The typical awards show is packed with performances, celebrity appearances, red-carpet arrivals and, at some point, the presentations of the night's biggest prize, usually just before the credits roll.
The O Music Awards? Not so much. The first-ever edition of MTV Networks' latest awards extravaganza will take everything you know about awards galas, throw it in a blender, mash it up with an obscure black-and-white cartoon from the 1940s, add a Kanye West beat under it and maybe some adorable LOLcats and a snippet of "Friday" on top, post it on Twitter and watch it go mega-viral.
Instead of just honoring the singers, songwriters, directors and producers who make our favorite digital-music products, the O Music Awards will dig deeper in such categories as Innovative Music Video, Fan Army FTW, Funniest Music Short, Innovative Artist, Must Follow Artist on Twitter, NSFW Music Video, Most Viral Dance, Best Independent Music Blog, Best Animal Performance, Best Performance Series and more to dig up the people behind your favorite online music and videos, professional, amateur or just plain awesome.
Voting has now begun on the O Music Awards website, and like the best viral memes, it will be simple, social and transparent, with fans encouraged to vote via social media through a mobile voting wap site. You can follow the top vote-getters in the categories on a real-time leaderboard in the run-up to the April 28 event. Performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.
And unlike those other awards shows, the night's biggest trophy might be handed out before the broadcast, during it or even after, to keep the conversation going.
"There will be an event, but it won't be a traditional awards show with a host, audience and a bunch of celebrities," promised Shannon Connolly, vice president of music strategy for the MTV Music Group. "It will embody what the O Awards celebrates, which is being very interactive. We'll have live performances, mash-ups, collaborations and it will be a Web event that will take place not just on MTV Music Group sites."
Lady Gaga and Odd Future's Tyler the Creator lead with three nominations each, followed by Kanye West, the Flaming Lips and Nicki Minaj with two nominations apiece. Additional nominated artists include Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Justin Bieber, Lil B, Wiz Khalifa, Robyn, OK Go, Katy Perry and iamwhoiam. Notable nominees include Antoine Dodson/ Gregory Brothers (Funniest Music Short), the Lonely Island (Funniest Music Short), Funny or Die (Funniest Music Short), 50 Cent, Rebecca Black and Bert (Favorite Animated GIF), the Hype Machine (Best Music Discovery Service), Pandora (Best Music Discovery Service), Tiny Desk Concerts (Best Performance Series), Gorilla vs. Bear (Best Independent Music Blog) and Marshall Jones (Best Music Hack).
Fans will definitely be front and center, with an entire category devoted to the Best Fan Cover, the most rabid online fan following (which will pit 30 Seconds to Mars' Echelon against the Beliebers, Katy Perry's Bandaids, Gaga's Little Monsters and the followers of My Chemical Romance, Nicki Minaj, Tokio Hotel, Wiz Khalifa, Rain and Rihanna). There are also nods to the Best Fan Forum, Best Music Hack and Best Animal Performance.
The Innovative Artist race is a tight one as well, including such nominees as the Flaming Lips, iamwhoiam, Kanye, Gaga, Lil B, Radiohead and Tyler the Creator. You'll have to choose between the Dougie, the Pony, Lil B's Cooking Dance and the "Whip My Hair" boogie in the Most Viral Dance category.
In keeping with recent digital-music innovations from MTV Networks like MTV Hive and the Music Meter, Connolly said it was apparent that the time was right to create an awards show that moved at the speed of the Net. "Music consumption has never been greater, and it's hugely important to our audience," she said. "We felt like the time was right to look at the convergence of technology and music fans and the YouTube celebrities who've created this new ecosystem where music is exploding."
Voting starts today for the O Music Awards. Make your voice heard!