They're bigger than the Geminis, bigger than the Genies, yup, even bigger than the Junos, which are often held in places too far-flung and frozen to generate any real heat outside the music industry.
And while the MuchMusic Video Awards may not have the critical significance of those others, you can't deny they're revolutionary.
The MMVAs are first and foremost for the fans. The People's Choice Awards say they're for the fans, but when you watch the show, who's sitting in the front row? Jessica Alba and Will Smith. You'll find a lucky few fans crammed into the nosebleed seats.
The MMVAs take the opposite approach.
Back when the MMVAs started and were known as the Canadian Music Video Awards, the show was actually about honouring the best in Canadian music videos. Never mind that it might be Barney Bentall or the Northern Pikes. Or that the show's production values made it seem like you were watching the talent show episode of Saved By The Bell. They put the show on a train and took it across the country, putting on concerts at stops along the way. Blue Rodeo in Vancouver. Mitsou and Maestro Fresh Wes in Toronto. Celine Dion in Quebec. Lee Aaron in Halifax.
Later, they yanked the standard stiff and staid awards show concept out of the concert hall and shoved it into the streets, where nobody needs a ticket to see it. Instead of entirely uncomfortable artists squirming behind a podium, stumbling through teleprompted scripts with their unclear minds clearly on the next drink, these award recipients are within groping distance of the very fans who make them rock stars to begin with.
And the dispensing of awards (truly a formality at this sort of thing, unlike the Tonys, say) is as quick and painless as possible.
In fact, the show has such a party atmosphere that the awards themselves become almost dispensible. The show has little to do with celebrating music videos and everything to do with celebrating celebrity. Look at the biggest stars in last year's lineup: that would be on-again, off-again jailbird Paris Hilton, Nelly Furtado, some actor from CSI who's not William Peterson or David Caruso, and the requisite Toronto Raptor.
The winners are just as forgettable as those at the Geminis, the Genies and the Junos. Not that anybody cares. It's all about the par-tay, baby! See and be seen.