On the giant Toronto stage, Sheeran sang "Photograph," a single from his x album, accompanied by a string quartet and pulsating drumming. He returned to help wind up the MMVAs by performing his romantic ballad "Thinking Out Loud."
And The Weeknd, who led all nominees with six, saw his song "Often" win for best video and best pop video. The R&B star, also known as Abel Tesfaye, beat out Arcade Fire, Kiesza, Grimes and Majid Jordan in the best video competition.
The Weeknd was also named the most buzzworthy Canadan artist, while Sam Pilling earned the best director trophy for his work on the "Often" video. The Weeknd's wins came as the music industry's biggest stars converged on the Canadian street party, complete with crazy costumes on the red carpet and big name solo spots on the main stage.
Only seven awards were handed out during the two-hour telecast on the CTV, Much Music and other cable channels, with Hailee Steinfeld, Brody Jenner, Adam Lambert, Lights, Cody Simpson and Gigi Hadid among the presenters.
That allowed a dozen performances to dominate the live show. Fall Out Boy provided the MMVA's opening number with the rock band's single "Uma Thurman," assisted by smoke machines. That was followed quickly by Carly Rae Jepsen performing "I Really Like You" on the west stage.
An big impromptu moment at the MMVAs came when Toronto's own Drake made a surprise appearance to help accept the best hip-hop video award for P. Reign's "DnF," which featured the superstar rapper and Future, and was directed by Drake and Davin Black.
Ed Sheeran Performs 'Bloodstream' at 2015 Billboard Music Awards
"My brother Drizzy Drake is in the building. That's my brother for life," a surprised P. Reign said after Drake dropped in for the prize-giving and unleashed a wall of screaming and shouting from his hometown fans.
And Tori Kelly delivered an emotional rendition of "Nobody Love," while Scott Helman's "Bungalow" featured fizzy fireworks and a shower of confetti. Other emotional highpoints Sunday night included Walk Off the Earth performing "Rule the World" to the accompaniment of acrobatic dancers, Nick Jonas singing "Chains," and Jason Derulo performing "Want to Want Me" to close out the Canadian awards show.
In other prize-giving Sunday night, Justin Bieber beat out Shawn Mendes, Drake and The Weeknd to win the Fan Fave best artist trophy. Mendes, who started his career as a Vine star, had to settle for best Fan Fave video for his song "Something Big."
Mendes also had his fellow Canadians singing along as he performed "Stitches" from his Handwritten album. And the Fan Fave best international artist or group prize went to One Direction.
Indie rockers Arcade Fire also saw their song "We Exist" nab the best rock/alternative video prize. Elsewhere, the best post-production prize went to Zeds Dead f. Twin Shadow and D'Angelo Lacy for the video "Lost You," while the best EDM/dance video went to "Keep it 100," by Grandtheft f. Keys N Krates, and Majid Jordan took the honor for best MuchFact video for "Forever."
This article originally appeared in THR.com.