The first ever Youtube Music Awards haphazardly, almost unknowingly, streamed on Youtube.com last Sunday. A jarring shift from traditional award show format, the escapade hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts flowed about as well as a clogged sink.
The show was successful in not taking itself too seriously, as there were a plethora of technical difficulties and uncaring stagehands breaking the illusion of professionalism. It almost seemed as though it was slapped together no more than a few days before, but for some reason it was still watchable. It was an award show essentially about the Internet, and the Internet in and of itself can be a jumbled mess of information and technicalities.
Interestingly enough, the show was run by praised director Spike Jonze, whose loose puppeteering guided the segments which included "live music videos," comedy sketches and, of course, the distribution of awards.
The fan-voted accolades came in the form of red blocks with the signature YouTube play logo plastered on. Eminem took home the most coveted prize, Artist of the Year, while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won for YouTube breakthrough. Taylor Swift got a nod for YouTube Phenomenon while Girl's Generation was awarded the "Video of the Year" prize.
A sticking point for the show was the fact that it managed to wrangle high-profile talent including Lady Gaga and Eminem, who both performed live. Eminem, likely the most memorable part of the show, delivered a searing rendition of his newest single "Rap God" which closed the event.
The YouTube stream petered out at times, causing great frustration for the quarter of a million people watching it. Even more painful was the fact that every time this occurred a full-length advertisement sullied live performances, like that of Tyler the Creator and collaborator Earl Sweatshirt.
The entire show carried on like the confused adolescent brother of the MTV Video Music Awards; it was watched simply to see what outrageous romp would ensue. While potential for the show lingered at many points, it never quite achieved everything that it could have, being an innovative concept supplemented with popular talent.
It's unclear whether or not YouTube will continue putting on this ragtag show as it pulled in a fairly small audience despite featuring big names, but if it does, remain hopeful that it advertises better and keeps some level of uncertainty and disjointedness but in a more watchable format.