Streamy Awards Grow Up As Stars Flock to Red Carpet

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Tyler Oakley & Grace Helbig

"It's kind of funny to have an awards show for a community that really just wants everybody to succeed," says Hannah Hart.

“The goal of any TV star is eventually to wind up on the Internet,” jokes James Van Der Beek on the Streamy Awards red carpet outside the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday night.

Van Der Beek isn’t the typical face of the Internet (expect in the case of Dawson’s Creek reruns on Netflix) but has become an adopted member of the online video community following his turn as a Power Ranger in web series Bootleg Universe. The performance even propelled him to his first Streamy win in the best actor category. “I’m going to put it right between my Teen Choice Award and my MTV Movie Awards,” the CSI: Cyber star boasts after acknowledging that the Internet helped him break into comedy. “It’s wonderful that any artist can make something and put it out there.”

The Streamy Awards were broadcast on television for the first time this year, simultaneously airing on VH1 and streaming live online, and the entire show seemed designed to acknowledge that convergence. Paula Abdul was paired with Internet personality Frankie Grande to present an award and the night was filled with performances from the likes of Hailee Steinfeld, OMI and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Being on TV was top of mind of for many YouTube stars, but most seemed to believe it’s not VH1 introducing YouTubers to new audiences but the other way around. “I think that there has to be some sort of partnership between the Internet and TV because right now it’s almost like the Internet is kicking TV’s ass,” says Grande. Mamrie Hart agrees: “It’s a whole new exposure for VH1.”

Hosts Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley say that the show is still focused on celebrating the online video community. “The vibe is chill,” notes Oakley. “The vibe is enjoying this moment for our little community.” Adds Helbig: “We probably just need a stronger hashtag and then we’ll become the Emmys.”

The group that collectively calls itself #TeamInternet made for an unusually lively red carpet, with YouTubers and Viners often interrupting interviews to chat or exchange hugs. The camaraderie extended to the competition inside the theater, where nine awards were handed out during the one-and-a-half hour show. Says Hannah Hart: “It’s kind of funny to have an awards show for a community that really just wants everybody to succeed.”

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