MMVAs 2016: Nick Jonas dedicates award to Orlando, Drake wins 5 trophies

Nick Jonas, Shay Mitchell and Liz Trinnear at the 2016 iHeartRADIO MuchMusic Video Awards at MuchMusic HQ on June 19, 2016 in Toronto. Ernesto Distefano/Getty Image

TORONTO – Shadows of last week’s shooting in Orlando hung heavy over the iHeartRadio Canada Much Music Video Awards as some of music’s biggest names took moments from the celebration to acknowledge the tragedy.

As pop singer Nick Jonas stepped onto the Toronto stage to accept his award for international artist of the year he paused to recognize the 49 people shot dead, and 53 injured, at the Pulse night club just over a week ago.

“To all the families and victims of the shootings recently, we love you, and we have not forgotten you,” Jonas said as he clutched the trophy.

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It was one of several moments during the otherwise boisterous event where superstars acknowledged the impact of the violence, particularly on the LGBT community.

“Pretty Little Liars” actress Shay Mitchell, who was raised in Toronto, said she’s proud of Canada for its inclusiveness.

“This is a place where you can be who you want to be and love who you want to love,” she said before handing out the award to Jonas.

The biggest winner of the night was Drake who took home a record of five awards in one year, including video of the year and best hip hop video. The Toronto-raised performer was a no-show to accept his trophies.

Other winners included Fifth Harmony for most buzzworthy international artist or group and Justin Bieber for fan fave artist or group.

Standout performances of the night included rising Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara who performed “Wild Things” with a choir of backup singers. Hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were joined by model Amber Rose on stage for their feisty track “Dance Off.”

On the red carpet Sara Quin, one half of Calgary sister duo Tegan and Sara, talked about how the Pulse night club shooting has impacted the LGBT community.

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The singer said it hit even closer to home because her girlfriend is from Orlando.

“It’s about legislating change,” she said.

“(Florida) is a good state for this to start in because it’s one of the more difficult states to get things like gun legislation.”

Halifax singer Ria Mae said she was hopeful her fellow members of the LGBT community will be the harbingers for change.

“The queer community is so practised in coming together now,” she said. “Maybe that can help fuel the fire in gun safety and gun control.”

Keeping with the spirit of the annual Much Music show there were plenty of fun moments to go around too.

Actress-turned-singer Hailee Steinfeld was joined on piano by Nelson, B.C.’s Shawn Hook to perform a medley of her soaring new ballad “Rock Bottom” and his song “Sound of Your Heart.”

British singer James Bay wore his trademark wide-brimmed black hat while performing his sombre hit “Let it Go.”

Sticking with tradition, some of pop music’s biggest names competed for attention on the red carpet by arriving in their flashiest modes of transportation.

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Jonas pulled up in style driving himself in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible while “Work From Home” girl group Fifth Harmony took no prisoners on an Inkas Sentry APC assault vehicle.

There were a few quirkier arrivals too, with Calgary natives Tegan and Sara pulling up in a double-decker London-style bus while pop rockers Marianas Trench rode through in a golf cart.

The celebrity-drenched celebration of music was hosted by supermodel Gigi Hadid.

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