Of History, “Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney”
Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj), “Beauty and a Beat”
Lady Gaga, “Applause”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert) “Same Love”
Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”
One Direction, “Best Song Ever”
Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It”
Artist of the Year
Epic Rap Battles Of History
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis