The two-hour show on Sunday was more performance-heavy, featuring Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee k.d. lang and the night’s host, Michael Buble. Other performers included Billy Talent with special guest Serena Ryder, Marianas Trench, the Sheepdogs, The Tenors, Metric, Classified with David Myles, and Hannah Georgas.
Buble — whose new album, “To Be Loved,” is out this week — has long been a favorite to host the Juno Awards. The quick-witted, often hilarious singer has appeared with past Juno hosts Nelly Furtado and faux rival, comedian Russell Peters, in pre-recorded skits.
Continuing the tradition, he opened Sunday’s show with a clip of himself wheeling his luggage down a hotel corridor, as Peters opened his door and suggested the next Junos be hosted by a “real man’s man” with a chiseled jaw, like Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. That segued into vignettes with Kelly Ripa, who got carried away singing Celine Dion; Gerard Butler, who belittled him in a piano bar; and Dr. Phil, who told him to “man up” and get out and host. “They shoulda got Jim Cuddy,” Phil said to himself as Buble made his way out onstage.
Before the packed arena of fans and industry-personnel, Buble referred to Regina as “the city that rhymes with fun” and opened up about fatherhood and his expectation that all that baby poop and puke will be “just like being on tour with Justin Bieber.”
The first award for songwriter of the year went to Leonard Cohen, whose son Adam was one of three presenters. “Does this say what I think it says?” the younger Cohen asked. “I feel so used, deliriously used,” he kidded, later adding that his father has a deep fondness for the love that Canada has always expressed to him.
Breakthrough group went to Monster Truck, before Buble stretched his abilities a bit further, feigning the nervousness of a 12-year-old girl as he talked with One Direction via satellite, asking them “Do you guys like stuff? Me too. Stuff’s awesome. So Cool.” The boy band then introduced Carly Rae Jepsen who performed a medley of her pop songs, starting with “Call Me Maybe.”
The group of the year category was a bit of a surprise with Marianas Trench — which has recently graduated to arena status in Canada and whose frontman Josh Ramsay co-wrote “Call Me Maybe” — trumping Rush, Metric, Billy Talent and The Sheepdogs.
Buble continued the silliness, slimily praising the hotness of Serena Ryder, Metric’s Emily Haines and Jepsen, adding that he’d like to see her shorts crumpled up on his bed, as his gorgeous, pregnant, model wife Luisana Lopilato sat in the stands, giving him a slit-your-throat gesture.
Jepsen was then awarded single of the year for “Call Me Maybe,” bubbling in her acceptance speech that “It’s crazy how one song can change a whole life.”
Then Canadian icon Anne Murray took the stage to induct k.d. lang into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, calling her “impossible to categorize.” A video tribute included comments from Tony Bennett, Seymour Stein, Leonard Cohen and Shania Twain. Lang then gave a memorable thank-you speech, telling the audience she had “the biggest crush” on Murray (“I still do”) then offering her “profound gratitude” to her fans and Canadians.
“Only in Canada could there be such a freak as k.d. lang receiving this award,” she said, adding the names of Canadian legends Stompin’ Tom and Rita MacNeil, who recently passed away. “It is okay to be you,” she said. “Let your freak flag fly.”
Buble followed with another pre-recorded clip with the Sheepdogs who famously won a spot on the cover of Rolling Stone. He quipped that he was on it too -- “very controversial” -- showing the magazine with his face obviously cut and pasted on.
The fan choice award went to Bieber, for the third year in a row. Bieber missed the ceremony because he is in Europe on tour. The adult alternative album went to Serena Ryder for her album “Harmony,” while album of the year went to Jepsen for “Kiss.”
Buble then capped the night, singing “Home” amid the crowd, and paying respects to MacNeil. “Rita we’ll miss you and your beautiful voice.”
For a complete list of the weekend's winners, visit www.junoawards.ca