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Justin Bieber Crowned Emperor of Canada at the 2012 MMVAs

A nation sighs with relief knowing that Nickelback was not involved.

Looking back, it’s tough to identify exactly where and how the MuchMusic Video Awards show, now in its 22nd year, became such a banal exercise in cultural vapidness. Maybe it all changed with the departure of George Stroumboulopoulos, who last hosted the show in 2004. Maybe the Jonas Brothers fatally lowered the bar in 2009. Maybe it’s always been a joke.

Whatever the reason, you could tell from the marketing that this year was supposed to be different. Which, indeed, it was. This year, the MuchMusic Video Awards event wasn’t just a glitzy, glorified fashion show. It was a glitzy, glorified fashion show that clearly knows it will never be more than that, and is totally fine with it. In a nutshell, last night’s edition included an even younger Bieber, Katy Perry doing some naked butterfly thing, LMFAO‘s apparent style obsession with all things zebra, a lot of pastel, and The Sheepdogs’ hair. At one point, somehow, we actually saw a guitar kicking around.

It was spectacle for spectacles’ sake, and, for Toronto residents, it included a few surprises that may or may not have gone unnoticed. If, for some reason, you were watching the whole neon-gilded brouhaha at home on TV, you may have noticed a familiar face about 15 minutes into the broadcast. Assuming you didn’t miss it, you saw correctly—that was indeed our very own Rob Ford during the credits, shooing away a cloud of pink smoke erupting from a backyard barbeque.

It was unexpected, slightly obnoxious, and done specifically for the sake of grabbing as many eyes as possible. Which, when you get right down to it, is basically MuchMusic in 2012, anyway.

Our illustrious mayor’s star turn aside though, that sparse laundry-list of highlights was pretty much it. Unless you’re part of the horde that cares how Selena Gomez looked in that dress, or you shed a few tears when there were babies (and there were a lot, oddly), it was hard to find much of interest. Backstage, too: it was remarkable—only not—how many discussions revolved around what people were wearing, what styles were suggesting about coming summer fashion trends, and just how grown-up and fine and sophisticated the Biebs is getting in his old age. Um, sure?

Music? To be fair, LMFAO were a break from past hosts, injecting their trademark energy into what often feels like your mom’s favourite award show. Occasionally uncomfortable to watch and vaguely creepy, sure, but a break nonetheless. Otherwise, it was business as usual for the machinery of mass-cultural production, and to be honest, it was sort of depressing. But at least the kids had fun.

Besides, this was NXNE’s weekend, anyway. MuchMusic, we hope you were taking notes.


  • Anonymous

    Of course it’s always been a joke. With the word “Video” in the name you might think the awards might be related to, you know, the direction, cinematography, or technical details of the nominees’ music videos, but a more accurate name for it would be the Much Music Most Popular & Highest Selling Music Awards.

    • Anonymous

      This was last great back in the 1990′s, and how I’d wised that I’d taped those awards. If memory serves, they were all held in the building itself, with only some of it happening outside in the parking lot-and the artists weren’t Justin & Co. I wish that there was a way to see those ones again.

  • Marc Lostracco

    I’ll tell you when things changed: in 2002, when Nickelback won Best Video for their superbland “Hero” video, which was just the band performing on a rooftop intercut with footage from the Spider-Man flick the song was from.

    I’m not even saying that as a Nickelback joke—that’s when it really stopped being about the actual video and more about giving awards (and massive performance fees) to A-list artists so they’d show up and ratings would be high.

    The OMGBESTVIDEO!!!1! in question, which was really only a commercial for Spider-Man:

    You be the judge on whether or not any cash/contra was exchanged between Much and Columbia Pictures for that top award. The film was also heavily advertised in commercial breaks.

    • Anonymous


      Please don’t be stupid and full of shit-there was nothing wrong with that song, or with the video of it. For my part, I wish that there were more videos like it, especially from the 2009 Star Trek movie and from the new Avengers movie-I’d love to see the Beastie Boys dress up as Starfleet officers and sing ‘Sabotage.’ If you want to hate Nickleback, fine, but I like that song, and the video rocked the house.

  • Cyril Sneer

    The only “exciting” moment of the show was the brief on-stage appearance of Dragonette.

  • Anonymous

    All pop music is Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.

    At least that’s what it seems like if you only hear or see what you can’t avoid.

  • Suicide Boi

    Perhaps you just outgrew Much Music?

    Perhaps you simply prefer real music to corporate pablum?

  • Cliff S

    Since when did Much Music have anything to do with music or video’s? Isn’t it all about the “lifestyle”?*

    *Read in plenty of sarcasm.