The curtain rises tonight on the Juno Awards show — and the annual celebration of standout Canadian music promises to offer at least a few surprises.
Co-hosts Bryan Adams and comedian Russell Peters will set the tone for show, which will be broadcast live from Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre.
Among the highlights, Feist is slated to pay tribute to the late Leonard Cohen with an arrangement of one of his classic songs. And Juno organizers are also keeping the lid on a mystery guest who will close the show.
Awards will be handed out in categories that include album, group and breakthrough artist of the year. Viewers will also have their say with the Juno Fan Choice award.
The Junos will open with a performance from electronic group A Tribe Called Red, before other big acts such as Alessia Cara, Sarah McLachlan and Shawn Mendes take the stage.
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Though the main event is Sunday night, many awards were handed out at a gala on Saturday.
Gord Downie didn’t attend the gala celebration to pick up his awards, but his presence was still felt strongly.
The Tragically Hip frontman was linked to three Juno wins at the celebration of Canada’s music industry. One was shared with his band while the other two came from his “Secret Path” album.
Other Juno winners included Leonard Cohen whose son Adam was on hand to accept the artist of the year award for his father, who died last November.
“I feel that people are kind of consoling themselves – and consoling me – by giving this award to my father,” he said.
“One of the chief defining characteristics of the guy was how hard he worked.”
Among the lighter moments of the evening had Simon Ward, a member of the Strumbellas, caught off guard – and without his boots – when the band won single of the year for their rousing hit “Spirits.”
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After slipping off his pair of new boots for the evening, convinced either Drake or the Weeknd would take the prize, he was unprepared to put them back on before heading to the stage.
They “take a long time to tie up,” he reasoned, as he paraded around in a pair of black socks.
Other winners included July Talk, who scored alternative album for “Touch,” and Kaytranada whose “99.9%” snapped up the electronic album Juno after winning the Polaris Music Prize last year.
Diana Panton, who moonlights as a Hamilton school teacher, won children’s album honours, while Toronto’s Jazz Cartier won rap recording.
Sunday night’s main event will hand out the remaining awards, including album, group and breakthrough artist as well as country album of the year.
Viewers can also vote for the Juno Fan Choice Award on the Juno website.