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7 Things That Might Make This Weekend’s Juno Awards Memorable

Juno, what’s happening this Sunday?

Pop quiz! Who won the Juno for Best Album last year? Obviously, you remember, right? Was it The Weeknd? Shawn Mendes? Drake? They are the biggest acts in Canadian music—if not music generally—so it was probably one of them.

Only it wasn’t. It was actually Leonard Cohen. You remember that big Leonard Cohen song that everyone was talking about last year? That album that you couldn’t escape from? You’d call your local radio station and ask if they could please, please play something by Carly Rae Jepsen or even Justin Bieber, but inevitably they’d tell you they were too busy giving the kids what they wanted: more Leonard Cohen. It’s probably why Cohen’s album also won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance over bands like the Foo Fighters, who no one has heard of.

Actually, I’m sure You Want it Darker is a fine album. And there’s no shame in rewarding an icon in the year that he died. That makes sense. But my point is: nobody remembers who wins awards, especially music awards—and especially, especially Canadian music awards. We can discuss why that is—probably on our little brother site, Title, actually—but since the Junos are happening again this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to highlight a few reasons why this year’s show might actually be memorable. At least for a few days, anyway.

1. Michael Buble is Hosting

Interesting fact about Michael Buble: my 7 year old nephew who lives in New York is a huge fan. It’s not just soccer moms at Christmas! And while my nephew just can’t get enough of his smooth vocals, Buble has always been 100 times more charming than a kid from Burnaby, BC has any right being. Plus, this year he’s coming back from his young son beating cancer, so it’s literally impossible not to be rooting for him.

2. Barenaked Ladies Reunite

Interesting fact about BNL: I can do a mean Stephen Page impression. This secret talent has been useless since Page left the band. This is my personal reason for being excited that the quintessential Canadian adult contemporary alternative rock band is becoming whole again. But, for the rest of Canada it’s probably exciting, too. After all, few bands represent Canada’s place on the world stage better than the catchy non-threatening rockers.

3. Northern Touch All-Stars

Speaking of Title—before the show on Sunday, check out a definitive oral history of the first Canadian hip hop song to actually be, you know, good (with all due respect to Maestro Fresh Wes, of course). It’s been 20 years since you first nodded your head to Rascals, Checkmate, Kardinal, and Thrust…Choclair coming down with the Northern Touch, Baby.

4. City and Colour + Sarah Harmer = Gord Downie

In a performance genetically engineered to make you cry, balladeers Dallas Green and Sarah Harmer will be celebrating the work and life of Gord Downie. If the number of people who watched the Tragically Hip’s farewell concert on CBC is any indication, this will be a performance a lot of people care about.

5. Jann Arden is presenting

Granted, having Jann Arden at a Canadian award show is actually required by law, since she is not only a wonderful singer, but she’s pretty damn funny, too. Still, just because it was inevitable, doesn’t mean it won’t be worth watching. Also, speaking of Jann Arden: next time you hear her breakout hit “Insensitive” imagine it being sung by Metallica. It’d be kind of great.

6. Your Mom will know who Daniel Ceasar and Jessie Reyez are

Two of the biggest up and coming performers happening right now will bring the award show some cool cred. That should be fun. Also fun: realizing that Jessie Reyez isn’t just a Roots model.

7. Michael Buble is also Nominated for Album of the Year

Despite being one of the biggest artists on the planet, Drake gracefully, patriotically hosted the Junos in 2011. He was nominated for six awards and won zero. After that, Drake said he wouldn’t be coming back. And sure, you can argue that that displays poor sportsmanship, but also: you get Drake to host your little award show and you don’t give him anything? That’s just bad business. We’ll see if they do the same thing to Buble.

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