Window-thumping bass. Explosive fireworks. The frenetic screams of thousands of teenagers. And, if you listened close, the crooning of some of today’s top-40 talents.
The MuchMusic Video Awards shut down an entire downtown Toronto block Sunday, inviting teens, Canadian performers and bona fide A-listers such as Lorde, Ariana Grande and Imagine Dragons to the annual Queen St. W. street party.
It was a polarizing show. Kylie and Kendall Jenner hosted, popping up five times in a revolving door of outfits. (MuchMusic host Lauren Toyota easily got double the screen time). Famous for being half-sisters to Kim Kardashian, the sister duo was indescribably awkward. They couldn’t muster much chemistry between themselves and the MuchMusic hosts, and their jokes mostly revolved around Kardashian trivia, such as the fact that all their siblings’ names start with the letter “K.”
If there was a redeeming moment, it came when Kylie made fun of her inability to read, a reference to her recent flub at the American Billboard Awards.
Jenners aside, the show was decent. The standout performance undeniably belonged to Lorde, who made up for skipping the red carpet by performing hits “Tennis Court” and “Team” while gyrating around a black lamp. That said, her outfit — an oversized oxblood-purple pantsuit and a floppy hat fit for a Downton Abbey dowager — could have used a second thought.
As always, the MMVAs shone a spotlight on Canadian talent, both old and new. Hedley took three awards, including video of the year for “Anything.” Calgary singer Kiesza had one of the most elaborate performances of the night, jumping out of a yellow taxi and dancing with a fleet of crew for her summer hit “Hideaway.”
Then there were the awards. Lorde beat out Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” and Pharrell’s “Happy” to win international video of the year for an artist.
Aside from singers, the night was speckled with a variety of teen heartthrobs. A theme of the night seemed to be werewolves and vampires, with Hollywood cameos from Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf) Kelan Lutz (Twilight) and Laura Vandervoort (Bitten). Other stars included Chloe Grace Moretz and 14-year-old Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka.