From the acerbic tweets by 987FM DJ Divian Nair to most comments on the YouTube livestream, there was a lot of hate thrown at the recent Social Star Awards by Starcount, held in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatres. With comments ranging from the mild to the downright nasty hurled at the 2-hour show, it may be perceived as a disaster but many of these comments were based off the YouTube-cut version of the awards show.
These bitches don’t know nothing.
We were there at the awards show, seated on the circle seats on the second level. We saw everything. Here is what really happened (and what you may not have seen in the YouTube version):
The awards show started off a tad bit late — an usher blamed in on “technical problems” but it was understandable, given this was the first time this was held. Usually, the Marina Bay Sands theatre is home to touring musicals and other grand shows, but if this year’s Star Awards Show 2 is any indication, the venue is definitely Singapore’s version of an Oscar-worthy awards show venue.
Indeed it was. Stepping in, cubes of plus-signs (no @ symbols?) hung over the stage’s roof, with a giant tweet wall plastered at the back of the stage. Tweet cubes also appeared on both sides of the stage, displaying tweets made by invited media. Two moshpits had been set up, with a short runway in the middle. The moshpits looked promising but were unfortunately only three-quarters full. The crowd had been divided into “Super VIP & VIP” and “Gold and Platinum”; the former occupied the first level, the latter on second and third levels.
This is why most of the crowd shots at the SSAs looked dead: the VIP group isn’t exactly the most happening crowd in the house. Resplendent in drop-dead-gorgeous gowns and the most stiff of tuxedos, this group was there to see and to be seen. Unfortunately, this group also did not let their hair down during some of the show’s performances, preferring to sit in their chairs or take photos instead. If you were sewn into a custom-made gown, you wouldn’t be busting out your ass either for fear of wardrobe malfunctions.
There were some nice pockets that partied their butts off which the cameras did not capture: the row of celebs from Beam Artistes were dancing at every single possible moment. Twin celebs May and Choy Wan had some pretty tight dresses on but they did the Gangnam Style nevertheless. Idol alum-turned-DJ Joakim Gomez and social media star-turned-DJ Joshua Simon (see what I did there?) were also among the most happening on the first level, running straight for front row to join the moshpit.
The crowd on the second and third levels was far more happening than the staid VIP crowd. Fans who had bought tickets occupied the topmost level and were constantly shrieking. Surprisingly, transgender icon Amanda LePore was separated from her own posse: she sat in the first level while her team, decked out in this season’s best alienwear, was in the second level. Both levels were dancing the night away and giving the most appreciative laughs to fail video montages and the hosts’ dry banter.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about hosts Jeremy Piven and Jessica Alba. They tried. They really did. But their chemistry was off and that made for some awkward reading-through-the-teleprompter moments that we’d rather not revisit. Piven and Alba look amazing together — they just don’t quite have the spark of hosting individually and together. Piven had some brilliant moments though: when a heckler shouted from the second level, he quipped, “I remember when I had my first beer. It was a good experience.”
Another great Piven moment came when he renamed the Most Popular Game award to the “Wasted Youth award”. He was quite the wisecrack, which helped in moments when there was dead air or a technical screw-up. Piven saved the day when he ran to George Takei — who by then had experienced two technical faults during his segment on stage and looked visibly bewildered and embarrassed — and ushered him to continue with his speech. Right on, Piven.
Alba though, should probably not host anything ever again. Even when Psy ran to her mid-song to get her to dance, all she could muster was a half-twerk and a weak smile. She was similarly vacant in most parts of her show, preferring to let her long locks of hair do much of the talking.
The performances were nothing short of spectacular, but it was a pity that the microphones did not capture audience noise to overlay into the YouTube video. Aerosmith opened the performance set to loud cheers, followed by acts such as (sexy, sexy) Blush and Eric Benet. Surprisingly, not much support was heard for Carly Rae Jepsen — even as she belted hit single “Call Me Maybe” in a strong vocal performance, as opposed to her usually-weak live performances of that same song in other times. The biggest cheers were reserved for Psy, who got the crowd standing even as he was walking out onto the stage to standby, as Piven and Alba were wrapping up the show.
The bulk of complaints were reserved for the show failing to get any of the award winners to come down to the show. SSA was criticised as sloppy. This is where haters need to back down. If anything at all, social media is a lulzy space. It is reserved for things that make sense to the virtual world. I think it’s completely fine that awards are being given out via tweets and dedication videos. After all, isn’t that the spirit of social media? This is not an awards show stuck in the past, where winners must be physically present and actual award trophies have to be given out.
We live in a different world now, folks.
We live in a world where awards shows like the Streamys honour the best in YouTube and fail montage videos chalk up hit after hit. We live virtually — to be really honest, there is no need for a physical show for a social media awards ceremony but the fact the show itself is so wired online makes me feel like that is how we are supposed to view such shows from here on out: everything physical is in some way interconnected to the world online. Whether that provides for a full physical experience doesn’t matter. The bare fact that a physical show was created to marry the online experience to something a tad more tangible is worth applauding, but we cannot take away how the SSA is changing the way awards shows can and must be done.
I may be contradicting myself here, but let me make this clear: the YouTube video and livestream did not do the actual show justice. I can understand why many felt shortchanged: you, sitting in your pyjamas at home, did not feel compelled to belt out to CeeLo Green’s version of “Crazy” or boogie to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” because you were not there. You didn’t feel the mood in the theatre. (Which was hella awesome, by the way.)
We felt it. We danced along. But, if we were at home, would we still have felt it? If the livestream had been cut better, yes. We would have stood up and shook our asses like there is no tomorrow.
There are plenty of things the SSAs can improve on, but if you really wanted to have a good time, you would have stopped being angstykeyboardwarrior89 and just had fun.
Loosen up a ‘lil bit, y’all.
Watch the full video of the Social Star Awards below: (video starts at 22:30)
Check out the winners from the inaugural SSAs here.