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TORONTO — One of the most telling moments at this year’s Juno Awards was the silence that greeted host Jacob Hoggard when he declared: “Welcome to the very last Junos ever.”
It was a joke, presumably, but the lack of audible shock spoke volumes about the waning interest in Canada’s annual celebration of music. (Indeed, there was plenty of empty space in the arena.)
Viewers at home could hardly be blamed for being as bored as many in the live audience appeared to be.
Sunday’s two-hour show from the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ont. was plagued by out-of-tune singers, awkward staging and production problems.
Canadian comedian Jeremy Hotz summed it up. “If I produced the Juno’s, I’d do such a s*** job the show was cancelled forever,” he tweeted. “Forget it, they already did that this year.”
Awards were handed out from a platform in the middle of the arena so at least two winners didn’t know where to look once they had a trophy in hand.
“Which way do I face?,” asked Kiesza, who literally turned her back on viewers while accepting Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Then there were the numerous cuts to random camera shots, at least one missed cue for Hoggard and some transmission issues.
Live performances varied from the strong vocals of Shawn Mendes (doing “Life of the Party”) and solid musicianship of the Arkells (doing “Come to Light”) to the pitchy vocals of Magic (performing “No Way No” and “Rude”) and Lights, who performed with Sam Roberts Band.
Other performers included The Weeknd, Bobby Bazini, deadmau5 and show openers Hedley.
Two of the night’s six winners didn’t show up — 80-year-old Leonard Cohen won Album of the Year (Popular Problems) and Michael Bublé was the winner of the Fan Choice Award.
The hometown Arkells won Rock Album, Toronto’s Magic picked up Single of the Year (for “Rude”), Calgary-born Kiesza was named Breakthrough Artist and Toronto’s The Weeknd was honoured as Artist of the Year.
American songwriter-producer Glen Ballard, who collaborated with Alanis Morissette on her breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill, was on hand to pay tribute to her as she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
As Morissette’s parents Alan and Georgia looked on, the Ottawa-born singer spoke about the uniqueness of Canadians.
“I am deeply appreciative of this country,” Morissette added. “I love you and I thank you and I thank all of the people who have supported me in Canada.”
Morissette came back to perform a quick medley of hits that was, oddly, followed by Hoggard performing a spoof version of Morissette’s “Thank U.”
Hoggard, as host, made repeated references to being high and bragged about his sexual prowess — when he wasn’t complaining about Hedley’s lack of Juno wins.
Next year’s Junos will be handed out in Calgary.
Here’s a look at some of the critical reviews of this year’s Juno Awards on social media:
Guessing next year the Junos won’t be shot in the round again, to avoid continually showing all the bored audience members. #JUNOS2015
— Aaron Rand (@aaronrand) March 16, 2015
— Hillary B-T (@HamBaconTomato) March 16, 2015
#JUNOS2015 Award shows are just pathetic. It’s embarrassing to watch, like figure skaters falling on the ice.
— Paul Cargnello (@PaulCargnello) March 16, 2015
Crowd is on the edge of their seats for Magic, mainly because they want to leave #JUNOS2015
— Tyler Morrison (@tylermorrison1) March 16, 2015
From what I’ve seen so far the #JUNOS2015 are mostly awkward
— just Joan (@JJjustJoan) March 16, 2015
So I just changed the channel. The 3 minutes I watched #JUNOS2015 were enough for one year. Maybe I’ll make it 4 minutes next year
— Pяiиcєss ♡ Zaяoph (@Princess_Zaroph) March 16, 2015
The camera work is awful during the #JUNOS2015
— Lucky Luciano (@Adria_91) March 16, 2015
— Mr. Malferrari (@MrMalferrari) March 16, 2015
— Christina (@Steena8) March 16, 2015
How many times can you say “the government of Canada” in one award presentation?! #JUNOS2015
— Jaclyn O’Shaughnessy (@jfeliciao) March 16, 2015
Man Jacob Hoggard is a terrible host. Really, really unfunny. #JUNOS2015
— MichaelGallagher (@mikeygalgz) March 16, 2015
— Alana Zahorak (@AlanaZahorak) March 16, 2015
Seriously though. Worst host ever #JUNOS2015
— Ilana Korn (@ilanakorn) March 16, 2015
This junos actually aren’t that good… #JUNOS2015
— Austin Paul Chapman (@austinpchapman1) March 16, 2015
Is the best moment is over… Cos so far beside Alanis… It is just bad joke and flat #JUNOS2015
— Emma McPerry (@Emma_McPerry) March 16, 2015
Figured out why the Junos are so lame as a production. It’s the stiff writing. Or the fact everyone singing live is out of tune. #Junos2015
— Aaron Rand (@aaronrand) March 16, 2015
This is why canada can’t have nice things #JUNOS2015
— tara-lynn (@flo_bot14) March 16, 2015
The #JUNOS2015 have been 20 pounds of suck in a 5 pound bag.
— Dave Currie (@SirBigDave1978) March 16, 2015
“where do i look?” – every artist accepting an award. Poor staging & direction at the #JUNOS2015
— Ms. Meigs (@mindofmeigs) March 16, 2015
— Kai Mortensen (@mortensenkai) March 16, 2015
— Tristan Tidswell (@LDTristan) March 16, 2015
The JUNOs have always been a little awkward. But this year’s edition was painful to watch. #JUNOS2015
— gordon fleming (@gorsht) March 16, 2015
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