Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The 2011 Juno Awards preview

Toronto's notoriously jaded music audiences be damned, the Juno Awards are back.
For the first time in a decade, the annual Canadian-music awards bash returns to Toronto on its 40th anniversary.
While most of the awards will be given out Saturday night in a private ceremony, CTV is telecasting Sunday's big-buzz show from 8 to 10:30 p.m. local time with a repeat at midnight.
Arguably the biggest eight Junos will be awarded Sunday, and many big-name performances and appearances are planned for the sold out Air Canada Centre.
The show will have something for everyone. First and foremost? Hot Toronto-born rapper Drake.
The 24-year-old is hosting and also leads the field with six nominations. Drake has acting chops (Degrassi: The Next Generation anyone?), he's cute and he's got a shy charisma thing going on.
"I think it's fantastic," said Melanie Berry, CEO and president of the Canadian Academy of Recordings Arts and Sciences and the Junos.
"I mean, he's a huge superstar. He's very genuine and he's proud to be from Toronto, and he's a proud Canadian. And I think that's a perfect host for our 40th anniversary. We're really excited."
When Drake was named host he said he wanted to bring "youthful energy." Could that mean his pal -- Stratford, Ont. teen-pop sensation Justin Bieber, who's touring Europe and will be in the Netherlands on Sunday -- will make an appearance on the broadcast via satellite? Drake and Bieber share a ton of mutual respect after performing together at last year's Junos in St. John's.
"(Bieber) is presently on tour, and we'll wait to see if there's any interaction with him," hinted Berry.
Another exciting development is the presence of five-time Juno nominees and indie-rockers Arcade Fire of Montreal, who will perform on the show hot off their recent surprise Grammy win for best album, for their critically lauded The Suburbs.
"We're really excited that it's in Toronto because it's close to home," said Arcade Fire's multi-instrumentalist Will Butler down the line from L.A. the day after their big Grammy upset. Will is the brother of frontman Win Butler. "It'll be really a fun weekend, because we have lots of friends and family in that neck of the woods."
Butler said he believes Drake will make a fine host.
"I think he'll do great. He seems like a pretty charismatic fellow. Win was talking to him a little bit, because we're trying to do some sort of basketball tournament in Montreal. It's rare to find Canadians who play basketball."
Other broadcast performers include: quadruple Juno nominees Broken Social Scene, Johnny Reid and Hedley; triple nominee Sarah McLachlan; double nominee Down With Webster; single nominee Chromeo; and a 40th anniversary tribute featuring an all-star ensemble of musical director Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor, Justin Rutledge, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, The Sadies, City and Colour, and rocker Derek Miller.
"This is a big chance for me," Reid told QMI Agency when the Junos were announced in January, "(to) stand on a stage and be part of something bigger than myself, (to) be part of a Canadian musical fabric that's been woven for decades, to have a small part in that is a very humbling experience."
All that, and Farm Aid founder and Canadian folk hero Neil Young is picking up the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award -- and country-pop superstar Shania Twain will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame.
Young, of course, was originally scheduled to perform at the 2005 Junos in Winnipeg until a brain aneurysm sidelined him.
"Neil is a Hall Of Famer," Berry said. "We had hoped he was to be at the Winnipeg Juno Awards, and unfortunately he had health problems that he wasn't able to there.
"We are so happy that he's accepted, and I really think it means a lot to people that he feels that it's important to come back."
As for the recently remarried Twain, Berry says it's a pleasure to welcome back the host of the 2003 Junos in Ottawa.
"We sold out (the Ottawa show) in 13 minutes," she said.
"Shania was hosting, Nickelback was on, (I thought), 'Oh, great, this is easy! This is what we do every year? OK! Fantastic!' But she did such a great job, and was very charismatic. I think it's really special to have her inducted into the Hall Of Fame this year."
WHEN: Sunday, 8 p.m., CTV, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto
HOST: Drake, who also has a leading six nominations.
TOP NOMINEES: Arcade Fire with five; Justin Bieber, Johnny Reid, Hedley, Broken Social Scene with four.
PERFORMERS: Arcade Fire, Johnny Reid, Sarah McLachlan, Broken Social Scene, Chromeo, Hedley, Down With Webster, 40th anniversary tribute with musical director Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor, Serena Ryder, Justin Rutledge, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, The Sadies, City and Colour and rocker Derek Miller.
TOP HONOREES: Shania Twain is getting inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame, Neil Young is getting the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.
PRESENTERS (edited): Feist, Bryan Adams, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Daniel Lanois, Robbie Robertson, Rush's Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, K'Naan, Shad, Tokyo Police Club.
- Drake
- Hedley
- Johnny Reid
- Justin Bieber
- Michael Bublé
WILL WIN: Millions of Beliebers can't be wrong, can they?
SHOULD WIN: Biebs hands down.
- The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
- Thank Me Later, Drake
- The Show Must Go, Hedley
- A Place Called Love, Johnny Reid
- My World 2.0, Justin Bieber
WILL WIN: Montreal baroque-pop-rockers Arcade Fire, who are coming off their best album Grammy win.
SHOULD WIN: Arcade Fire because their album is far and away the best of the bunch.
- Arcade Fire
- Drake
- Hannah Georgas
- Royal Wood
- Sarah McLachlan
WILL WIN: Arcade Fire (see above)
SHOULD WIN: Arcade Fire
- Basia Bulat
- Bobby Bazini
- Caribou
- Hannah Georgas
- Meaghan Smith
WILL WIN: Ontario-born, B.C.-based Georgas, whose plaintive acoustic folk-pop sound has widespread appeal.
SHOULD WIN: Soul singer Bazini, even though he's currently bigger in his native Quebec than in English Canada.
- Drake
- Johnny Reid
- Justin Bieber
- Neil Young
- Sarah McLachlan
WILL WIN: Bieber for all of his commerical achievements.
SHOULD WIN: Neil Young because -- duh -- he's Neil Young.
- Oh Canada, Classified
- Find Your Love, Drake
- Perfect, Hedley
- Hallelujah, k.d. lang
- Wavin' Flag, Young Artists for Haiti
WILL WIN: Hedley's Perfect, which isn't half bad as piano-pop ballads go.
SHOULD WIN: Lang's thrilling version of Leonard Cohen's classic at the '10 Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony transcended what was already a pretty incredible moment.
- Better in Time, Bobby Bazini
- Time to Win Vol. 1, Down With Webster
- Can't Keep a Secret, Faber Drive
- My World 2.0, Justin Bieber
- Laws of Illusion, Sarah McLachlan
WILL WIN: Bieber's My World 2.0 because the Justin juggernaut just can't be stopped.
SHOULD WIN: Bazini's mature-sounding, old-school soul is a big surprise coming from a young, white Francophone.
- Arcade Fire
- Broken Social Scene
- Down With Webster
- Great Big Sea
- Three Days Grace
WILL WIN: Arcade Fire, for all that they've achieved on their album, The Suburbs, and in their thrilling live shows.
SHOULD WIN: Arcade Fire.
Note: The majority of the Junos were to be handed out Saturday at a gala dinner, with the remaining eight to be given out during Sunday's broadcast.

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