The first YouTube Music Awards had all kinds of unexpected moments, imagined by Spike Jonze and carried off by the odd-couple hosts Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts.
Eminem won artist of the year, and Taylor Swift and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were among the winners during Sunday night's live webcast from New York. But the awards were sort of beside the point as Jonze and others directed live videos with Eminem, Lady Gaga, M. I. A. and Earl Sweatshirt, and Schwartzman and Watts careened about the soundstage with no script and only notecards to point the way.
Eminem performed a word-perfect version of his new tour de force "Rap God," filmed in black and white. Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" won YouTube phenomenon and Macklemore and Lewis won YouTube breakthrough.
Actress Gina Gerwig kicked the awards off as the protagonist of a live video of Arcade Fire's "Afterlife," directed by Jonze. Gerwig appears to break up with her boyfriend, then expresses the emotions she's feeling in an interpretive dance.
Schwartzman said the night was about creativity, and it certainly was creative.
Earl Sweatshirt and fellow rapper Tyler, the Creator, performed their song "Sasquatch" in a mosh pit, using hand-held cameras to relay the frenetic experience. Lady Gaga went the opposite way, performing her new song "Dope" wearing just a black cap, sunglasses and a plaid shirt. She sat alone at a piano, with the camera tight on her face. She removed the glasses to reveal tears on her face as she sang.
Other winners included Girls' Generation, DeStorm and Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.