Majorly, Canadian artists dominated the 2016 MTV EMAs, which saw big wins for Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Drake and The Weekend.
Bieber, who was not present in Rotterdam, took home prizes for biggest fans, best Canadian act and best song for his Hot 100 No. 1 “Sorry.” Drake was another victorious absentee, winning best hip hop, while The Weekend- real name Abél Makonnen Tesfaye – did make the trip to the Netherlands and was rewarded with the best video prize for “Starboy” ft. Daft Punk. He also delivered one of the night’s standout performances, singing “Starboy” from inside an enclosed star-filled dome.
Lady Gaga was the night’s other absent big winner, taking home the trophies for best female and best look, which this year were colored purple in honor of Prince. “Prince was a genius,” said host Bebe Rexha. “He created ground breaking music and music videos his whole career. Prince we will always miss you.”
Beyoncé, who led the nominations alongside Bieber, but was not present at the show, failed to win in any of her five categories. In addition to The Weekend, other memorable performances on the night included Bruno Mars making the debut live performance of his new single,”24K Magic” – walking out on a “Billie Jean” style illuminated runway dressed in retro hip-hop street wear. Green Day’s pyrotechnic laden run through of “Bang Bang” was a raucous highlight, even if its lyrics about “daddy’s little psycho” did appear distinctly at odds with the rest of the EMAs slick, glossy and joyful aesthetic.
More memorable was Kings of Leon’s gutsy rendition of “Waste A Moment,” while Best Push winners DNCE brought an element of spectacle to the party, performing a two song medley of “Cake By The Ocean” and “Body Moves” atop a floating steel platform, which sailed over the audience as backing dancers crowd surfed on inflatable donuts, cakes and pizza below. One Republic also wowed the Dutch audience, performing “Let’s Hurt Tonight” as rain poured down from the stage, completely drenching the band.