What do we expect from our favorite award shows? Are they nights to see our favorite celebs interacting with one another? A carefully choreographed factory for unexpected, viral, gasp-out-loud moments? A time to sit at home and judge the best and boldest red carpet outfits? Or a chance to turn our brains off for three hours and cheer for people we’ll probably never meet?
Well, with the 2023 Streamy Awards taking place this Sunday at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET, it’s a bit of a mix and possibly all of the above. First started in 2009 solely for web series, the Streamys have evolved into an awards show that celebrates both creators and newcomers dominating the internet in beauty, comedy, food, music, and gaming. (Dick Clark Productions, which owns the Streamys, is owned by Rolling Stone’s parent company, Penske Media Corporation. You can watch the show live on this very website)
You can’t have a show called creators’ biggest night without the biggest names in the creator and influencer sphere. But the Streamys is also about recognizing internet fame and talent at every level of the playing field. So, in addition to massive awards like Best Show and Creator of the Year, there are also awards recognizing creators in their first major years of success, like Breakout Streamer and Breakout Creator. In past years, YouTubers like Emma Chamberlain, Liza Koshy, and MrBeast have all won Breakout Creator of the Year as budding talents — and then grown into major industry titans. What the award has also shown is which social media platforms have become instrumental in building brands — as this year’s nominees Breakout Creator of the Year include all TikTok grown creators: Alix Earle, Drew Afualo, Dylan Mulvaney, Jake Shane, and Keith Lee.
While there are so many categories that will make your head spin — 45 across multiple genres, from gaming to makeup to scripted series — it’s exactly what you’d expect from a show attempting to honor the sheer mass of content that our modern internet has to offer. To that end, the Streamys has announced a dozen presenters from almost every corner of entertainment online. There’s gaming, beauty, comedy, music, and whatever Barstool is, with scheduled appearances from Anna Sitar, Lizzy McAlpine, Druski, Smosh, Kris Collins, and more. (In fact, there are so many presenters that gamer xQc forgot on a recent livestream that he agreed to present!) In the category of Best Show, favorites like Chicken Shop Date and Hot Ones will battle off against Good Mythical Morning, which has been nominated nine times; while Short Form nominees Chris Olsen and Elyse Myers might have more of a nice-off if their competition is anything like their content. The 2023 Streamys will also debut the Rolling Stone “Sound of the Year” award, recognizing the biggest songs of the year on social media with nominees, including Ice Spice, Coi Leray, Big Boss Vette, and Meghan Trainor.
There will also be live musical performances from nominee Armani White and Swedish pop duo Icona Pop. RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Shea Couleé is the show’s official “crowd surfer,” which sounds like a very internet way to MC. Regardless of the confusing title, she’ll have a mic throughout the show so she can walk through the audience and talk to guests in between presentations and performances. (If you close your eyes, what are the odds you’d feel like you’re watching a re-run of Drag Race?)
Celebrity on the internet can be a fickle and nebulous thing. The person you might watch for hours every day could have a day job at the mall, and a person you’ve seen once could be making more from a shoe collab than a finance consultant could see in two years. What the Streamys does best is celebrate how often, and how wonderfully that change happens. In an interview with Rolling Stone early this month, host MatPat said he was most excited about the Streamys for its opportunity to record and remember the best of online culture.
“We live in a very fast-paced society where there’s always going to be more content to consume,” he said. “The Twitter feed never stops. On TikTok, there’s always a new video just below the one that you just watched. So being able to take time and reflect on how far we’ve come, and the past 15 years of content, I think that’s really valuable for maintaining a sense of history and maintaining a sense of perspective. It is going to be a fun evening, as well as a great show that kind of looks forward to the next generation of where we’re headed.”
This time last year, some of these songs had never been released, a few of these creators still had private accounts just for their friends, and Dylan Mulvaney wasn’t even blonde! There’s a good chance you’ve heard of at least one of these content creators or might have an interest in their work or entertainment. But with how often the internet changes, the biggest moments to watch out for might just happen after the show ends. Who knows? Next Year’s Breakout Creator might be watching with you.