Drake, next in line with seven nominations, won two — best hop hop artist and indirectly with Karena Evans who earned best director for the “God’s Plan” video.
She received the trophy on the televised red carpet before the performance-and-presenter-packed show started. But Drake wasn’t there. Instead, he hosted “The Day Party” at The Brooklyn Mirage because he’s headlining two Madison Square Garden concerts Monday and Tuesday.
Other absentee winners were Ed Sheeran for single of the year for “Perfect”; Imagine Dragons for best rock/alternative artist or group; and BTS for fan fave duo or group.
But there was still plenty of people who did come in from all areas of the entertainment world for the giant street party: Crazy Rich Asians/Ocean’s 8 actress and New York-born rapper Awkwafina co-hosted the two-hour awards show, which shuts down the intersection outside the Bell Media building as thousands of fans filled the street, parking lot and surrounded the stage.
Presenters included model/host Tyra Banks, This is Us actress Chrissy Metz, aspiring director Prince Michael Jackson, World of Dance’s Derek Hough, and Jersey Shore’s JWOWW and musical performances ranged from Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer to pop artists 98 Degrees, Halsey, Meghan Trainor, Chinese singer Kris Wu, EDM star Marshmello with Anne-Marie, and Toronto’s Alessia Cara.
There were also plenty of popular Canadian acts, including country artist Brett Kissel, who filled in for Florida Georgia Line on Bebe Rexha’s “Meant To Be”; rock band The Beaches; The Launch TV show chart-toppers Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine; Sony signing Tyler Shaw; and on-the-rise performer Bülow.
The video awards show, which debuted in 1990 and was known for years as the MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs), was rebranded in 2016 after Bell Media licensed iHeartRadio for Canada. It was officially truncated to iHeartRadio MMVAs this year.
All the nominees and winners are decided by a Bell Media committee, except for single of the year, which is based on radio spins on iHeartRadio Canada; and the six “fan” categories, which are voted on by the public until the afternoon of the awards. Fans could cast one vote per hour until close.
The awards, which were long held on Father’s Day in June, were also moved this year to a back-to-school time slot, hence the addition of the song of the summer award, which went to Loud Luxury feat. Brando for “Body.” Other new categories were for best collaboration, earned by Bebe Rexha + Florida Georgia Line for “Meant To Be”; fan fave artist won by Mendes; fan fave single given to Selena Gomez ft. Marshmello for ‘Wolves”; and the iHeartRadio MMVA artist for change, which went to Halsey.
“I was not expecting it, first of all. Wow,” Halsey said on the carpet. “I just got here and I already won an award. That’s pretty amazing. This means so much to me. I try really hard to use my voice the best way I can and to see that you guys appreciate it in the same way only inspires me to keep doing it more, and stand up for what I believe in, no matter what anybody thinks."
After Mendes kicked off the show with “Lost in Japan,” and Awkwafina declared “Now that’s how you start a party,” Trainor followed with a medley of “No Excuses,” a smidgen of “All About That Bass,” then into “Let You Be Right.”
Tyra Banks then emerged to hand out the first award, best collaboration, but not before she gave the audience a little self-help. “What I have learned over the years is perfect is boring,” she said, before talking about how we should love ourselves.
It was a theme that was forced into the scripts of a good half-dozen presenters throughout the night from Banks to Prince Michael Jackson to Chrissy Metz to Star Trek’s Sonequa Martin-Green, talking about equality, diversity, loving yourself, ending homelessness, even Trump trying to divide people. While the messages and issues were important, they didn’t seem to fit with the evening — at least not until the final award, video of the year, nabbed by Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid for “1-800-273-8255,” the song whose very title is the suicide prevention hotline in America.
“I’m accepting this, but this is not my award,” said Cara. “This is Logic’s award. This is his song; this is his message. I was just really honored to be a part of it. Shout out to Khalid also for being amazing. Andrew Hines, the director of this video, who is also Canadian. Shout out to him. And all of you guys for supporting the message of this song and I hope this video and this song made you feel something.”
Full list of winners:
iHeartRadio MMVA Artist for Change
Best Rock/Alternative Artist or Group
Best Pop Artist or Group
Best EDM/Dance Artist or Group
Best Hip Hop Artist or Group
Drake – “God’s Plan”
Director: Karena Evans
Video of the Year
Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid – “1-800-273-8255”
Single of the Year
Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”
Artist of the Year
Song of the Summer
“Body” — Loud Luxury feat. Brando
Bebe Rexha + Florida Georgia Line – “Meant To Be”
Best New Canadian Artist or Group
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
Fan Fave Artist
Fan Fave Duo or Group
Fan Fave Video
Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood”
Fan Fave Single
Selena Gomez ft. Marshmello – ‘Wolves’
Fan Fave New Artist
Fan Fave Much Creator
TheDanocracy – Dan Rodo