As a Juno host, Bublé was better than Shatner, but then that's not saying much.
For a second there, it looked like the folks at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had learned from last year’s Shatner-hosted Juno disaster. And in some ways, maybe they did. They just didn’t learn enough.
If last year’s Juno telecast was terrible, this year’s, which aired on Sunday, was just sort of a letdown. Michael Bublé started off kind of charming—his opening sketch was about hosting anxiety and featured him singing Celine Dion with Kelly Ripa—but unfortunately things got progressively worse from there.
Bublé’s hosting material hit its nadir with a satellite interaction with One Direction, during which he pretended to be a fanboy. He followed that up with an awkward joke about wanting to have sex with Carly Rae Jepsen. Then, he staggered through an awkward sketch with The Sheepdogs before deciding to ditch humour altogether. (Why One Direction made a cameo is anyone’s guess.)
The performances were also okay at best. Carly Rae Jepsen segued a weird, off-kilter version of “Call Me Maybe” into the far less charming “Tonight I’m Getting Over You.” (Jepsen was also the night’s big winner, taking Record of the Year, Single of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year.) The Tenors inexplicably performed a mildly cringe-worthy version of “Forever Young.” The show’s producers opted to really hammer home the Sheepdogs’ retro-styling by shooting their set in sepia, while Marianas Trench proved that it has entered its “serious” phase by bringing out a gospel choir for accompaniment. (As an aside, Marianas Trench is Generation Y’s answer to A Flock of Seagulls. Entertaining haircuts are the only thing its members have going for them.)
The absolute highlight of the evening was k.d. lang being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by Anne Murray. Lang told Murray she had a longstanding crush on her, and said that Canada was the only place where people like herself, Rita MacNeil, and Stompin’ Tom Connors could become famous. She encouraged the crowd to “let their freak flags fly.”
Torontonian artists didn’t do terribly at this year’s Junos, but they were shut out of most of the high-profile categories. Metric took Alternative Album of the Year for Synthetica, while Rush won Rock Album of the Year for Clockwork Angels. The Weeknd won in the R&B/Soul category for its gold-certified album Trilogy, shocking no one. Elliot Brood won for Group Roots and Traditional Album of the Year. In the little-talked-about Contemporary Christian category, Toronto’s The City Harmonic took the prize for I Have a Dream. Exco Levi won in the reggae category for the second straight year. Toronto’s suburbs also didn’t fare too badly, with Brampton’s Johnny Reid winning Country Album of the Year, and Oakville’s Anjulie winning for Dance Recording of the Year.