First Ever YouTube Awards Were Weird

by Lindsay Mannering

Because you're probably too busy to sit down for 90 minutes and watch the first annual YouTube Awards, here's what you missed. The show, which streamed live (for the most part) from Pier 36 in New York City, was hosted by funnyman Jason Schwartzman and featured live performances from Lady Gaga, Eminem, MIA, and Arcade Fire. The public was invited to vote in six categories: Video of the Year, Artist of the Year, Response of the Year, YouTube Phenomenon, YouTube Breakthrough, and Innovation of the Year. Not surprisingly, the categories showcased some common names, such as Miley Cyrus, One Direction, and Taylor Swift.

At first, we had high hopes for the YouTube Awards, but soon came to realize that, for the first time ever, we had to agree with Tyler the Creator. The man had a point: this new awards show had the potential to bring to the foreground some lesser-known artists who were doing some really cool shit, yet the nominees were more or less already big names in the music biz.

So how did it all shake out? Well, from the way the Internet is reacting, the YouTube Awards suffered from the same pitfall that all awards show suffer: utter confusion. Despite its ostensible younger, hipper, more Internetty feel, USA Today reports that the show's general vibe was a "confused one."

Perhaps that intentional lack of plan backfired? Schwarztman had told The Hollywood Reporter that there was "no plan" and "no script" and soon after tuning in, it was patently clear that the lack of direction wasn't the show's strength, as might have been intentioned, but its weakness. That said, there were evidently 178,000 plus people who might disagree with that statement: the viewing number hovered near 180K since the show started streaming.

If you're thinking, But hey, Lena Dunham's enjoying the show! You're not wrong. The Girls creator has indeed been tweeting up a storm about the show... but you should know that she wrote that short film that was featured mid-show. According to the National Post, Dunham scripted the the segment, which was set to the music of Avicii.

Bottom line: it was the YouTube Awards rookie year, and it showed. There were a few home runs (Gaga's pantlessness is the gift that keeps on giving and Eminem's performance was pretty great), but there were also plenty of swings and misses. It was reminiscent of the early days of the MTV Video Music Awards where chaos reigned, but since we've been there, done that, the disorder of the YouTube Awards seemed a bit played. If they can work out the kinks next year, we'll give it another try, for sure.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Without further ado, here are the YouTube Awards winners:

Video of the Year, AKA Videos With the Most Fan Engagement:

  • Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”
  • Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj), “Beauty and a Beat”
  • Lady Gaga, “Applause”
  • One Direction, “Best Song Ever”
  • PSY, “Gentleman”
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert) “Same Love”
  • Girls’ Generation “I Got A Boy” — WINNER
  • Demi Lovato, “Heart Attack”
  • Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It”
  • Epic Rap Battles Of History, “Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney.”

Artist of the Year, AKA most Shared/Watched/Liked/Subscribed-To

  • Eminem — WINNER
  • Epic Rap Battles of History
  • Justin Bieber
  • Katy Perry
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Nicki Minaj
  • One Direction
  • PSY
  • Rihanna
  • Taylor Swift

Response of the Year, AKA Best Fan Remix/Parody/Response Video

  • Boyce Avenue (feat. Fifth Harmony) “Mirrors”
  • Jayesslee, “Gangnam Style”
  • Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, “Radioactive” — WINNER
  • ThePianoGuys, “Titanium/Pavane”
  • Walk Off the Earth (feat. KRNFX), “I Knew You Were Trouble”

YouTube Phenomenon, AKA Songs Which Generated the Most Fan Videos

  • ”Diamonds”
  • ”Gangnam Style”
  • ”Harlem Shake”
  • “I Knew You Were Trouble” — WINNER
  • “Thrift Shop”

YouTube Breathrough, AKA Artists With the Biggest Growth in Views/Subscribers

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — WINNER
  • Naughty Boy
  • Passenger
  • Rudimental

Innovation of the Year, AKA Creative Video Innovations With the Most Views/Likes/Shares/Comments

  • Anamanaguchi, “Endless Fantasy”
  • Atoms For Peace, “Ingenue”
  • Bat For Lashes, “Lilies”
  • DeStorm, “See Me Standing” — WINNER
  • Toro Y Moi, “Say That”