2014 Juno Awards: Winners And Highlights

Above: Memorable moments from the 2014 Juno Awards at the MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Photos: CARASiPhoto)

If there’s one thing that can unite us as a country, it’s not cold weather or politeness or even hockey—apparently it’s our universal disapproval of Justin Bieber.

The crowd on hand for the Juno Awards at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre on Sunday night were swift and decisive in their disapproval of the troubled singer, booing him after he was announced as the winner of the Fan Choice Award.

After another controversial pop star,”Canadian” Robin Thicke, pulled out of his performing slot on the Juno Awards broadcast Sunday night—claiming he needed “vocal rest” and ignoring the petition to ban him for “blatant sexism”—the evening’s most interesting moments were the Bieber boos and co-host Serena Ryder’s suspiciously earnest defense of Bieber during her own acceptance speech. Bieber, of course, was probably off setting fire to a bag of dog poo on his neighbour’s porch or doing donuts in a high school parking lot with his new Rolls Royce and couldn’t care less about the award, so Ryder’s pleas—after announcing she had quit drinking, as if we’re supposed to believe any sober musician could have anything but contempt for Bieber—were so, so confusing.

Ryder had more screen time than anyone on the broadcast, winning Songwriter of the Year and performing the opening number with co-host Classified as well as a solo song, presumably to fill Thicke’s slot. But she wasn’t the most beloved star of the evening—that honour was reserved for astronaut Chris Hadfield, who received a raucous ovation before inducting Bachman-Turner Overdrive into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

BTO got their own massive ovation, accepting their award after a clip package featuring congratulatory messages from Metallica and Elton John. They also closed the broadcast, playing “Takin’ Care of Business” with a crowd of rockers including the Sheepdogs and Matt Mays.

Tegan and Sara got plenty of love, too, winning Group of the Year and Single of the Year for “Closer,” as well as Pop Album of the Year at Saturday’s pre-show awards. They also starred in one of the show’s many hokey pre-taped segments, bantering with Serena Ryder—who else?—about starting a Canadian female supergroup that sings about the weather. The concept was funny, but the execution came off like a high school improv sketch—too bad, ‘cause some of us would like to hear the rest of the can’t-miss single, “Colder.”

Going into the show, the highest profile performers were Sarah McLachlan and OneRepublic, both of whom turned in capable performances. McLachlan debuted “Beautiful Girl” from her upcoming record, which was slightly less melancholy than her animal abuse infomercials. OneRepublic, on the other hand, raised the energy in the room with their massive single “Counting Stars,” but singer Ryan Tedder had trouble catching his breath and wound up talking half of the song rather than singing it.

The Junos seem to go through cycles of boom and bust, drawing huge international stars like Drake some years and struggling to put together a handful of recognizable names in others. Album of the Year winners Arcade Fire clearly had an impossible scheduling conflict this year and did their best to participate, beaming an “exclusive taped performance” from Lollapalooza in Santiago, Chile. But 2014 was clearly an off year for the Junos—here’s hoping for some bigger names and a livelier show next year in Hamilton, Ont.

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