If there was one thing to be learned from the 2012 JUNO nominee press conference, it was that after all these years, William Shatner is still a Canadian hero.
The Montreal native, best known to those under 25 as “the Priceline guy,” received the biggest pop when he was announced as the host for the 43rd edition of the awards. Say what you will about Captain Kirk’s famously wooden acting style, but the man is clearly a Canadian icon.
The reception was considerably less generous for LMFAO. The crowd of journalists, artists, and record industry-types who crowded the trading floor at Bay Street’s Design Exchange were scarcely able to restrain their laughter when the Californian electro-pop duo’s album Sorry for Party Rocking was announced as one of the nominees for International Album of the Year, along with Rihanna, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, and Adele.
For those interested in the local scene, Toronto-based artists did fairly well in terms of nominations.
Drake and Nova Scotian transplant Feist received four nods each, which tied them with Dan Mangan, City and Colour, Hedley, and Nickelback for the most nominated artists. Both Drake and Feist received artist of the year noms, while Drake’s Take Care was nominated for album of the year. Niagara-born, Toronto-based Deadmau5—who showed up in costume to announce a few nominees—was nominated for artist of the year in spite of the fact that he hasn’t actually released an album since late 2010.
Beyond the biggies, artists from the megacity dominated some genres, while being surprisingly underrepresented in others. Three of the five nominations in the hip-hop category went to locals, with Drake, D-Sisive, and Kardinal Offishall all getting recognized; a similar number of area artists—Azari & III, Austra, and Arthur Oskan—received nods in the electronic category. Torontonians completely, and somewhat unsurprisingly, dominated the reggae nominations: all five went to local artists, specifically Dubmatix, Exco Levi, Jay Douglas, Steele, and Tanya Mullings. The city’s strong, but largely ignored, metal scene also did surprisingly well, with two of the five nods going to Torontonians: one to old dogs Anvil and another to relative newcomers, Cauldron. Similarly, the 416 did fairly well when it came to the New Artist category, with Diamond Rings and Lindi Ortega both getting nominated. Fucked Up and Timber Timbre were both nominated for Alternative Album of the Year.
Somewhat surprisingly, Down with Webster was the only local representative in the Group of the Year category, and there were technically no Torontonians nominated into the Single of the Year bracket (although the city could probably claim Brampton’s Johnny Reid if it was so inclined). The Rural Alberta Advantage were the only locals to get nominated for Best New Group.
Beyond the huge pop for Shatner and the incongruous sight of a man in a giant foam head speaking into a microphone at a press conference, there weren’t many surprises at this year’s JUNO announcements. Big sellers topped the marquee categories, while critical darlings received love in the smaller ones, and the devilled eggs were delicious.
This article originally had spelled Nickelback as “Nickleback” and Rihanna as “Rhianna.” The above has been corrected.