There once was a time where YouTube was a platform reserved exclusively for amateur skateboard tricks and cute videos of kittens doing cute kitten things. In 2014, there’s still a healthy abundance of adorable kittens racking up views by the motherload across the platform – but it’s also become a place where some of the internet’s biggest influencers produce content for audiences of massive proportions. These influencers have grown over the years to the point where they rival the likes of TV stars and film heroes in terms of their fanbases, and it’s for that reason that an event like the Streamy Awards – a ceremony focused solely on acknowledging the work of digital content creators – exists.
Last night (or more accurately this morning for us Brits) the 4th annual of the Streamy Awards took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Packed with all the quirks and nuances one might expect from an awards show centred around YouTube stars – including one or two predictable technical difficulties here and there – here’s a round-up of the things you missed (and didn’t miss) at this year’s event:
GRACE HELBIG & HANNAH HART ACED THEIR FIRST TIME AS STREAMY HOSTS
As two of YouTube’s most enigmatic and ‘in-sync with each other’ personalities, you’d have been foolish to expect Forbes 30 Under 30 2014 pick/comedian Grace Helbig and ‘My Drunk Kitchen’ creator Hannah Hart to be anything other than damn chucklesome – but their debut as Streamy hosts proved to be perhaps the finest in the history of the ceremony. Primed with an opening monologue that poked fun at gender inequality (“we are going to be making jokes whilst looking clean and cute!”) and the overzealous promotion of sponsorships, Hart and Helbig’s dynamic performance impeccably captured the awkward and often self-aware hilarity that reigns supreme across the internet’s digital medium. Delightfully smart and witty, their return as hosts for next year’s awards would be a most welcome thing indeed.
THE MUSICAL STARS OF YOUTUBE PROVED THEIR WORTH
YouTube’s impact on the success of modern-day musicians has been something sectors of the music industry have increasingly started to take note of, and the Streamys proved that now more than ever there’s room for people to successfully project their musical talents to a mass audience. The dazzling Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox led the night’s musical proceedings, whipping up storming swing-inspired renditions of recent chartbusters such as ‘Fancy’, ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘All About That Bass’ throughout the show. A capella all-stars Pentatonix continued the event’s cover trope with their bombastic interpretation of Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’, before a host of the ‘Tube’s vocal creme de la creme joined aged arena rockers Starship for a grand finale that, whilst undeniably a tad corny, was an apt and joyous closer for the show. Admittedly, representation from YouTube’s more abstract artists outside of the field of commercial pop and hip-hop would be fantastic additions at future events, but the Streamys’ focus on artists who built a fanbase through their endeavours on YouTube was greatly preferable to the high-profile and highly-impersonal appearances from artists such as Eminem and Lady Gaga that cluttered last year’s YouTube awards.
AWKWARD CELEBRITY INTEGRATIONS ARE AWKWARD… (AND REMAIN A PROBLEM)
Although some might commend award shows like the Streamys for tightening the gap between so-called ‘YouTube fame’ and the more traditional Hollywood notion of celebrity, their irritating habit of bringing non-YouTube celebs into a community where their comic methods don’t translate continues to plague YouTube events. Taking into consideration that those that were honoured at the Streamys in 2014 are stars that draw in audiences of millions by their own accord, the need for celebrities (especially those that can barely claim that title nowadays) is redundant – and viewers would much rather have seen their favourite content creators express their charms than sit through American Pie/Sharknado actress Tara Reid stiffly present an award whilst attempting to crack a self-deprecating joke she seemingly didn’t want to make.
…BUT THERE WAS A WELL-DESERVED TOAST TO ONE OF THE FEW THAT GOT IT RIGHT
There have been a rare number of instances in which a celebrity has managed to successfully gel with the YouTube community, with one of the most notable cross-over artists being the recently deceased Joan Rivers, who sadly passed away last week. The Streamys paid tribute to the legendary comedienne with a rousing toast from ‘You Deserve A Drink’ host Mamrie Hart, who earlier this year appeared on her popular web series ‘In Bed With Joan’ – a chat show that welcomed traditional celebrities and YouTubers alike. Rivers’ crass but creative brand of humour knew no bounds, and her willingness to not only embrace YouTube as a vessel for her comedic work but to also accept and collaborate with its vivid ensemble of creators sealed her position as one of comedy’s biggest talents and most avid supporters.
Here’s a full list of the awards presented live at the 4th annual Streamy Awards:
First Person Channel – Jenna Marbles
Original Song – ‘Whistle While I Work It’ by Chester See
Action/Sci-Fi Series – Video Game High School
News & Current Events Show – SourceFed
Drama Series – The Lizzy Bennett Diaries
Fashion Program – Bethany Mota
Comedy Series – My Drunk Kitchen
Kids & Family Series – Kids React
Ensemble Cast – Video Game High School
Beauty Program – Missglamorazzi
Gaming Program – Smosh Games
Viner Of The Year – Brittany Furlan
Audience Choice for Show Of The Year – EnchufeTV
Audience Choice for Entertainer Of The Year – Tyler Oakley
Inspiration Icon – Michelle Phan
Entrepreneur Icon – Shay Carl
Convergence Icon – Pitbull
Activist Icon – Tyler Oakley