The first-ever YouTube Music Awards were a bit of chalky, messy, play-it-by ear experiment — literally. After all, when all the chaos ended, co-host Jason Schwartzman wasn’t even sure if he could leave, saying, “I think we’re done,” after handing Eminem the award for Artist of the Year.
So, in a night were one nonsensical antic led to another, MTV News thought we’d sort through it all out for you. Here are the wackiest moments of Sunday (November 3) night.
Toward the beginning of the show, viewers got a chance to see what music on YouTube is all about. Artists from Justin Bieber to Megan & Liz got their start by posting their videos on the site, so it’s only appropriate to give YT’s music a proper introduction. There was Tay Zonday, whose 2007 “Chocolate Rain” lived during the birth of the viral-video era. And remember Antoine Dodson? CDZA did a great cover of AutoTune The News’ “Bedroom Intruder,” and T-Pain came out to sing the Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat.” Walk Off the Earth were there, remixing their a cappella versions of Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and more. There was some “Gangnam Style” and “The Fox” mixed in there, of course.
Host Schwartzman and Reggie Watts were doing pretty well until they came to a surprising bump in the road. Although we wished Rashida would stick around when she dropped by the stage, she had other plans, leaving two diaper-clad babies to chill with the hosts. Luckily, they were presenting Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with the Breakthrough award, so they could pawn the chubby-cheeked cherubs off as trophies.
“I can’t believe we won these kids,” Macklemore said gleefully while the hosts bobbed the babies in their arms. “I always wanted a kid. I don’t have sex, so this is perfect.
Taylor Swift couldn’t be there to accept the YouTube Phenomenon award, but girl group Cimorelli were there on her behalf (they’re known for their TSwift covers). Win Butler, who was on set after performing his live Arcade Fire music video, went in for a never-old Kanye West VMA joke. Referencing ‘Ye’s 2009 interruption, Butler came in with a mic, claiming that Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” should’ve won the award. “Everyone who’s ever been on YouTube knows that ‘Harlem Shake’ was the best,” he joked.
In what at first seemed to be an off-the-cuff scramble for a working microphone, Watts and Schwartzman were joined onstage by Michael Cera, who just so happened to have a mic that was only programmed to his voice. Because of that little inconvenience, Cera stepped behind the hosts, voicing their speeches while they mouthed the words from cue cards Cera gave them. Except this script seemed like Mike did a bit of tailoring to it, with lots of compliments thrown his own way.
And for some reason, Jason and Reggie had some sort of inexplicable blood splattered on them, and later, they were later doused with blue chalk Color Run-style. But that’s beside the point.
As an innovative new way of shooting music videos, the artists performed songs with live direction from people like Spike Jonze — something that seemed right up Lady Gaga’s performance-art alley. Tyler, the Creator, Eminem and Arcade Fire also shot videos during the night. M.I.A.’s was particularly frenzied as she spent most of her time in a trippy tunnel of neon lights, strobes and glow sticks.
What was your favorite moment of the night? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @MTVNews!