Another year, another Juno Awards show for the books

April 04, 2016

The national broadcast for the 45th Annual Juno Awards happened Sunday night, and they went off (almost) without a hitch. The Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary was the hosting venue, looking glitzy inside with sparkling, beautifully lit stages taking up real estate in the arena for the country’s biggest music awards.

After a soulful performance of her smash hit “Here” and “Wild Things” by multiple award winner Alessia Cara, co-hosts—Canadian musician Jann Arden and Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery—kicked off the show with some legitimately funny banter, including riffs on drug testing (“Thankfully in music there’s no drug testing, or sadly there wouldn’t be a single soul here tonight,” Arden said) and bad decisions (“I may or may not have peed in a garbage can here back in the ‘80s.” Also Arden). But that was their main moment for the night, as they eventually took a bit more of a back seat to the performances and presenters, other than some cringe-worthy pre-recorded video content.

Only a handful of trophies were handed out Sunday night, as the bulk of the Juno Awards are bestowed at the gala the evening before. There were no big surprises in the performances or the speeches, except for Palestinian Canadian rapper Belly joining The Weeknd for his verses on “Might Not”. Notably, though, the crowd got pretty hostile toward the video Justin Bieber submitted as thank you for the Fan Choice Award. It showed him boxing with a sparring partner, kind of fooling around, and then stopping for a split-second to address the camera: “Hey y’all thanks for all your support, you guys are awesome, I love you.” It felt flippant and unimportant, and when Bieber returned to his goof-off “workout,” the arena sent some booing his way.

Among the standout performances were Lights, along with a young singer/songwriter by the name of Sam Spencely, who did a short but sweet acoustic number together before Lights announced that TD would be donating $1 million dollars to the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program. Buffy Sainte-Marie did a stirring version of her spoken word piece “Carry It On”; Bryan Adams ripped up the stage with “Go Down Rockin’”; Dear Rouge brought their heavy electronic pop blast to “I Heard I Had”; Dean Brody got a ritzy-looking faux barn shaking with “Bring Down The House”; husband and wife duo Whitehorse did a crunchy version of “Tame As The Wild Ones”; and to end it all, Jann Arden, Shawn Hook, and The Tenors did a tribute to Burton Cummings’s “Break it to Them Gently” and “Stand Tall” just before Cummings himself took the stage for “My Own Way To Rock.”

Nickelback had just helped induct a teary-eyed and very grateful Cummings into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. “First and foremost, I share this and dedicate this to my hometown of Winnipeg,” Cummings said after a standing ovation. “I learned everything in Winnipeg that would equip me for what was going to happen. This belongs in Winnipeg.”

The Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award went to the legendary CKLW music director Rosalie Trombley, or “the girl with the golden ear,” who helped launched the careers of bands like The Guess Who, Elton John, and KISS. Bob Seger’s classic rock hit “Rosalie” was about her. The Thin Lizzy version is better. The biggest winner of the weekend, was… The Weeknd. He took home five awards, on top of his two Grammys from earlier this year.

View the complete list of Juno Award winners.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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