March 15, 2015 9:21 pm
Updated: March 16, 2015 2:10 pm

Kiesza, The Weeknd win at messy Juno Awards


ABOVE: ET Canada‘s Natasha Gargiulo recaps the Juno Awards on Global’s The Morning Show.

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.)

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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.

READ MORE: Dallas Smith, Kiesza among early winners at Juno Awards

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:

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