YouTube launched its very own awards show this weekend, and the YouTube Music Awards were as unconventional and off-kilter as much of the material found on the popular online media platform itself. Hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, the show was both awkward and intriguing, with both hosts operating with no script and strange performances throughout. Spike Jonze sprearheaded the event and the visionary director also participated in some of the night’s performance productions.
Eminem was one of the night’s big winners, despite the fact that the hip-hop superstar has yet to release his highly-anticipated album (The Marshall Mathers LP 2 drops tomorrow); winning “Artist of the Year” for the music videos he released this year. But the main focus of the show truly were the performances, which included members of Odd Future performing their song “Sasquatch” from a mosh pit in the audience, while filming the experience with handheld cameras. Lady Gaga gave a tearful performance of her song “Dope,” without her usual elaborate costuming.
There were plenty of head-scratching moments, including Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler photobombing, the hosts conducting interviews in the audience while holding sobbing babies, and also a couple of improvised songs.
Butler also used the loose, playful atmosphere to jokingly recreate one of Kanye West‘s most notorious moments. He rushed the stage while two Taylor Swift fans were accepting an award.
“Not Taylor Swift,” Butler said. “I’m gonna let you finish. Not Taylor Swift. The YouTube phenomenon of the year was definitely the ‘Harlem Shake.’ I don’t know. No disrespect, but everybody knows that if you’ve ever been on YouTube, so whatever.”