Justin Bieber shocked his shrieking fans by appearing at the MuchMusic Video Awards on Sunday — and he didn’t have to wait long to claim a trophy for his effort.
Frenzied teens lining the show’s red carpet erupted when the 17-year-old — who wasn’t scheduled to appear at the show — arrived in a nondescript SUV. Soon afterward, he was climbing the stage to accept the award for international video of the year by a Canadian, an honour he shared with Toronto rapper Drake.
“I want to say thank you so much to all my fans, you guys are amazing,” said Bieber, clad in a pink blazer, white graphic T-shirt and jeans, a pink scarf hanging from his back pocket.
“I love you Toronto.”
Lady Gaga opened the show with a tame — by her standard, anyway — take on her latest hit “The Edge of Glory,” clad in a studded leather jumper, her hair coloured bright turquoise. It was the first of two performances expected from the eccentric Grammy winner, who made headlines with a raunchy performance at the MMVAs two years ago.
She made another MMVA memory early in this show, claiming the award for international video of the year.
“Thank you. I’m so, so happy,” said Gaga, who then pointed out that the video’s co-director, Laurieann Gibson, was Canadian.
“Always stick by what you believe in. Always stand by your vision. We did it!”
Still, the focus of the show on the early going was squarely on Bieber and his girlfriend, Disney actress Selena Gomez — who hosted the show along with various MuchMusic VJs.
The teens’ budding relationship has been the subject of much tabloid fascination, and the couple didn’t mind encouraging the chatter with a series of coy interviews.
“Selena? Nice to meet you, I’m Justin,” Bieber said as he accepted his first award, standing next to a grinning Drake.
“You’re very beautiful. Maybe we could go out sometime?”
Other early winners included Vancouver dance-punk outfit You Say Party, former “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant Blake McGrath, Toronto rapper JDiggz and hard-edged Toronto rockers Abandon All Ships.
Meanwhile, Gaga wasn’t the only artist to display some flashy stagecraft early on.
A leather-clad Fefe Dobson manoeuvred around a red convertible while she belted out “Stuttering,” while Far East Movement performed a medley of their club hits that ended with Snoop Dogg emerging from a coffin surrounded by — what else? — a haze of smoke.
While Bieber managed to steal the red-carpet thunder simply by showing up, the show also featured its typical onslaught of flashy entrances.
Seven-time MMVA winner Avril Lavigne arrived in a lime-green Chevy Camaro SS with fans chanting her name, while Far East Movement rolled onto the carpet in a black hearse.
Perhaps most memorably, Vancouver pop-punk quartet Marianas Trench barrelled down the carpet in clear plastic hamster balls, two members encased in each sphere.
Down With Webster nabbed the award for best pop video and marvelled as they hoisted the trophy — a nearly five-kilogram block of aluminium alloy.
“It’s heavy!” said the band’s MC, Cam Hunter.
Actor Johnny Galecki, star of “Big Bang Theory,” was stunned by the chaos that greeted his arrival.
“It is absolute insanity. It’s crazy here. How many people are there here? The driver tried to tell me there’s a million people here. There’s no way that can be true.”