The red carpet swiftly turned into a red river, but we knew it would take more than a soggy strip of flooring material to put a damper on the MuchMusic Video Awards.
An early-evening deluge timed perfectly to truncate the annual, big pre-show build-up to last night’s MMVAs ceremony at Much headquarters on Queen West nevertheless added a new urgency to the usual hysteria that splays around Queen and John at this time of year.
There was a real sense of brewing terror in the air on the carpet while everyone who’d gathered outside the old CHUM-City building — the performers ambling to the entryway in ludicrously expensive outfits, the publicists and label folk nervously clutching armloads of umbrellas at the ready behind them, the dozens of journalists and hundreds of fans jockeying for position around the barricades — pretended not to notice the maelstrom brewing in the western skies.
As the storm grew closer and several shades of roiling purple darker, and moisture started to spackle the crowd, it became clear this wasn’t blowing over. Lightning crackled in every direction at once, thunder rattled the bowels and suddenly the biggest, coldest raindrops of which the mind can conceive came hurtling out of the sky in full “biblical deluge” mode, sending everyone from Flo Rida to Girlicious and Simple Plan diving for the same entrance all at once.
Former Kid in the Hall Dave Foley was asked as we dashed for the main entrance together if he’d expected to witness the apocalypse from the red carpet at the MMVAs.
“I didn’t know,” he conceded. “I’m going to start gathering musicians two by two.
Inside the lobby, sweet Toronto pop singer Skye Sweetnam expressed some disappointment that her planned red-carpet intro atop the same tractor she rode in the video for “Human” — which was up for Best Cinemtagrophy at the awards, but lost to Hedley’s “She’s So Sorry” — had been scuttled to make way for mad dashes to the door by more famous, more international guests.
“It’s okay. Maybe I can bring the tractor again next year,” said Sweetnam. “It never goes out of fashion.”
Nevertheless, the scene remained jovial, if somewhat damp.
The guys from Hedley came out of the evening smiling, taking four of the six categories in which they were nominated — Cinematography for “She’s So Sorry,” Best Video and Best Director for “For the Nights I Can’t Remember” and MuchLOUD Best Rock Video for “She’s So Sorry” — and trying very hard not to let their dominance over the proceedings contribute to their collective ego.
“We’ve never dominated,” said front man Jacob Hoggard on his way to face the press after the show. “This is the first time we’ve come so close as to touch something we could call domination. We’re really excited. We’re really lucky. We’ve never dominated. I like to think you could call us forever underdogs.”
Simple Plan were playing similarly modest. Drummer Chuck Comeau, for instance, refused to agree before the show started that he and the Montreal band “owned” the People’s Choice award for favourite Canadian group. Which they officially do now, since they won their fifth trophy in a row last night.
“I’m not gonna say that because we might just lose it. We’re going for five-for-five, knock on wood, but we’re pretty humble about it,” he said. “We got stoked every year when we win. If we get five, that’s great, but if we lose it, we’ve already got four already.”
The big draws of the night were the recently reunited New Kids on the Block — the former 1990s boy band that might better be described now as Aging Men on the Block — and Rihanna, who won Best International Video Artist.
The Kids, dressed in white suits, were off-key at times, doing a medley of their hits while busting out some decidedly tame dance moves to close the show.