November 4, 2013


Lady Gaga, Eminem & Girls' Generation Dominate YouTube Music Awards

Sunday night in Manhattan, YouTube entered the annual awards ceremony game with the inaugural YouTube Music Awards. The livestream was directed by Spike Jonze, hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts and far looser than any awards show in years.

The performance highlight of the night was Lady Gaga debuting her ARTPOP track "Dope" a few hours ahead of its official release. Gaga teared up during her performance, which makes sense when you pay closer attention to the lyrics and realize she's not just talking about addiction: She's addressing the former personal assistant and ex-best friend who is currently suing her. Watch the highly personal performance above.

Eminem won the night's top honor, the fan-voted YouTube Artist of the Year Award. But as he was backstage prepping his performance of "Rap God," he wasn't on hand to accept it. That left an out-of-breath Schwartzman aimlessly riffing for a minute, which you can watch here if you must.

Less awkward, more awesome was the indie-on-indie action of Greta Gerwig dancing through an intricate onstage set Frances Ha-style to Arcade Fire's performance of "Afterlife." Watch it here:

But truthfully, heavy-hitters like Gaga, Em and Arcade Fire have plenty of accolades and attention already. So the most touching, heartfelt moment came from Girls' Generation singer Tiffany when she accepted YouTube's Video of the Year Award for "I Got a Boy" on behalf of her K-pop sisters.

Given that the YouTube Awards are chosen by online fans and not by industry folk, this meant the Korean girl group—who are hugely popular on the Internet but mostly ignored by traditional media outlets—were able to nab a trophy befitting their growing popularity in the States.

"To win is absolutely unexpected, exciting and humbling at the same time," Tiffany said. She thanked the fans who "totally gave this to us" as well as her "eight sisters on the other side of the planet for trusting me to represent the group." She also jokingly referenced their song "My Best Friend," asking the crowd, "YouTube is my best friend, is YouTube your best friend?"