A VNZMAs post-mortem.
Every awards show needs its defining moment. The VNZMAs are no different. Last year, it was Aaradhna refusing to accept the Best Urban/Hip-Hop award because she felt like she’d “been placed in the category of brown people”, effectively disestablishing an entire problematic category in the process. At last night’s NZ Music Awards, it would come when two of the biggest names in the country - Lorde and Jacinda Ardern - hugged it out on stage.
Political talk might not’ve been for Lorde during the election - while she spoke out about the Charlottesville tragedy, she had until now been quiet when it came to local politics - but when the prime minister showed up on stage to present her with the People’s Choice Award, she took a second to say a few quick words herself.
“I am so happy to have such an articulate, exciting, young, beautiful leader in our country,” she said. For Jacinda Ardern, who’s been busy owning Donald Trump, it was as much of a “mutual fangirl” moment for her as it was for Lorde.
This was Lorde’s night, plain and simple. There was barely a moment during the entire event when she wasn’t on screen. When all was said and done, she walked away with six Tuis, including Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Best Solo Artist. That’s 18 VNZMAs for her now. She just turned 21.
Six awards also meant six trips to the stage and instead of boring us with a long thank you list, she instead used the opportunity to shout out and shine a light on organisations like Women’s Refuge, Rainbow Youth, Youthline, Lifeline and The Aunties. Welcome to the Woke Lorde era.
All in all, it was a refreshingly succinct and fast-paced two hours. The Silver Scrolls could probably learn a thing or two.
Once again it was Jono and Ben who were on hosting duty and the comedy duo crammed in as many MMP gags as they could, and then some. The opening skit also saw them joined by Mike Hosking to poke fun at the 76,000-signature petition that was delivered to TVNZ in an attempt to remove him as moderator from the pre-election debates. It went down about as well as Sean Spicer appearing at the Emmy’s did.
Another pre-filmed segment with Scribe, which came complete with one-liners about his time spent in court and struggles with drug addiction (“I’m just looking for some P money”), felt just a little too on the nose. There might not’ve been much to hate-tweet about on the night, but this was no doubt the closest to it.
SWIDT, who led the nominations coming into the night, went home with a couple of awards of their own (Best Group and Best Hip-Hop Artist) and they didn’t mess around when they took the stage early in the evening to perform ‘Player of the Day’.
TEEKS, who is as cool, calm and good looking as you could possibly get, no doubt won the hearts of those watching from home. The soul singing teacher took out the award for Best Māori Artist for his debut EP The Grapefruit Skies. Even Devilskin, who felt like total outliers as one of the few rock acts, pulled off a legit performance that was worth throwing up your devil horns to. Hopefully no goatees were singed from the pyrotechnics.
In the end, it all came back to Lorde. Coming off back-to-back sold out shows across the country seemed to have her in high spirits and her performance was the exclamation point on a year of dominance. ‘Green Light’ will never be ‘Royals’, but it’ll do just fine. Besides, Lorde doesn’t need the NZ Music Awards like they need her. If there’s anything we learned from the night, it was that those defining award show moments simply can’t be manufactured.