The inaugural YouTube Music Awards took place in New York City last night (November 3), and the event alternated between being funny, messy, awkward, exciting and meme-able. It wasn’t perfect, but the whole thing maintained a sense of vibrancy over the 90 minutes — so, basically, it wasn’t the Grammys, and that was pretty much the goal. Amidst all the attempts of viral moments and pranks, there were a few thrilling performances by big stars thrown in, including songs from Lady Gaga, Eminem, M.I.A., Arcade Fire and Avicii. Also, Girls’ Generation‘s “I Got A Boy” rightfully won Video of the Year, which we pretty much predicted back on January 2.
Gaga debuted ARTPOP track “Dope” at the awards in dramatic fashion. Seated at her piano, face shrouded thanks to her baseball cap and shadows from the dark lighting, Mother Monster cried throughout an intimate rendition of the ballad. On the other end of the spectrum, you had Eminem’s show-closing, black-and-white “Rap God” marathon performance. The Artist of the Year winner (OK, then) was furious and much, much more compelling than he was during that most likely lip-synced SNL stint.
Check out Gaga up top and watch Em below.
Watch all the highlights from the show over at YouTube’s official channel.