Toronto rock group Billy Talent was the big winner at the 18th Annual MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto on Sunday (June 17), taking home three trophies.
The WEA band, which had led the nominations with five nods, won honors for top video, the MuchLoud top rock video for "Fallen Leaves," and the people's choice award for top Canadian band.
"Honestly, this is the best!" said Billy Talent frontman Ben Kowalewicz of the people's choice honor. "This is the first time we were nominated for this (award)."
RCA’s Avril Lavigne took honors for the best international video by a Canadian for "Girlfriend," as well as the fan-voted favorite Canadian artist title, sparking tears from the often-rambunctious pop star.
"This seriously means so much to me, I'm going to cry," said Lavigne of the people's choice honor, before she closed the MMVAs with “Girlfriend” wearing a black sweat jacket with a Canadian flag on the back.
The MMVAs had kicked off with A&M’s Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas doing her solo hits "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Fergalicious."
"I want to thank everybody in Canada -- I love it here," said the singer who later picked up best international video (artist) award for "Fergalicious."
An estimated crowd of 6,000 swarmed outside MuchMusic's headquarters in downtown Toronto to watch performances by Billy Talent, Hilary Duff (Buena Vista), Alexisonfire (Distort), Maroon 5 (Octone), Belly (CP Records), the Used (Warner Bros.) and Finger Eleven (Wind-Up). The latter christened the MMVA's new rooftop stage with a fireworks-accompanied rendition of "Paralyser."
"This time we blew the roof off – almost literally – with Finger Eleven's sky-high performance," says David Kines, VP of music and youth services for CHUM Television.
Inside Much headquarters, and spilling outside to an adjacent parking lot, some 400 music industry revelers partied, including U.S. gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
The two-hour award show was broadcast nationally in Canada on the MuchMusic channel, and for the first time on broadband on MuchAxs. Sirius Satellite Radio will broadcast an hour-long highlight special across North America on Tuesday, June 26.
The show began in typical chaotic fashion with celebrity guests spilling out of outrageous rides on a red carpet lined by fans in front of MuchMusic.
Rising Ottawa-based rap star Belly arrived in an armored Brinks truck with a Paris Hilton impersonator and an entourage that tossed fake $20 bills to the fans. Sum 41 bounded out of their white Chevy Tahoe swigging beer, with frontman Deryck Whibley saying he most looked forward to seeing his wife Lavigne perform.
"It's madness," Duff declared as she surveyed the teeming streets outside MuchMusic's building when she arrived at the event.
Photos and a full list of winners can be found at MuchMusic.com .