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Toronto’s own Drake swept the Much Music Video Awards on Sunday night, taking home five trophies during a politically charged Canadian awards show that had Nick Jonas giving a shout-out to the Orlando shooting victims and their families and Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale commenting on the recent debate around transgender bathroom rights.
What a difference the smash hit that is the music video for “Hotline Bling” makes: Drake nabbed the best video of the year, best director, best hip-hop video and most buzzworthy Canadian awards. And with Majid Jordan, Drizzy won the best MuchFACT video award for their hit single “My Love,” which features the Canadian rap sensation.
As his album Views continues atop the Billboard charts, Drake came into the MMVAs Sunday leading the field along with singer-songwriter Alessia Cara with seven nominations each. Cara took home just one trophy, for best new Canadian artist.
Drake also beat out Canadian hit maker The Weeknd, who had six MMVA nominations in all and only won the best Canadian single of the year trophy for “Can’t Feel My Face.” Drake last year at the MMVAs made a surprise appearance to help accept the best hip-hop video award for P. Reign’s “DnF,” but was a no-show Sunday night in Toronto.
Artists who took the stage at the MMVAs included Hailee Steinfeld doing a “Keep on Coming Back For More” duet with Shawn Hook, Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard strutting back and forth onstage while performing “Lose Control” and Alessia Cara singing “Wild Things” in front of a bright LED-lit set.
In all, 11 artists performed on the twin MMVA stages, including hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who opened the show, Tegan and Sara and July Talk, which performed on a stage filled with rainbow paint and wearing Pride eyemask makeup.
Politics elsewhere galvanized the MMVAs when Nick Jonas dedicated his best international artist of the year award to the victims of the Orlando shooting. “This is for all the families and victims of the shootings recently. We love you and you are not forgotten,” he said onstage.
And Hale told MMVAs host Gigi Hadid that Canadians “have no issues with bathrooms,” a reference to the recent U.S. debate over bathroom rights for transgender people, while former model Amber Rose said the peace sign best exemplified Canadians.
“You guys are super peaceful up here, for sure,” she said. Also Sunday night, Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty, part of the hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, while winning the best international duo or group of the year award, revealed wife Tricia Davis is a dual citizen, “so now that I have this award, I’m pretty sure I’m Canadian now.”
Elsewhere, Fifth Harmony was named the best buzzworthy international artist or group and the Fan Fave international group award, while Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello won for best pop video and the Fan Fave Video award for “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
Other winners: Majid Jordan picked up a second trophy for best post-production on “Every Step Every Way,” the best EDM/dance video trophy went to Grandtheft, featuring Lowell, for “Quit This City” and The Strumbellas won for best rock/alternative video for “Spirits.”
The video awards show was also a Canadian coming-out party for U.S.-based iHeartRadio, formerly known as Clear Channel, which recently signed an exclusive pact with Canadian broadcaster Bell Media to launch its brand in Canada by the summer.
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