TORONTO Despite a little rain, the Much Music Video Awards drew 10,000 screaming fans to an impressive stage built at CTV headquarters on Sunday night, with a second stage on Queen and John Streets. Complex and dynamic, the staging took cues from MMVA marketing and video introductions this year, which featured explosions and movement, with “MMVA12” in block letters that seemed to project forward. “We had a show theme used in the graphic pack of explosions,” said Michael “Spike” Parks, production designer and art director. “We tried to break up the lines and create a little bit of chaos in the overall look.”
Measuring 180 feet wide and as high as 70 feet, the main stage took two weeks to build and housed the bulk of the performances. Angular and circular acrylic structures embedded with flashing lights spread out from the centre of the stage. “We had large, illuminated, off-angled pieces to break up the static nature of the roof structures and create visual motion,” Parks said. And, as an added bonus, the structures concealed some of the legs of the roof.
This year, the team added a new audience bleacher in an open area between the two main stages. “It implanted the fans right into the show,” said Parks. In keeping with the MMVA's mandate that places a focus on the fans, spectators there had a prime view of the winning artists collecting their awards.
Artists took full advantage of the dynamic staging. Carly Rae Jepsen sang “Call Me Maybe” from a telephone swing, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” had a pyrotechnics display, and hosts LMFAO gave a scantily clad performance to a mashup of some of their most popular tracks, including “Sexy and I Know It.” One of the highlights was Katy Perry’s performance of “Wide Awake”: As the singer was slowly raised above the stage on a platform, giant butterfly wings sprouted from behind her.
The second stage, at the intersection of Queen and John, was reserved for the pop rockers like Hedley and Marianas Trench. Cameras spanned from one stage to the other, arching over CTV headquarters for a view of the impressive crowd.