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The Weeknd Deserves VMA For 'Artist To Watch'

Kathy Zerbib |
August 24, 2013 | 2:37 p.m. PDT

Film Editor

The Weeknd should win "Artist to Watch" at tomorrow's MTV VMAs (Tumblr).
The Weeknd should win "Artist to Watch" at tomorrow's MTV VMAs (Tumblr).
During tonight's MTV Video Music Awards, either Austin Mahone, Iggy Azalea, The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots, or Zedd will be crowned "Artist to Watch." However, none of the bunch deserves the title as much as Canadian-born, Youtube-made sensation The Weeknd.

Abel Tesfaye, also known by his stage name The Weeknd, is a pure talent. His voice is soothing yet commanding, his songs are emotional and carefree, and his lyrics are melancholy but absorbing. He's R&B, but he's also soul and funk and so many other genres molded together. The Weeknd has successfully marketed himself as an individual within an industry that has increasingly less originality. 

He first rose to fame by uploading copious amounts of YouTube videos of his songs. He eventually attracted the attention of popular music artists and his label, XO, took off. He has done collaborations with Drake, Wiz Khalifa, and Juicy J - all big names in the music industry. The Weeknd has come a long way since his YouTube days and his growing music career proves it.

Now, in regard to his competition, does he stand a fair chance? 

Austin Mahone, an American pop singer, is in the same category. Mahone, like The Weeknd, hit it big off YouTube. He was picked up for Taylor Swift's Red Tour as an opening act and has been building up his image ever since. He, too, has a great voice. No doubt he will have a very good chance at taking home the title, especially during a time period when male pop singers are particulary appreciated (See One Direction, The Wanted, Justin Bieber, Adam Levine, etc.).

But the simple fact is that Austin Mahone hasn't built an original image of himself like The Weeknd has. One could look at Mahone as a lesser-known, less-talented Justin Bieber. An "Artist to Watch" shouldn't be a direct copy of a former artist to watch. The Weeknd, on the other hand, is a blend of multiple influences and cannot be compared. His sound is too unique for comparison.

As for Iggy Azalea, Twenty One Pilots, and Zedd... Meh. All three have name recognition, but all three still have a ways to go before becoming a true contender. Still, wouldn't be the first time a legitimate underdog took the title.

Check out one of The Weeknd's most famous songs below. Tune in to the VMAs tonight on MTV at 9 P.M.

Reach Film Editor Kathy Zerbib here; Follow her on Twitter here.



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