It was an awards show unlike any other.
Hosted by actor Jascon Schartzman and comedian Reggie Watts, the first-ever (and entirely unscripted) YouTube awards show may have been less polished than its MTV and MuchMusic cousins, but boasted stars and surprises aplenty.
Featuring live music videos and performances, Canadian rock band Arcade Fire opened the 90-minute show with their song “Afterlife,” while Greta Gerwig did a kooky interpretive dance. Later, Lady Gaga wept over a piano as she debuted her track “Dope,” off of her upcoming ARTPOP album.
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Things got weirder from there, with crying babies making an appearance and a live performance of a “choose-your-own-adventure” style music video by Avicii, which ended in a fake double suicide, as chosen by the audience.
Eminem won artist of the year, a top honour he earned for being the most watched, shared, liked and subscribed-to artist of 2013.
Taylor Swift's “I Knew You Were Trouble” won the YouTube phenomenon award for generating the most fan videos.Other winners included Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, who earned the Breakthrough award, which celebrates artists with the most growth in views and subscribers.
Produced by director Spike Jonze and streamed by YouTube rather than broadcast on television, the show marks the video hosting site’s strategic move into the music industry as it plans to introduce a paid music service by the end of the year.
Of course, YouTube has been an influential force in music since its inception, with pop sensations like Justin Bieber famously getting their start on Google-owned site.