Award ceremonies have played a central role in popular music. One aspect of this role is their exemplarity: they place in full view what is to be valued in popular culture and, at the same time, they embody a sample of something larger than themselves, an ensemble. The Félix award, organised by ADISQ (Québec's music trade association), has played this role in Québec since 1979. However, in 1995, members of the underground scene, claiming that this award ceremony was not representative of all of Québec's musical families, created their own gala: the MIMIs (Montreal's International Music Initiative). This paper focuses on the exemplarity of this event for the Québec (Canada) ‘musiques émergentes’. In the first part, I look at one of the most visible faces of the MIMIs – its categories – to give an overview of the ways in which the event highlights its exemplarity of the totality of ‘musiques émergentes’ through their celebration. In the second part, I discuss the totalising processes implemented by the MIMIs to ensure that all artists, records or organisations could be considered in the pool of potential nominees.