Sound Check

Fans agog over Lady Gaga at MMVAs; Nickelback takes most hardware

Nick Patch, The Canadian Press - Nickelback took home the most hardware, but provocative electro diva Lady Gaga was the talk of the MuchMusic Video Awards on Sunday.

Just a few months after dominating at the Juno Awards, Nickelback nabbed a leading three trophies in front of thousands of frenzied fans at an outdoor spectacle that also featured appearances from the Jonas Brothers, Black Eyed Peas and such teen-approved celebs as "Twilight" actors Taylor Lautner and Montreal's Rachelle Lefevre.

But it was Gaga who stole the show.

Demonstrating some serious imagination - even while clad in a studded one-piece that left little to it - Gaga performed a surreal medley of a remixed version of "LoveGame" and "Poker Face" during the streetside party.

Billed as a tribute to New York, Gaga began the performance trapped inside a fake subway car - which she later exploded with a stick of faux dynamite - and followed with a raunchy setpiece that featured fake police officers (they later stripped), gyrating, leather-clad dancers and finished with Gaga posing with sparklers shooting from her bustier.

"It was important for me to give my Canadian fans something that I felt they really earned," Gaga said backstage afterwards. "I felt like they really earned an incredible performance.

"And I just remember watching award shows when I was little and dreaming about being on the stage, and I wanted to be that for somebody else."

While the screeching throng outside MuchMusic headquarters on Queen Street West was clearly agog for Gaga, they also heaped plenty of love on the Jonas Brothers, who co-hosted, performed twice and won the "UR Fave" people's choice award for international video of the year for "Burnin' Up."

Fans began lining up for the show as early as 6 a.m. ET on a hot, sticky Toronto day. By mid-afternoon, an imposing queue of determined teens went all the way around the block.

"This is crazy," marvelled reigning "Canadian Idol" champ Theo Tams as he walked the red carpet. "I thought the Junos were crazy but this is madness!"

There were some typically over-the-top entrances.

Toronto R&B crooner Danny Fernandes cruised onto the red carpet on a shiny red motorcycle, while Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench was preceded by a full marching band before arriving in a pickup truck adorned with pink and red balloons and streamers.

And while many guests honoured Father's Day by giving thanks to their dads, Billy Talent took it a step further by bringing their fathers onto the red carpet.

"All the dads are here, we were trying to dress them up just like us today," said drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, whose band took home the award for best international video for a Canadian group for "Rusted from the Rain." "We're making it into a family event."

Otherwise, the usually splashy show mostly lacked a signature shocking moment - in other words, no one mooned the camera Avril Lavigne-style or zipped around on a stolen wheelchair a la Blur's Damon Albarn.

In fact, Nickelback didn't even flinch when they were presented with their first award moments after exiting a mammoth black SUV and stepping onto the red carpet.

"Just for showing up?" asked frontman Chad Kroeger, whose Hanna, Alta., band took home awards for best video, best rock video and best post-production for "Gotta Be Somebody."

"This is great, I've never gotten out of a vehicle and had someone say: 'Here you go."'

The Black Eyed Peas didn't go home empty-handed either, winning for their ubiquitous electro-inflected anthem "Boom Boom Pow," which they also performed.

Surrounded by dancers in skintight zebra-print costumes, the veteran group incited the crowd into a rousing singalong of the infectious chorus, while Kelly Clarkson's powerful, no-frills performance of "My Life Would Suck Without You" stood as a reminder of why she was the first-ever winner of "American Idol."

Regina pop-punk singer Shiloh started her performance in a red telephone booth, while St. Catharines, Ont., hardcore group Alexisonfire closed theirs by launching bright pyro into the crisp night sky.

In addition to her eye-popping performance, Gaga also captured the audience's attention with a candid speech after accepting an award early on for best international video by an artist for her hit, "Poker Face."

"You guys make it so hard to love anywhere else," the eccentric 23-year-old said before hoisting the trophy in the air and saying: "To God and the gays!"

Appearances from Lautner induced the expected feverish shrieks - one fan wore a homemade cardboard hat with Lautner's picture and a plea for an autograph - while Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin provided a surprising moment when, after being asked how he would celebrate winning a MuchMusic award, he effortlessly hoisted VJ Tim Deegan over his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Fernandes - who, like Nickelback, entered the show armed with five nominations - took away one award, winning pop video of the year for "Private Dancer."

Alt-rockers the Midway State won two, taking the "UR Fave" new artist of the year and best independent video for "Never Again."

Montreal pop-punkers Simple Plan won the "UR Fave" best video award for "Save You," Enfield, N.S., rapper Classified won the hip-hop video category for his single, "Anybody Listening," which he also performed on the side stage and L.A. dance-pop quartet Girlicious won the MuchMusic.com most-watched video award for "Like Me."

In the technical categories, Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench received the best director award for "Cross My Heart," while Toronto-based ska group Bedouin Soundclash won for best cinematography for "Until We Burn Into the Sun (The Kids Just Want a Long Song)."

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2009 MuchMusic Video Awards Winners:
Best Video: Nickelback, "Gotta Be Somebody"
Best International Video - Artist: Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"
Best International Video - Group: Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow"
Pop Video of the Year: Danny Fernandes, "Private Dancer"
Best International Video Canadian: Billy Talent, "Rusted from the Rain"
MuchLOUD Best Rock Video: Nickelback, "Gotta Be Somebody"
MuchVibe HipHop Video: Classified, "Anybody Listening"
Best Director: Marianas Trench, "Cross My Heart"
Best Post-Production: Nickelback, "Gotta Be Somebody"
Best Cinematography: Bedouin Soundclash, "Until We Burn Into the Sun (The Kids Just Want A Love Song)"
VideoFACT Best Independent Video: The Midway State, "Never Again"
MuchMusic.com Most Watched Video: Girlicious, "Like Me"
UR Fave International Video of the Year: The Jonas Brothers, "Burnin' Up"
UR Fave New Artist of the Year: The Midway State, "Never Again"
UR Fave Video: Simple Plan, "Save You"

Watch more MMVA-nominated videos on the Yahoo! Music MMVA 2009 video station.

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