As I mentioned in the open, the iHeart Radio MMVAs have always attracted emerging talent, especially Canadian talent. Shawn Mendes is a great example. Here’s Shawn at the 2014 MMVAs, just as he was kicking off his ascent:
Look at the crowd behind him. Those faces. They’re turned away. They were excited about someone else who was arriving. WAS.
It’s now 2018. Nobody was looking away when Shawn Mendes was on the carpet. He won four awards. He opened the show. He closed the show. He talked about what it meant to him to be there, especially since he grew up not far away, just 45 minutes out of downtown Toronto. And, well, that kid who looked awkward and maybe even a little overwhelmed back at his first MMVAs was replaced by a guy who is now wayyyy more comfortable in the spotlight. So many of my colleagues last night who were working in production all over the building said to me at some point, “Yeah, I get it now” when he was out there. In person, you totally get it.
Selena Gomez hosted the MMVAs back in 2011. She and Justin Bieber were together then. I will always remember hanging out in the etalk area when JB came through with his crew down one of the makeshift hallways. We made eye contact. He gave me a “hey, what’s up” lift and dip with his chin. This was well before, you know, he started getting messy. You could see the swagger making its way out of him though. I had a similar passing in the hallway moment with Shawn. It wasn’t swagger but there was confidence. Remarkably though, he hasn’t lost that earnestness. Which I find really endearing. Like at this point, I cannot imagine Shawn Mendes being a dick. And you can almost always see that future dick coming out of these kids. No dick stories came out of Shawn Mendes at the MMVAs last night. To a person everyone thought he was adorable and sweet. Or maybe we were all just mesmerised by his hair. That is really, really good hair.