It seems like this was the busiest weekend of the summer in Toronto. Luminato was in its final weekend, Taste of Little Italy had traffic shut down on College Street, NXNE kept the bars open til 4 A.M., and the Much Music Video Awards dominated Queen Street to cap things off on Sunday night.
The MMVAs are always a massive spectacle to behold, and with Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, LMFAO, and Carly Rae Jepsen all in town, this year’s show brought the screaming, crying teenagers out in droves. We could have watched it on TV, but we thought it would be better to give you some coverage from the front-lines, and let you know what the MMVAs are like behind all the smoke and mirrors.
Thanks to a sweet hookup from a friend who works in the area, Pop Hunter staked out a spot on a nearby rooftop, and enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the MMVAs madness. Excuse the occasional blurry photo — camera phones are extremely difficult to operate when your heart is beating exorbitantly fast in the presence of the Bieber.
A small group of us perched on the rooftop of a Second Cup, and took in the show from the intersection at Queen & John, which gave us a perfect view of the red carpet, and of the secondary stage. The main stage was in the Much Music parking lot on the other side of the building, so we missed out on some of the biggest performances of the night. Whenever a performance was happening there, we would just listen to the distant booming audio, and squint at tiny television screens in the building across the street to see if we could make out what was going on. In a way, the real attraction was the mob of screaming onlookers, so we didn’t mind so much when we couldn’t see what was happening on the main stage.
As you might expect, being on a rooftop and getting a fairly decent overview of the entire awards show grounds at Queen & John led to a few stray observations about this year’s MMVAs. In case you missed the live tweeting, here are some MMVA rooftop reflections that we deemed worth sharing.
1. The Red Carpet is Pre-taped
When we first took our spots on the roof, the red carpet arrivals were already happening. This was a bit of a surprise to us, since we showed up around 7:30, and the red carpet special wasn’t supposed to start until 8:00. We managed to catch most of the high-profile artist arrivals, but we missed a few, including when Carly Rae Jepsen rolled in like a fall fair ambassador in the back of a convertible with an escort of a half-dozen oiled up shirtless hunks.
When 8:00 rolled around, we could hear the red carpet coverage being projected for the crowds near the main stage. All evidence considered, it seems likely that Much Music shoots their red carpet special an hour early, despite giving the impression that everything is happening live.
2. Katy Perry’s Entourage of Children Dressed Like Her
Katy Perry’s red carpet arrival reached Octomom-levels of crazy, with a narcissistic twist. She rolled up with eight five-year-old girls who were all dressed in K-Mart-grade costumes inspired by her memorable music videos, but uhh, much less revealing, of course. From the rooftop, it was difficult to make out the detail in the costumes, including the bummed-out girl who got stuck playing Katy’s Navy Seal character from her “Part Of Me” video, and the little girl with the crazy inappropriate cupcake breasts.
3. Marianna’s Trench’s Bouncy Castle Entrance
For some reason, Mariana’s Trench thought they would show up to the red carpet in a mobile bouncy castle. Just when you thought that was weirdo/cheeseball enough, they emerged from the castle wearing inflatable horse costumes.
4. Mariana’s Trench has a Phantom Guitar Player
Because we were facing the secondary stage from the side, we were able to see the backstage area during performances by Mariana’s Trench and Hedley. During Mariana’s Trench, there was a second guitar player hiding backstage behind the drummer, playing along with the band. I’m sure that’s a common thing for live pop rock performances, but it was pretty wild to witness it in person. Imagine how disenfranchised that guy feels, strumming along to over-produced pop-rock garb, and being forced to conceal himself while doing it. If you check out this video from the Mariana’s Trench MMVA soundcheck, the phantom guitarist is hiding behind that white circular stage-piece behind the drummer.
5. Pyro is Truly Awesome
The building we were standing on top of was only 3 storeys tall, which put us on the exact level that the pyro and fireworks would shoot during Mariana’s Trench and Hedley performances. I feel like I could have easily burnt my eyebrows off.
6. It Will Take 3 Years To Clean Up All That Confetti
During LMFAO’s opening number, there were canons shooting a butt-load of tissue paper confetti into the air, and all over the crowd. The confetti eventually made its way onto our rooftop. You’ll also notice a cameo from our rooftop refreshments.
7. They Really Pack Those Kids In Tight
Audience members with MMVA wristbands were packed into the audience pits so tightly, if you wanted to leave, you had to shart and throw-up at the same time to clear a path for yourself.
8. Bieber Fever Trumps Carly Rae-bies
Carly Rae Jepsen took home 3 MMVAs last night, and Justin Bieber only won two. Also, Jepsen is currently enjoying her spot at #1 on the charts, a feat Justin Bieber has never managed to pull off. In a way, it seems like Carly Rae has a lot more momentum than J.B. has right now, thanks to the power of “Call Me Maybe.” Just when I was starting to think that Bieber Fever wasn’t nearly as volatile as Carly Rae-bies, I heard the screams for Justin Bieber absolutely consume the intersection during his red carpet arrival.
Watch Justin Bieber’s performance of “All Around The World” and “Boyfriend” below:
9. Much Music Uses Flash Cards Instead of a Teleprompter
The budget for this show must have been out of control. So, can’t they at least afford an iPad, or something? One of the flash cards said “Cody gives high-fives,” and then moments after its initial appearance, Cody Simpson did indeed distribute a liberal amount of high-fives to a few lucky front-row audience members.
10. LMFAO are Modern-day Clowns
Because we were so removed from the main stage, it was difficult to tell whether or not LMFAO were pulling their weight as hosts for the evening. They did make their way over to our side of festivities for a brief moment to accept an award for International Video Of The Year (Group), and that’s when it dawned on me — at their simplest, LMFAO are modern-day clowns. They wear goofy costumes, dance (shuffle) for nickels, and everything about their performance is loud, over the top, exaggerated, and obnoxious. It seems like both RedFoo and SkyBlu default to a goofy emphasized strut any time they have to move their bodies, as if it’s a nervous tick that they themselves aren’t even aware of. Here’s a shot of them goofin’ around with Cody Simpson. SkyBlu pretends the award is his dong!
That’s what the MMVAs were like from a rooftop at Queen & John. Now, excuse me while I torrent a copy of the broadcast, and see if I can spot myself.
Here are the televised winners from last night’s proceedings:
UR Fave International Artist or Group: Katy Perry
UR Fave Video of the Year: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
UR Fave Artist or Group: Justin Bieber
Video of the Year: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
International Video of the Year, Group: LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”
International Video of the Year by a Canadian: Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”
International Video of the Year, Artist: Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”
MuchMusic.com’s Most Streamed Video of the Year: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
Much Vibe Hip Hop Video of the Year: Drake’s “The Motto”
Director of the Year: Danny Fernandes, “Hit Me Up”
MuchLoud Rock Video of the Year: The Sheepdogs’ “I Don’t Know”
Cinematography of the Year: Marianas Trench’s “Fallout”
Rock Video of the Year: Marianas Trench’s “Fallout”
Post-Production of the Year: Down with Webster’s “Big Wheels”