YouTube streamed its first ever awards show on Sunday afternoon and it received negative backlash from the 10 people who actually watched the whole thing — and for good reason. Hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, the first ever YTMAs was advertised as “unscripted so anything can happen!” but it was actually just terrible. It was all over the place, without timelines or rules or organization, but for some reason this was by design. It was as chaotic as it sounds and just be glad you chose to watch football instead.
Among other forgettable acts of the YTMAs: Lady Gaga performed a boring song, MIA performed a cool song, Eminem — winner of the Artist of the Year award despite not really being active for the first half of 2013 — also performed. Win Butler of Arcade Fire kanye-d the girls who accepted the award for Taylor Swift and it was probably the saddest part of the entire show. Someone won the Innovation award — whatever that means — and said, “I just received the dopest paperweight ever,” because that’s how important this awards show is. Lena Dunham wrote a script that featured Avicii and Vanessa Hudgens, who hasn’t been relevant since High School Musical. And then Michael Cera walked in. Michael Cera’s greatest talent is that he can sense when something awkward is happening and then he makes it worse.
The reason the YTMAs sucked so much — aside from the lack of organization — is that it ignored “YouTube Celebrities” in favor of “Actual Celebrities Who Don’t Use YouTube.” YouTube is greater than music videos, and therefore it should have been hosted by WhatTheBuckShow and TylerOakley with nominees of only YouTubers. A category for Educators such as CrashCourse, MinutePhysics, or CGPGrey (whose video on Coffee Addiction is so informative you should watch it right now). And maybe a category of Beauty Gurus such as missglamorazzi or itsJudytime. Or Gaming, with PewDiePie and RoosterTeeth. Or literally anyone who has a channel. They should have cut the music facade and called it the YouTube awards.
These YouTubers are not as famous as Eminem, Lady Gaga, or my girl Tay, but they are actual users of YouTube, with relationships and communities and subscribers from 500,000 to 15 million. Their jobs are to make videos, they have a real following, and if YouTube chose to celebrate them instead of artists we already see on the VMAs, the YTMAs would have been more successful. If Netflix is cable TV’s biggest competitor, YouTube has already eclipsed MTV in the sense that Carson Daly’s Total Request Live has become obsolete. The YouTube Music Awards could have been more successful, but it only bored viewers and alienated YouTube personalities.
Follow my advice and better luck next time, YouTube.