Photo: Courtesy of YouTube.
Tonight's YouTube Music Awards will almost certainly be unlike any other awards show you've seen. Codirected by Spike Jonze and hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, the show will be filmed and streamed live on YouTube at 6 p.m. (EST) from New York City's Pier 36. While live awards shows always contain the potential for disaster, which is also part of their appeal, Jonze suggests that mistakes are inevitable. "None of us have done anything live before or an awards show — in a way we're all like amateurs on YouTube ourselves, making our first video," the director told Billboard recently. "So even if it's messy, it'll be live."
The songs featured tonight will also be different than usual. Instead of concert-like performances, eight artists will perform live music videos across multiple sets; they may or may not be visibly present throughout the entire performance, just as in a regular video. That means that, beyond the usual complicated choreography of airing any live event, this show's crew will have to juggle the extra burden of filming multiple narratives on top of the regular procession of events. So, we can expect some awkwardness.
Tonight's music video artists include Lady Gaga, MIA, OK Go, Arcade Fire (with Greta Gerwig), Avicii, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator, Eminem, Lindsey Stirling, and CDZA.
As for the awards themselves, expect to be familiar with most of the nominees going in. Only high-profile musicians are up for Artist of the Year — Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, etc. The Response of the Year and Innovation of the Year awards, however, might be from artists and groups outside the mainstream, but the nominations are based on number of views, shares, and likes. Billboard points out that being a top video on the site is not necessarily an indicator of an awards nod. Ylvis’ “The Fox,” for example, was not nominated.